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How foreign nurses can obtain permanent residency

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2024 | Immigration Law

Nursing professionals often seek permanent residency as it offers stability, career advancement opportunities and the prospect of a secure future in the United States. Permanent residency is a crucial step for foreign professionals looking to establish a long-term career in the country.

Understanding visa availability and priority dates is crucial. Maintaining legal status during the entire process is also imperative. Any lapses or violations can jeopardize a nurse’s eligibility for permanent residency.

Paths for nurses to attain permanent residency

The Employment-Based Third Preference (EB-3) visa category is a popular choice for foreign nurses. EB-3 is for skilled workers and professionals.

Family-sponsored immigration is another avenue for nurses to obtain permanent residency. U.S. citizens or permanent residents can file petitions for their eligible family members, including spouses, children and siblings. However, this process involves waiting periods, and the availability of visas may impact an applicant’s timeline more than an employment visa would.

Key requirements for permanent residency

Foreign nurses must confirm that their educational and professional credentials align with the standards set by U.S. regulatory bodies. This may involve undergoing credential evaluation programs to verify the equivalency of their qualifications.

Securing a license to practice nursing in the United States is also paramount. Nurses must excel in the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and meet state-specific requirements in California. Additionally, obtaining certification in specialized areas enhances professional credentials.

Proficiency in English is another critical factor for nurses seeking permanent residency. Most regulatory bodies and employers require foreign nurses to demonstrate their English language proficiency through standardized tests such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

The application process

For nurses pursuing employment-based immigration, the labor certification process is a crucial step. This involves the employer demonstrating the need for the foreign nurse’s skills and the unavailability of qualified U.S. workers for the position.

Upon approval of the labor certification, the employer files Form I-140 on the nurse’s behalf. Once approved, the nurse can apply for adjustment of status using Form I-485. This can pave the way for permanent residency.

Navigating permanent residency requires meticulous planning, adherence to regulations and an understanding of the immigration process. As such, seeking personalized legal guidance is generally wise before working through the various steps involved.