The United States currently has the most advanced healthcare system and leads in maintaining high patient care standards. Foreign nationals are immigrating to the nation in droves to become part of this thriving industry.
While there is a shortage of qualified nurses in the US, complex immigration laws can delay visas and necessary paperwork. This includes credential evaluation reports, primarily if you use a service without doing a background check. It is better to do a quick research and choose a valid credential evaluation service provider.
That said, foreign-educated individuals who want to pursue a nursing career in the US must follow federal immigration laws. Additionally, you also need to fulfill standard professional and educational requirements. Use our guide as a stepping stone to your success.
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How to Become a Nurse in the US
Follow these steps to become a registered nurse in the US:
Step 1 – Fulfill Educational and Professional Requirements
To find work as a Registered Nurse in the US, you must prove at least some of the following:
- You have at least two years of experience working as a Registered Nurse in your country of origin and were licensed.
- You graduated from an accredited nursing education facility in your country.
- You passed an English proficiency exam such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
Step 2 – Take the CGFNS Qualifying Exam
The CGFNS qualifying exam determines if a foreign nursing applicant can care for US patients. The exam will test you on various nursing and medical topics. Applicants also have to complete a certain number of classes and clinical hours in the fields they are interested in.
The exam is held only three times annually in over 40 global exam centers. If you pass, that means you satisfy all State Board requirements for immigration requirements for a US occupational Visa.
It is just one step in how to become a registered nurse in the USA. You also have to apply to CGFNS International, Inc. so they can evaluate your documents and credentials for authenticity.
Step 3 – Immigrate Legally to the US
To legally migrate to the US to work as an ER, cardiology, or critical care nurse, you must follow these requirements and acquire an H-1B Temporary Work Visa or Registered Nurse Immigrant Visa. For that, you will need to submit the following:
- Transcripts of your secondary and post-secondary education.
- A photograph (passport size).
- Proof that you passed your English proficiency test or are exempt from it.
- An application fee.
- Proof that you passed the CGFNS qualification exam.
Please note that there are limited H-1C visas available for foreign nurses who wish to work in specific hospitals to serve particular communities.
Other types of work visas for foreign Registered Nurses include:
Permanent Work Visa
Most foreign Registered Nurses need a permanent work visa (aka green card) to work as RNs in the US. Acquire the visa before immigration.
TN Visa – For Mexican and Canadian Nurses
Mexican and Canadian nurses that receive a US employment offer need a TN visa and a license to practice in their country. They also need to clear the NCLEX and state license requirements.
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Step 4 – Find a Registered Nursing Job in the US
Once all the steps mentioned above are complete, search for US-based jobs for Registered Nurses in your target field. A recruiter can make this task easier since they can act as your ‘US-based employer’ when you apply for an immigrant visa.
Make sure they use authentic and ethical recruiting standards. If they are the real deal, they should have an Alliance for Ethical International Recruitment Practices Certified Ethical Recruiter seal on their website. Be extra careful since there are several fraudulent recruiters out there who are only after your money.
How many years will be required to become a nurse in the USA?
This depends on your educational and professional background. The competition is fierce, so you need all the help you can get to get ahead. Due to ever-changing immigration laws, foreign Registered Nurses should speak directly to immigration professionals, lawyers, and staffing agencies to increase their employment chances.
Why You Should Choose a Professional Credential Evaluation Service
If you have the educational credentials but lack the resources to facilitate your journey to become a Registered Nurse in the US, use a professional online evaluation service that is a NACES member. They can help you bridge the gap between your accomplishments and future lucrative career opportunities.
These services provide reliable evaluations to organizations and institutions to make visa applications easier and aid foreign nationals in acquiring their US equivalency for their studies. Whether you need to apply for a professional license, immigration or employment, they can facilitate your experience. This includes helping you with the Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) for nursing.