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Are You Prepared to Be a Nurse in the US?

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on December 23, 2019

International nurses who are interested in becoming eligible for American nursing employment must pass the NCLEX-RN Exam, obtain English language training if applicable, complete the nursing visa screening process, and obtain a Visa Screen certificate.


As soon as an individual is enrolled in the USA Nursing Program, he or she will be required to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses Exam (NCLEX-RN) to qualify for a nursing job in America. This exam is computerized and consists of multiple-choice answers. It is intended to test knowledge around nursing and the ability to care for patients in a healthcare setting.

English Language Test

In addition to the NCLEX-RN, nurses may be required to take either the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language/Test of Spoken English (TOEFL/TSE) exam if they did not complete training in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand.

Both of these English language examinations are internationally recognized for meeting the specific criteria based on United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) and International Commission for Healthcare Professionals (ICHP) requirements.

Visas for Permanent Residency

After passing the NCLEX-RN exam, nurses will need to undergo the screening process for permanent residency and nursing visas. Certain agencies can sponsor nurses and their families to become legal permanent residents with Green Cards, which will enable nurses, their spouses, and children under 21 years of age to live and work legally in the U.S.

Immigration lawyers often assist individuals to ensure all documentation is completed and filed with the USCIS.

Visa Screen Certificate

Visa Screen certificates serve as evidence that proves an individual has completed the required screening program for healthcare professionals that is needed to obtain Permanent Residency visas. This will be the final step needed to become a nurse in America. Many immigration attorneys handle all documentation and paperwork required for Visa Screening.

Qualify to Become a Nurse in the U.S.

By taking all of these steps, immigrants can legally work and live in the U.S. as nurses, with the ability to make sure their immediate family also qualify for citizenship. While the process can seem overwhelming, many programs offer plenty of guidance to help make sure that nursing students and visa applicants are sufficiently prepared to become qualified nurses in the U.S.