Nurse Immigration Guide
How to Get a Green Card

nurse A registered nurse can get a green card to come to the US more easily than almost any other professional.

Registered nurses are classified by the US Department of Labor as a Schedule A shortage occupation which makes it easier for RNs (and Physical Therapists) to immigrate to the United States than for persons in other occupations.

Employers can sponsor registered nurses for green cards without having to undergo the lengthy and expensive PERM process.

However, the foreign-born RN must pass the NCLEX examination (and sometimes the CGFNS examination), pass an English examination, obtain a VisaScreen certificate and be sponsored by a US employer in order to get either a temporary visa or a green card.

The employer must submit evidence to establish that the nurse currently has (and had at the time of filing):

  • A full, unrestricted permanent license to practice nursing in the state of intended employment;
  • A certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS);
  • or

  • Evidence that the beneficiary has passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) as of the date of filing.

Some RNs are eligible for temporary working visas.  RNs who are citizens of either Canada or Mexico can be sponsored for TN visas.  RNs whose jobs require a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree may be eligible for H-1B visas.  However, most RNs are ineligible for H-1B visas due to USCIS’s restrictive policies.

I have testified before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Immigration about the necessity to restore the ability of all qualified registered nurses to obtain temporary work visas.


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We have immigrated over 10,000 registered nurses to work in the hospitals across United States over the past 30+ years. We represent over 100 hospitals and other health care providers.

We hope that this page and the links below demystify the process of immigration for nurses and their employers. We link to numerous articles which explain how to submit a visa petition for a foreign-born RN, discuss the VisaScreen requirements which include credentialing and English-language proficiency tests, and enable readers to contact nurse licensing boards.

Registered Nurse – Green Card Process, Step-by-Step

In order for a foreign-born RN to obtain a green card, she/he must first:

  1. Obtain a college degree in nursing;
  2. Get a license abroad as an RN;
  3. Pass an English examination;
  4. Pass the NCLEX examination;
  5. Get a job offer from a U.S. employer;
  6. Get an RN license in the state of intended employment;
  7. Obtain a VisaScreen certificate;
  8. Get the approval of an I-140 visa petition;
  9. When her priority date is current, get an immigrant visa abroad or, if she is lawfully present in the United States, apply for adjustment of status; and
  10. When the RN is interviewed for an immigrant visa (green card), her spouse and children will be interviewed and granted immigrant visas together with the RN.

Immigration for Registered Nurses is divided into the following subtopics:

Related Pages:


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