The Department of Labor (DOL) has pre-certified the RN profession as a shortage occupation, so employers may skip the recruitment step of the labor certification process and file for an immigrant visa (I-140) directly with the immigration service.
AN RN applying for a temporary visa to work in the U.S. and/or permanent residence must obtain a Visa Screen certificate. CGFNS is one company designated by USCIS to evaluate credentials for eligibility – tell them you need a Section 343 VisaScreen. We recommend calling CGFNS often to check up on the Visa Screen process. CGFNS often takes 4-6 months to review Visa Screen applications, so expediting is usually worth it (a few hundred dollars).
Nurses also have an alternative certification process: https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/temporary-workers/health-care-worker-certification A foreign nurse may present a certified statement from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) or an approved equivalent independent credentialing organization if it verifies that the foreign nurse:
- Has a valid and unrestricted license in the State of intended employment;
- Intends to be employed in a state that verifies that foreign licenses are authentic and unencumbered;
- Passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX); and
- Graduated from certain English language nursing programs.
Once the I-140 is filed with USCIS, then the RN may be eligible to file the I-485 Adjustment of Status (AOS) application concurrently if his/her priority date is current and if the RN has the VisaScreen certificate. It may be possible to file the I-485 application for permanent residence before the RN receives the Visa Screen certificate, but it could be denied if the I-485 is submitted without the Visa Screen.