In search for greener pastures

Immigration to the United States is not a dream. It becomes a reality, foremost by being informed. Let us get started by knowing some basic background information on how you could improve your chances of coming to the US and building a new life: The American Dream, in the land of milk and honey.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I immigrate to the United States of America?

Not everyone can immigrate to the United States; however, you can improve your chances by availing of the numerous avenues that are provided for under the US immigration laws.

Immigrant vs. Non-Immigrant Visas

The unhidden secret of being successful at US immigration is choosing the visa category that is best for you. A  VISA is a stamp placed in your passport by a US Consulate outside of the United States. All visas serve as US entry documents. Visas can be designated as either immigrant or non-immigrant.

Immigrant visas are issued to those who will live in the US permanently and get green cards. Everyone else gets non-immigrant visas. Generally, visas cannot be issued inside American borders, and so you must be outside the US to get a visa.

Non Immigrant visas are intended to those who would come to the US to not live. This type of visa comes with a different set of privileges, such as the right to work or study. In addition to a descriptive name, each type on non-immigrant visa is identified by a letter of the alphabet and a number. A particular and famous example is the Nurse Visa or the H1C visa. If you are a registered nurse and wants to come to the US in order to work, you must choose this visa category.

Nurse Visa or the H1C Visa

The H1C Visa is a temporary non-immigrant visa that enables foreign nationals to enter into the US for performing services in the health sector as a registered nurse (RN). An American employer hospital should file a petition for you under H1C visa category. It comes in a form of a job offer to you. The petitioner should necessarily be a hospital. On approval of the petition, you should apply for H1C Visa in the US Embassy or consulate of the country where you reside.

Conditions to apply for Nurse Visa or the H1C visa:

1)      You must be licensed to practice nursing in the country where nursing education has been obtained.

2)      You must pass the NCLEX and/or Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing School (CGFNS) certification programs , as required

3)      Be eligible by complying with the licensure requirement at the place of employment

4)      The employer hospital/petitioner under which you are to work should satisfy some of the eligibility requirements to petition you under the H1C visa category.

If you have been approved for H1C Visa, you can travel and enter the US with your dependents under H4 visa category. H1C visa allows the holder a 3-year period of stay in the US. Similarly, H4 visa holders are also allowed that 3-year period of stay. Extension is allowed provided the nurse had been employed for a less than 3-year period, after which, extension of temporary stay is not allowed. For dependents, their status is only derivative of their principal, the H1C visa holder.

These frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) are general information. It should not be relied upon by the reader as a legal advice. You must consult an immigration lawyer for your immigration problems.




United States Registered Nurse Licensure Requirements

There is a two-step process for obtaining a registered nurse license in the United States. This process is SEPARATE from the process necessary for obtaining a work visa. For information regarding temporary or permanent visas, contact the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

First Step:

Contact the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). CGFNS prescreens foreign educated nurses wishing to practice in the U.S. Prescreening involves a review of the nurses education; licensure in the home country; English language proficiency testing; and a predictor exam that provides an indicator of the nurse's ability to pass the U.S. national licensure exam (NCLEX).


Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
3600 Market Street, Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651
Telephone: 215-222-8454
Fax: 215-662-0425
Web Site:


Second Step:

In the U.S., every nurse must meet additional state requirements and take the NCLEX as established by the State Board of Nursing. Each state has its own Board of Nursing. There are some state boards of nursing that will accept the Canadian Nurses Association Testing Service (CNATS) or the Canadian Registered Nurses Examination (CRNE). There are also a few state boards of nursing that will directly endorse foreign educated nurses who have never take the NCLEX. Because this information can change, it is necessary to contact the state board of nursing to determine if they have a policy regarding direct endorsement for foreign-educated nurses.


For additional information and contact information for a specific state board of nursing, contact the National Council for State Boards of Nursing.

                National Council of State Boards of Nursing
                676 N. St. Clair, Suite 550
                Chicago, IL 60611-2921
                Telephone: 312-787-6555
                Fax: 312-787-6898
                Web site: