Healthcare Worker Certification

Employment-Based Immigration


To work as a foreign healthcare professional in the U.S., you need a Healthcare Worker Certification to confirm that you have met the minimum requirements for training, licensure, and English language proficiency.

To work as a foreign healthcare professional in the U.S., you need a Healthcare Worker Certification to confirm that you have met the minimum requirements for training, licensure, and English language proficiency.

What Is Healthcare Worker Certification?

Healthcare Worker Certifications are formal documents for foreign healthcare workers in the U.S. These documents certify that you are a noncitizen who meets the following requirements:

1. Educational, Training, and Licensing Experience:

  • Your experience must match that of American healthcare workers with the same responsibilities.
  • Your education and training must be authentic.
  •  Your license must be unencumbered.
  • Your experience must meet all statutory and regulatory admission requirements.

2. English Language Proficiency:

  • You must exhibit the necessary level of competence in oral and written English language skills.
  • You must have passed one or more of the nationally recognized or commercially available standardized tests for your ability to speak and write in the English language. Approved English language testing organizations include:
  1. Educational Testing Service (ETS)
  2. Test of English in International Communication (TOEIC)
  3. International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

3. Passed Either Test Below:

  • Predictor Test: Some states accept tests that predict whether you would succeed in the licensing or certification exams of the healthcare work that you intend to enter.
  • Licensing or Certification Examination: Otherwise, you must pass the actual test of the healthcare job that you enter.

Who Typically Needs Healthcare Worker Certification?

You need this certification to work in the U.S. as any of the following healthcare professionals:
● Nurses (includes licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, and registered nurses)
● Therapists (includes physical therapists and occupational therapists)
● Audiologists
● Speech-Language Pathologists
● Physician Assistants
● Medical Technologists (or clinical laboratory scientists)
● Medical Technicians (or clinical laboratory technicians)

Nurses have another certification process. If you are a foreign nurse, you can present a certified statement verifying that you:

  1. Have a valid and unrestricted license in the state where you intend to work
  2. Are going to work in a state that verifies authentic and unencumbered foreign licenses
  3. Passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)
  4. Graduated from an English language nursing program

Your certified statement may come from either the following:

● The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)
● An approved equivalent independent credentialing organization

Do I Need a Healthcare Worker Certification if I Am a Nonimmigrant?

Yes, you must obtain a Healthcare Worker Certification as long as your primary purpose for coming to or staying in the U.S. is to serve under an affected healthcare occupation. Once you become a lawful permanent resident, you no longer need this certification. Otherwise, you will need this document for the following situations:

● You are seeking admission to the U.S.
● You are changing your status
● You are requesting an extension of your stay
● You are adjusting your status

Where Can I Get a Healthcare Worker Certificate?

You can get a Healthcare Worker Certificate from an authorized organization that issues such documents, including:

The CGFNS: You can get a Healthcare Worker Certificate for any of the seven healthcare occupations from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools.
The NBCOT: Occupational therapists can get a Healthcare Worker Certificate from the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy.
The FCCPT: Physical therapists can get a Healthcare Worker Certificate from the Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy.

How Do I Submit a Healthcare Worker Certificate Petition?

There are two types of Healthcare Worker Certificate petitions; one for immigrants and one for nonimmigrants.

Immigrant Petitions

You will go through a two-step process to get an immigrant petition for a healthcare worker certificate. These steps will be necessary once you obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor.

● Step 1: Your prospective employer will file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, on your behalf. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will review all eligibility requirements. Employers will face different requirements depending on the healthcare job.
● Step 2: You can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, if you live in the U.S. already. Otherwise, the USCIS can send an approved petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) or the Department of State (DOS) if you apply for an immigrant visa abroad.

Nonimmigrant Petitions

There are two considerations if you are a nonimmigrant petitioning for a Healthcare Worker Certificate:

● Consideration 1: You must file either of the following forms to approve your classification as a nonimmigrant:

● Consideration 2: You may file Form I-129 if you are already in the U.S. Filing this form will serve as a petition to extend your stay in the country or change your status.

How Long Does My Healthcare Worker Certification Last?

Healthcare Worker Certifications are valid for five years. This limit ensures you meet the certification’s regulatory requirements. Should you want to renew your certification, your original credentialing organization will update the information on your license. In addition, they will determine whether you need to re-establish your English competency or if there are adverse actions to your certification.

Next Steps

You need a Healthcare Worker Certification to work in the U.S. healthcare sector. This document determines that you have met all requirements for a foreigner to conduct healthcare practices in the U.S. These requirements include qualifying experience, valid licensure, and English language proficiency.

Getting this certification will depend on the healthcare job you want to get in the U.S. Although the application process is generally the same, specific permits are unique to each healthcare job. Consider getting in touch with our professional immigration legal team at Reeves Immigration Law Group to help you navigate this complicated system.


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