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Registered Nurse - FAQS

I want to go to the U. S. and work as a registered nurse. How do I do this?

First, you have to have a valid job offer from a U.S. based employer. The U.S. employer must obtain Department of Labor approval to hire a foreigner and will then file a special petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). U.S. based employers can petition for nurses in both nonimmigrant (H-1B temporary worker) and employment based immigrant visa (EB-3) categories. Both categories have a maximum number of visas that can be issued each year.

More information on employment based immigrant visas can be found at

Are the credential requirements the same for registered nurses who apply for nonimmigrant H-1B temporary worker visas and EB-3 Immigrant Visas?

Both visa types require that an applicant pass the CGFNS examination OR have a valid U.S. nursing license. Right now a VisaScreen certification is also required in order to qualify for an immigrant visa (EB-3), but is not required for an H1-B. Note that beginning July 26, 2004 applicants for BOTH nonimmigrant and immigrant visas will be required to have VisaScreen certification.

More information on U.S. certification requirements for foreign health care workers can be found at:

What is the CGFNS exam?

The CGFNS examination is an assessment of the candidate's probability of success on the U.S. NCLEX-RN licensing examination. Successful candidates receive a CGFNS Certificate. The CGFNS examination is given in India in March, July and November at testing centers located in Bangalore, Kochi and New Delhi. Examination schedules and more information can be found at

How do I apply for the CGFNS examination?

Information on applying for the examination can be found at

What is a VisaScreen Certificate?

The International Commission on Healthcare Professionals (ICHP) issues the VisaScreen Certificate to indicate that nursing credentials meet U.S. standards. The VisaScreen program consists of an educational analysis, licensure validation, English language proficiency assessment and a review of CGFNS or NCLEX-RN examination results. More information can be found at

What is the NCLEX-RN?

The NCLEX-RN is the examination that registered nurses are required to pass in order to obtain a nursing license in the U.S. This examination is currently only available in the U.S., however it is scheduled to be administered at certain international locations beginning in 2005. For more information on international administration of the NCLEX-RN examination go to:

Can I take the NCLEX-RN test if I have not taken the CGFNS examination?

The following states require foreign nurses to pass the CGFNS examination before taking the NCLEX-RN: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Can I get a visa to go to the U.S. to take the NCLEX -RN examination?

Yes, it is possible to obtain a nonimmigrant visa (visitor's) visa to take the NCLEX-RN examination in the U.S. However, applicants for nonimmigrant visas must overcome the presumption of intending immigration. A U.S. Consular officer issues visas on a case-by-case basis after an interview.

If I already have a valid U.S. nursing license, do I need a VisaScreen certificate?

Yes. The VisaScreen process will also examine other factors in determining your qualification to work as a nurse in the U.S. Section 343 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996 requires this type of certification.

My company offered me a job last year, but the petition process has just been completed this year. Do I need anything else from my company?

In order to prove that the employment offer on which the visa is based is still valid, please bring an updated job offer letter with you to your visa interview.

I am applying for an immigrant visa to work as a nurse, are my spouse and children eligible for a visa also?

Yes, your spouse and children under 21 are eligible for "derivative" status. However, you must bring proof of their relationship with you to the visa interview.

To show relationship with your spouse, the Consulate requires that you bring a marriage registration issued by a recognized governing authority at the time of your marriage along with such secondary evidence as wedding invitations, church certificates, wedding photographs or other reliable documents that show the required relationship.

To show relationship with children, the Consulate suggests bringing birth registrations (issued within one year of the birth) along with such secondary evidence as school leaving certificates, college degree certificates, mark sheets, ration sheets, property certificates, wills, wedding invitations, hospital records, vaccination records, family photos, old Indian passports or other reliable documents which show the required relationship.

Do I need a police clearance certificate from India for an immigrant visa?

Yes. If you are an Indian citizen age 16 or older and currently residing in India, with a passport issued MORE THAN six months prior to your interview date, you should obtain a police clearance certificate from BOTH the nearest Indian Passport Office and the District Police in the area in which you reside. However, if your passport was issued LESS THAN six months prior to your interview date, you only need a police clearance certificate from your nearest Indian Passport Office.

I currently live outside of India. Do I still need a police certificate?

Yes. If you are an Indian citizens age 16 or older and live outside of India, you should obtain a statement from the Indian Embassy or Consulate serving the area in which you live that indicates whether or not you have a criminal record. You will also need to obtain a Police Clearance from the country in which you live. Please click here for more information.

If I have lived in another country besides India, do I need a police clearance certificate from that country for an immigrant visa?

In most cases, you require a police certificate from any third country in which you have lived for 12 or more months.. In some cases, police certificates are unobtainable. More information on this subject can be found at: To find information for the country in which you lived, click on letter at the top that represents the first letter of the country in which you lived. For details on how to obtain a police clearance certificate, please contact the nearest Consulate or Embassy of the country in which you have lived.

Will my spouse or children require police clearance certificates?

All immigrant visa applicants are subject to the police certificate requirements.