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Listserv Q&A for
"Current Issues In Immigration For Nurses And Other Healthcare Professionals (PTs/OTs/MTs/MLTs/SLPs-As/Physician Assistants)"

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Additional sets of questions regarding obtaining permanent residence for foreign workers in the seven health care occupations for which certification is required.

1. This first set of questions relate to obtaining permanent residence for health care occupations, other than RNs (such as PTs, OTs, LVNs, etc.) that require certification. For RNs, there are two alternative examinations (CGFNS "predictor" knowledge exam or the NCLEX national licensing exam), either one of which will meet the requirements for the VisaScreen. Is there a similar two-alternative system for any of the other health care occupations (not counting RNs) for which certification is required?

For which non-RN occupations would the two-alternative system apply, if any? I am particularly interested in PTs, but would like to know about all occupations on the list of seven. If there are no other non-RN occupations, would passage of the US national licensure exam for that occupation be the only way that the foreign national could achieve certification? Are any of these US national licensure exams offered outside the US, such as in foreign countries, or Guam, or Saipan, or on-line, or would the foreign national have to come to the US somehow beforehand to take the national licensure exam before being eligible for certification?

2. This second set of questions is regards to PTs entering the US for the first time after obtaining permanent residence visas at a US consulate abroad. Would the logistics of their entry be the same as for RNs? In other words, would the PT enter the US as a US permanent resident, with a letter of eligibilty (from whom?) to sit for the US national licensure exam, and then he or she would take the exam in the US?

3. Relating to question number two above, are there any other non-RN and non-PT foreign nationals, on the list of seven, who could enter the US as permanent residents and then take the required licensing exam?

Answer by Sylvia Boecker:

I do not think professions other than nurses have a choice between two alternative exams. The PT just needs the letter from the state where he will work stating that he is qualified to take the PT licensing exam in that state. That is enough for the I-14 to be filed. He will need the VisaScreen before he can immigrate. He does not need a P.T. license to immigrate. The state where he will practice will issue the letter for the P.T. The P.T. enters as a permanent resident and eventually takes the licensing exam in the state where he works. I do not know about other covered occupations other than PTs and RNs.