International Nurse FAQ

Does UMHS Nursing sponsor international nurses for H1-B visas or green cards?

No. At this time we do not sponsor international nurses for entry-level employment, either monetarily for legal fees or in providing paperwork necessary for an H1-B visa petition or a green card.

What is the process for International nurses to become employed in Michigan?

International nurses educated outside the U.S. or Canada who have not been licensed as a RN in another state for at least 5 years must either: have a Full Educational Course-by- Course Report completed by the Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) OR be certified by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). The International nurse must also have taken the NCLEX test to obtain a Michigan License-either by endorsement or by taking the exam in Michigan.

CGFNS Certification Program: successful completion of this program is valid for life. This is for first level-general nurses (RN’s) educated outside of the U.S. who wish to practice in the United States. This program includes: a CGFNS Qualifying Exam, a credentials evaluation of the nursing education and registration obtained, and demonstration of passing one of the accepted English language proficiency exams.

Online Application to the State of Michigan for RN Licensure.

For information on obtaining a Michigan License, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara.

For more information on the Commission of Foreign Nursing Schools, please visit www.cgfns.org.

Can international nurses who have been issued a license in another state have their licenses automatically endorsed in Michigan?

Yes, if they have maintained an active license with no disciplinary sanctions for at least five years immediately preceding the application for a Michigan license by endorsement. An application can be requested from the State of Michigan. An application can be requested from the State of Michigan, www.michigan.gov/lara

What is a TN non-immigrant visa?

A TN non-immigrant visa refers to the Trade NAFTA occupational visa issued temporarily for one year to Canadian citizens and Mexican nationals.

The following conditions apply for Canadian citizens:

When is a NAFTA Professional (TN) visa required for a Canadian citizen? A Canadian without TN nonimmigrant status, who resides in a third country with a non-Canadian spouse and/or child(ren), and who plans to enter the United States as a NAFTA professional at the same time as the family member(s), will need a TN visa in order for the family members to be eligible to apply for derivative TD nonimmigrant visa(s).

Canadian Graduate Nurses and licensed nurses can request admission as a TN non-immigrant at a U.S. Port of Entry, and must have the following documents: Proof of job offer, valid Canadian passport, Visa Screen Certificate, and a Qualification Document (license or proof of education degree).

What is a Visa Screen Certificate?

U.S. immigration law requires foreign Registered Nurses that are not US Citizens seeking an occupational VISA to work in the US, to complete a screening program prior to receiving the VISA. The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) offers this federal screening program, and the International Commission on Healthcare Professions administers the VisaScreen.

Screening includes:

  1. An assessment of an applicants education to unsure that it is comparable to that of an U.S. graduate in the same profession.
  2. A verification that all professional healthcare licenses that an applicant ever held are valid and without restrictions
  3. English Proficiency Exam
  4. For RN’s only; a verification that the nurse passed either the CGFNS Qualifying Exam, NCLEX-RN, or for select years, it’s predecessor the State Board Test Pool Examination.

After successful screening, the nurse is issued a Visa Screen Certificate, which can be presented at a border port of entry (Canadian citizens) or at the U.S. Consulate as part of a Visa application. The cost is $540.00 for online payments.

What are Michigan’s licensure requirements if I received my nursing education in a country other than Canada?

Michigan requires foreign nurses educated abroad to obtain the Visa Screen/CGFNS and Michigan NCLEX. The VisaScreen and CGFNS Certification Program evaluates the foreign nurse’s education, credentials and English language proficiency.

Do I need a Visa Screen Certificate if I am a Canadian citizen and work in the US?

Applicants who received their nursing education in Canada may be exempt from the CGFNS requirement. They should have their transcript and a copy of their Canadian license sent to the Board. If the program was not located in Canada or taught in a language other than English, they will need to go through CGFNS (as per application instructions)

For more information on Canadian requirements, visit www.cgfns.org

What is an H-1B visa?

An H-1B visa is a temporary work visa for professionals in specialty occupations, such as nursing. It is issued for a maximum of six years, sometimes in 3-year increments. A business immigration attorney should be used to file an H-1B petition.

The international nurse must have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university, or an equivalent international degree.

Additionally, the specialty position must require such a degree and the employer must normally require a bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement for the position.

Lastly, the nurse must have the state license required for the position. It is difficult for nurses to obtain the H-1B visa since most entry-level nursing positions do not require a bachelor’s degree. It is possible for a nurse with an advanced practice degree or specialty certification to receive an H-1B visa for an advanced position.

UMHS employs nurses with a bachelor’s degree, associate degree or diploma in nursing in entry-level positions. We do not routinely sponsor nurses with H-1B status.

What employment options are available for student nurses with an F-1 visa?

Student nurses with a F-1 visa can work in their field 20 hours per week maximum during the school year, and full time (40 hours) during vacations.

Does the International Center on campus process green card applications?

The University’s International Center does not process green card applications on behalf of nurses. However, if the Health System agreed to sponsor a green card, an outside business immigration attorney may be retained.

International nurses with current green cards (immigrant with permanent residency) can be hired just like any U.S. citizen. A Visa Screen Certificate is not required. The green card must be renewed every 10 years.

For additional information, call the International Center at 734-936-4180.