If you are a foreign health care worker, health care worker certification by the American government identifies and documents that you have met minimum requirements for training, licensure, and English proficiency in the United States. These requirements are necessary for professional roles such as:
- Licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, or registered nurses
- Occupational and physical therapists
- Speech language pathologists and audiologists
- Medical technologists and technicians
- Physician assistants
Who Must Obtain Health Care Worker Certification?
A non-citizen coming to the United States for employment as a health care worker will not be permitted to legally enter into the U.S. unless he presents a certificate from either the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) or a certificate of equal standing from an organization with similar credentials. This applies to immigrants and non-immigrants alike. Non-immigrants coming to get training in a health care occupation are not required to provide this form of certification.
What Are the Rules Regarding Non-immigrants?
Non-immigrants are subject to the same certification requirements as immigrants. A non-immigrant seeking admission into the United States to change status or request an extension of stay must provide evidence of health care worker certification if the primary purpose for coming to or staying in the United States is employment in a health care occupation.
Who Is Authorized to Issue Health Care Worker Certification?
Certain organizations are authorized to issue certificates for certain health care occupations, including:
- Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) – All 7 health care occupations
- National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy – Occupational therapists
- Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy – Physical therapists
Do I Need a Lawyer to Obtain Health Care Worker Certification?
Immigration laws are constantly changing. Fortunately, an experienced immigration lawyer can help you understand your rights and obligations depending on your immigration status and health care occupation. An immigration lawyer can also help you navigate the complex process of obtaining the proper certification and visas that you need to be able to enter into and stay in the United States.