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Dilip Patel


In Part 1 of this Article last month, we discussed the first step in obtaining a Green Card for a Registered Nurse (R.N.) If the nurse is legally in the U.S. and visa numbers are available, then the R.N. could apply for adjustment of status (i.e., process the Green Card within the U.S.). If however, the nurse is still abroad, the approved petition would be sent via the National Visa Center to the U.S. Embassy nearest to where the nurse is living for �Immigrant Visa Processing.� This article will discuss the second step: Visa Processing at the U.S. Consulate in the home country of the R.N.

Visa processing at the U.S. Consulate involves completing various forms, a medical exam (to ensure that there are no contagious diseases of public health significance and vaccinations are current) as well as police certification to confirm absence of any adverse criminal activity.

An appointment would be scheduled for the immigrant visa interview at the US Consulate. This is usually routine, however; the most important aspect is that at the time of the immigrant visa interview, the Visa Screen certificate must be presented. One of the organizations that provide Visa Screen is CGFNS.

As mentioned in Part 1, the Visa Screen should not be confused with the CGFNS certificate. Visa Screen not only validates that the education is up to the level of education required for U.S. nurses, but it also validates that licenses are current, and all educational documents are authentic and genuine. As part of the Visa Screen process, CGFNS requires that educational institutes send the educational documents direct to them. They also require proof from every place where the Registered Nurse held a license that the license is in good standing. For this reason, Visa Screen can take time. Detailed information about CGFNS certification as well as the Visa Screen offered by CGFNS is available on the CGFNS Web site at Nurses must become familiar with the certification and visa screen procedures.

Once the immigrant visa is issued, it would be valid for up to six months. When the nurse enters the U.S. with the immigrant visa, the nurse would be admitted as a lawful permanent resident to take up the job offered as described in the petition. Immediately following admission, a Green Card will be manufactured and mailed to the nurse. Even if the immigration requirements are satisfied through the CGFNS certification and the Visa Screen, the nurse would still need to obtain a license from the state of Florida to actually work as a R.N. The state of Florida may require the NCLEX exam prior to issuing the state of Florida license.

Visa Numbers

One important aspect to this process is that there is a limit to the number of Green Cards available each year. At one time, R.Ns. used to immigrate in what is known as the Employment Based 3rd Preference Category (EB3). In the recent past, the EB3 demand had far exceeded the quota available and applicants faced a wait of several years in order to get the Immigrant Visa. Congress passed legislation last year that made available 50,000 extra Green Cards per year for Schedule A beneficiaries. In an update on March 16, 2006, the U.S. State Department indicated that 20,000 are available for the rest of this fiscal year. A wait list may develop in late 2006 or early 2007 for Schedule A. Interested parties are making efforts at lobbying Congress to pass legislation to increase the quotas for employment-based immigration.

The foregoing is intended as general information only. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law for advice specific to your situation.

Dilip Patel is a Board Certified Immigration Attorney. He is the founder of the Dilip Patel, P.A. law firm ( and has practiced business and immigration law in the Tampa Bay area since 1990. He can be reached at (727) 712 0066 or by email at [email protected]

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