If you are a Registered Nurse interested in living and working in the U.S., review the guidelines below to find out if our nurse sponsorship program is right for you.
The Immigrant Visa Nurse Sponsorship Program for Registered Nurses
Westways may sponsor or petition foreign Registered Nurses who are currently abroad or are already in the United States. Foreign nurses who are accepted in this program are assigned to our client hospitals and must be employed in permanent and full-time positions.
Foreign nurses who are currently outside the U.S. may obtain an immigrant visa by being petitioned by Westways. There are two steps in the process of obtaining the immigrant visa:
- Westways files the I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- After the I-140 petition is approved by USCIS and the nurse’s immigrant visa priority date becomes current, the nurse may apply for the immigrant visa with the US Embassy in his or her country of current residence through the National Visa Center (NVC).
Foreign nurses who are currently in the U.S. may be petitioned by Westways so they can apply to adjust to permanent resident status or so they can obtain their green cards. There are two steps in the process of obtaining the green card:
- Westways files the I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker with the USCIS.
- If the nurse’s immigrant visa priority date is current, the nurse may concurrently apply to adjust to permanent resident status (I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) with USCIS.
The I-140 petition is filed with the USCIS Service Center. For processing times, please visit the USCIS website.
Requirements for the I-140 Petition by Westways Staffing Services, Inc.
Westways may file the I-140 petition with USCIS, if the nurse has ONE of the following documents:
- The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Certificate
- US State Registered Nurse License
- The NCLEX Pass Report or NCLEX Pass Result Letter
In addition, the nurse will need to submit certain documents and information necessary for the preparation and filing of the petition. These additional requirements will be provided to the nurse once the nurse is selected for the immigrant visa sponsorship program.
CGFNS Visa Screen Certificate
All foreign-born and foreign-educated nurses who apply for an immigrant visa are required to submit to the U.S. embassy a visa screen certificate issued by the ICHP of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). You may file the green card application without the visa screen certificate. However, you are required to submit the visa screen certificate on the day of the I-485 interview for USCIS to approve your green card application. The visa screen certification process consists of the following steps:
- A passing score in either the NCLEX or the CGFNS qualifying examination.
- An evaluation of your credentials by CGFNS.
- Passing scores in the English language proficiency tests.
Applying for Immigrant Visa with U.S. Embassy
After the USCIS approves the petition, and assuming that the priority date is current, the USCIS will send a copy of the approval notice to the National Visa Center. Within 1-2 months from the time the petition is approved, the NVC will issue the fee bill notice requiring the applicant or employer to pay the visa application fee. After you pay the fees to the NVC, the next step is to submit the immigrant visa application form (form DS 260) on the CEAC website and submit the supporting documents to the NVC.
The supporting documents will be submitted either:
- By mail to the National Visa Center (if the alien worker comes from a country which is required to do so); or
- By email to the NVC
The NVC is currently taking at least 3-4 weeks, starting from the date that they received the visa application forms and required documents, to review the visa application packets before they will schedule the visa interview at the U.S. embassy.
Assuming the embassy approves the application on the day of the interview, it may take 1-3 weeks for the embassy to mail the visa to the applicant. The visa will be valid for 6 months. The applicant must travel to the U.S. before the visa expires.
Applying to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident
You may be eligible to file an application to adjust your status to permanent resident concurrently or simultaneously with the I-140 immigrant petition if your priority date is already current (or your visa is already available). However, unless it is urgent that the I-485 be filed, it is recommended to wait for approval of the I-140 petition before filing the I-485 adjustment of status application.
To be eligible to adjust your status, you must not have been out of lawful status for more than 180 days. If you have been out of status for more than 180 days, you may still be eligible to adjust your status if you are the beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition or application for labor certification which was filed with the USCIS on or before April 30, 2001, and you were physically present in the U.S. in December 2000. In the alternative, you are eligible to adjust status even if you were not physically present in the U.S. in December 2000 if your immigrant petition or labor certification application was filed on or before January 14, 1998.
The application to adjust status is filed with the USCIS Service Center. You or your attorney will prepare the application forms and supporting documents. For processing times, please visit the USCIS website.
If you have a pending application to adjust status, you will be eligible to apply for a work permit. The work permit is valid for one year from the date of issue and may be renewed as many times as necessary. The work permit is issued approximately 90 days from the date of receipt of the application.
Travel Document or Advance Parole
If you have not been out of status for more than 180 days at the time you file your application to adjust status, you will also be eligible to apply for a travel document which will allow you to travel outside the U.S. The travel document is valid for one year from the date of issuance and may be used for multiple entries. The travel permit is issued approximately 90 days from the date of receipt of the application.
The Pre-NCLEX Program
Foreign nurses who do not have any of the listed requirements for the I-140 petition may still be considered for the immigrant visa sponsorship program by applying for the Pre-NCLEX Program. To qualify for the Pre-NCLEX Program, the nurse must have graduated from a foreign nursing program that is equivalent to a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in nursing in the US.
Ready to get started?
Submit an on-line employment application and join the hundreds of Registered Nurses who have achieved their dream of working and living in the United States with the help of Westways.
*Please note, from start to finish, this process may take 6 months to 4+ years. The duration of the process depends on a multitude of variables. Please contact us for more details.
**The Westways RN Referral Program does not apply to RNs referred to the Westways Immigrant Visa Nurse Sponsorship Program.
Westways Staffing Services, Inc. is not a law firm and none of our representatives are attorneys. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this posting is provided “as is” no representations are made that the content is error-free.