Immigration petitions for foreign nurses fall under the employment-based immigration third preference category. Labor Certification approval is typically required when filing an employment-based third preference petition. However, employers who wish to hire a registered nurse from a foreign country will not need to submit this application to the Department of Labor. While this is certainly convenient, there are still specific processes that employers and nurses need to follow before beginning work.
Located in New York City, the immigration law firm of Berd & Klauss, PLLC has extensive experience handling nursing immigration issues. The steps followed for the immigration process depend on the nurse’s living situation. If the nurse lives abroad, the employer must submit one of the following forms to to the USCIS Service Center that has jurisdiction over the nurse’s place of employment: a Form I-140, which can be filed immediately, or a Form I-485, which can only be filed when the priority date is current . Along with these petitions, for which approval can take three to six months, a Department of Labor Form ETA 9089 must also be submitted. Once the USCIS approves all forms, they send them to the National Visa Center in New Hampshire. The NVC forwards a packet to the RN and her family. The RN or the attorney will send all signed and completed forms to the U.S. consulate, at which time the permanent residence interview will take place. In this interview, the RN must bring numerous documents, such as a valid passport, application for immigrant visa, birth certificate, and security clearance. This whole process can take anywhere between 12 to 24 months.
If the nurse currently lives in the United States, he or she may begin working for the employer much sooner. The nurse must still have the same documents as previously stated, and must still file an (-140 and an ETA 9089, but will also be able to take the state licensing examination, since they are already in the U.S. The employer must also submit the immigrant visa petition to the appropriate USCIS Service Center on behalf of the nurse.
Regardless of where the nurse resides, he or she must possess a diploma from nursing school, a license to practice nursing, and a VisaScreen certificate. Learn more about nursing immigration and its requirements by visiting Berd & Klauss, PLLC online.