Immigrant Nurses

Immigrant Nurses

Immigrant NursesFor a Registered Nurse (RN), the permanent residence process comprises two steps: the immigrant visa petition and the application for permanent residence. After becoming a permanent resident, the RN is expected to work for the sponsoring employer under the terms of employment stated in the visa petition for an indeterminate period of time. However, sponsorship for permanent residence does not affect any agreement between the employer and the RN for at-will employment. The following is a summary of the major requirements.

Immigrant Visa Petition

The Department of Labor (DOL) has pre-certified that there is a shortage of qualified, willing and available U.S. workers to fill RN positions throughout the United States. This is called “Schedule A” certification. With Schedule A certification, an employer is not required to obtain an individual “labor certification” from the DOL prior to filing the immigrant visa petition. For a job offer to qualify under Schedule A, the employer must offer a full time job which carries prevailing wages and working conditions. The first steps involve finalizing the job description and minimum requirements for the position, and obtaining a prevailing wage determination. Information on the job offer is contained on a labor certification form, but the form is filed with the immigrant visa petition, not with the DOL.

The immigrant visa petition (Form I-140) is filed with the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The USCIS will determine three issues: (1) whether the job offer meets the Schedule A requirements, (2) whether the employee meets the minimum job requirements and (3) whether the employer has the financial resources to pay the offered salary.

Permanent Residence

The application for permanent residence may be filed in two ways. The employee’s eligible family members apply for permanent residence at the same time.  This includes the spouse and any unmarried children less than 21 years of age. If the permanent residence application is filed inside the United States with the USCIS, it is called Adjustment of Status  (Form I-485). As long as there is no waiting list under the Schedule A immigration quota, the Immigrant Visa Petition and Adjustment of Status steps can be filed at the same time.

If the application for permanent residence is processed outside the United States at an American consulate, it is called Consular Processing of an Immigrant Visa  (Form DS-230). The Consular Processing step can only be started if the Immigrant Visa Petition has already been approved.
The RN must obtain a “VisaScreen” certificate as part of the permanent residence process. The VisaScreen certificate shows compliance with nursing skills, education and English language capacity.  Information on the VisaScreen may be obtained from this website:

For further information, please contact us.