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Registered Nurse (RN) Green Card – Overview

A good source for U.S. employers seeking Registered Nurses is

Applying for the Registered Nurse Green Card:

The Registered Nurse Green Card application process consists of filing the I-140 and I-485 petitions.

The I-140 petition can be prepared and filed immediately.

The I-485 petition can only be filed when the priority date is current.

What is the Nurse Green Card Petition:

The Department of Labor (DOL) maintains a schedule of occupations in its regulations for which the individual permanent labor certification procedure is not required.

The schedule of precertified occupations is referred to as Schedule A, and is included in DOL regulations at 20 CFR 656.10.

Based on an occupation’s inclusion on Schedule A, an employer may file an immigrant visa petition (I-140) directly with the (USCIS) without first going to DOL for a labor certification.

The position of Professional Nurses is included on Schedule A.

Who Qualifies for the Nurse Green Card:

This category consists of registered nurses only.

A licensed practical nurse is not considered a Professional Nurse under this category.

The Registered Nurse must possess:

A full unrestricted permanent license to practice nursing in the state of intended employment. A temporary license to practice nursing in the state of intended employment is not sufficient.

A CGFNS certificate issued by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (The alien must have received the CGFNS certificate). Proof that the alien has passed the CGFNS nursing skills examination is not sufficient, as the nursing skills examination alone does not verify that the alien has a level of proficiency in the English language to perform the duties of a registered nurse in the United States.)


Evidence that the foreign national nurse has passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

The Nurse Green Card Application Process if the Nurse is Outside the U.S.:

The Employer files the Form I-140 and ETA 9089 along with the required supporting documents with the USCIS.

Once the USCIS approves the I-140 Petition (3-6 months), the USCIS first sends the I-140 Petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The NVC then forwards a packet to the nurse or her attorney containing biographical information forms to be completed by her and her family members, and a list of documents which must be presented at her interview for permanent residence.

The RN sends the signed and completed forms to the U.S. consulate where the nurse will have her interview for permanent residence.

At this interview, the nurse must present various documents including the following:

a. Application for Immigrant Visa
b. Police Clearance
c. Birth Certificate
d. Marriage Certificate, if any
e. Divorce or Death Certificate of Spouse, if any
f. Valid Passport
g. Medical Examination
h. USCIS Photographs
i. Recent job offer letter (or employment contract)
j. Financial information regarding employer
k. Government filing fee
l. VisaScreen Certificate

The VisaScreen Certificate requirement was imposed by §343, a last-minute amendment to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). It added “uncertified health-care workers” to the list of persons who are inadmissible to the U.S. See §212(a)(5)(C), INA.

A VisaScreen Certificate is issued only after the RN has demonstrated that:

1) her education, license and training in her country are equivalent to education, licensure and training in the U.S., and,
2) her level of competence in oral and written English are appropriate to practice professional nursing in the U.S.

In addition, unless the nurse was educated in an English-speaking country (U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, United Kingdom or Canada – all provinces except Quebec), she must achieve a certain score on tests in written and spoken English administered by TOEFL (Test Of English As A Foreign Language) or MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery) in order to qualify for a VisaScreen certificate.

The USCIS regulations provide that the only organization authorized to issue VisaScreen certificates to RNs is the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).

The Nurse Green Card Application Process if the Nurse is Inside the U.S.:

The Alien and Employer file the Form I-140 and ETA 9089 with the USCIS.

Contact us  for more information about the Registered Nurse Green Card Registration process, or any other immigration law question. Our professional team will reply promptly.

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