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Medical Professionals

Most foreign national medical professionals face additional eligibility demands over and above the general nonimmigrant and green card immigration requirements, including the Health Care/Visa Screen Certificate.

Health Care/Visa Screen Certificate

The Health Care/Visa Screen Certificate, issued by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), is required of the following medical professionals seeking to enter the U.S. to undertake temporary or permanent employment:

  • Registered Nurses
  • Physical Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physician Assistants
  • Clinical Laboratory Technicians (Medical Technicians)
  • Clinical Laboratory Scientists (Medical Laboratory Technologists)
  • Speech Language Pathologists
  • Speech Language Audiologists
  • Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurses

The CGFNS Health Care/Visa Screen Certificate is granted following review and approval of the following:

  • Educational Analysis
  • License Validation
  • English Language Proficiency Assessment
  • Examination of Nursing Knowledge (for registered nurses only)

Click HERE for more information on the required Health Care/Visa Screen Certificate

Quick Reference Charts


Temporary Nonimmigrant Options J-1 Exchange VisitorsH-1B Specialty OccupationsO Extraordinary Ability

TN NAFTA for Canadian & Mexican Citizens

Green Card Options Physicians are generally eligible for the EB2 Immigrant Visa Category, requiring either PERM Labor Certification or a National Interest Waiver.
Considerations Two Year Foreign Residency Requirements —All medical doctors who complete their residency in the U.S. under the J-1 Program are subject to the Two Year Foreign Residency Requirement.Available Waivers

  1. hardship to a U.S. citizen or LPR spouse or child;
  2. persecution if the physician were to return to their home country;
  3. Sponsored by an Interested Government Agency (IGA);
  4. Waiver request by a State Department of Public Health

State Licensing Requirements for the U.S. state of intended employment apply for physicians who will provide anything beyond incidental clinical care.


Temporary Nonimmigrant Options
H-1B Category

Few U.S. nursing positions require a Bachelor’s degree for entry into the profession making the H-1B category unavailable in most instances.However, the USCIS recognizes that certain specialized nursing positions require a Bachelor’s degree and are therefore eligible for the H-1B category. The H-1B nursing applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • State licensing requirements
  • Health Care/Visa Screen Certificate


TN Category

Registered nurses are eligible for TN nonimmigrant status if they meet the following requirements:

  • Citizen of Canada or Mexico
  • Hold the appropriate degree or state/provincial license
  • Hold Health Care/Visa Screen Certificate
Green Card Options Clinical nursing occupations receive special treatment in the green card process. Because the U.S. Department of Labor has recognized that there is a shortage of qualified nurses in the U.S., the PERM Labor Certification process is not required. Instead, the employer can proceed directly to the I-140/Immigrant Visa Application. (For a complete discussion of the employment based green card process, click HERE.)Eligibility for a green card based on an offer of permanent employment in the nursing profession requires the foreign national nurse to hold:

  1. The appropriate diploma in nursing and an unrestricted nursing license from their home country (nurses educated in the U.S. are exempt from the foreign licensing requirement); and
  2. Either possession of unrestricted license in the state of intended employment in the U.S. or Health Care/Visa Screen Certificate.

It is of note that the I-140 can be filed and approved without the Health Care/Visa Screen Certificate, however, neither Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status can be complete without the required certificate.

Considerations Health Care/Visa Screen Certificate RequiredFor state licensing requirements go to National Council of State Boards of Nursing website.