The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires that aliens who seek to apply for an employment-based immigrant or non-immigrant visa or to change their non-immigrant status or adjust their status to that of an alien admitted for permanent residence based upon a visa category involving a health care occupation, are inadmissible unless they obtain a certificate that verifies their education, training, licensing, experience and English competency are comparable to American health care workers. Such certificates may be issued only by specified independent credentialing organizations.
The provision applies to nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, medical technologists, medical technicians, and physician assistants. Applicants must obtain a Visascreen Certificate from the Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). Additional information regarding the certification for foreign health care workers is available at the web site of CGFNS.
For physical therapists, the Foreign Accreditation Commission on Physical Therapy is also authorized to issue visa screen certificates. The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy is authorized for occupational therapists.