A registered nurse who was born in a foreign country may be allowed to work in that capacity in California. However, an employer will likely need to act as a sponsor so that the nurse can apply for permanent residency. The process of obtaining permanent residency for someone a company plans to hire as an RN is generally faster if that person currently lives in the United States.

Before an employer can send an immigrant visa petition to the government, the employee in question must have passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. This exam can be taken in any state, and a nurse may also become a permanent resident by holding any other type of unrestricted license in the state where he or she wants to work. The exam may also be taken in the country where the prospective employee currently lives.

At the same time that the petition is submitted, the employee and family members may apply for work and travel permits. The RN seeking employment in the United States must obtain a VisaScreen certificate prior to becoming a permanent resident. Those who don’t reside in countries that primarily speak English may need to verify that they can communicate in that language.

People who are seeking to work in the United States legally may need to complete a series of steps to do so. These steps may include interviews with immigration officials either in America or in an immigrant’s home country. Working with an employment immigration attorney may make it easier to submit the paperwork needed to obtain permanent residency status.