Foreign medical personnel

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
Nurses, physicians and physical therapists can all qualify for permanent U-S residence if certain requirements are met. A foreign nurse must document successful completion of the exam given by the 'Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools', or be able to show a valid unrestricted license to practice in the state of intended employment. Professional nurses are 'pre-certified' and do not need labor certification. An employer can apply for a visa for a registered nurse or physical therapist by filing both an employment-based visa application and an application for alien employment certification with the Immigration and Naturalization Services. Again, this procedure doesn't require you to obtain labor certification. If the foreign nurse or physical therapist is already lawfully residing in the United States, he or she can apply for a green card with the INS (I-N-S) instead of going back to the home country to do so. The spouse and children of the foreign nurse or physical therapist can also immigrate with the principal applicant. Foreign medical doctors who pass the required foreign medical graduate exam may also become permanent residents, but they, however, must go through labor certification. They may also obtain non-immigrant H-1-B visas if they've passed the FLEX or 'Foreign Medical Graduate Exam.' The two-year foreign requirement imposed on some J-visa holders can also be waived by working for three years in a designated shortage area. For more information on visas for foreign medical personnel, contact a lawyer who specializes in immigration law.

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