Non-immigrant Visas

The most popular visa of this type is the B-2 “visitor for pleasure” visa. By the way, this is the
most popular visa for people to come into the United States. Usually this visa is acquired
through an American embassy overseas and immigration lawyers do not get involved with the
application. Consequently when the visitor arrives in the US he/she may wind up doing
something which he/she is not authorized to do, or not be aware what he/she can do with the
Immigration lawyers are concerned with their clients maintaining legal status. I believe, if
possible, that people should work with an immigration lawyer at this is stage so it can be
determined if the purpose of their intended use is satisfied by the B-2 visa.

The B-2 visa is issued to an alien, other than a student, or a skilled or unskilled laborer. The
“B” classification is not meant to be a catch-all category for everyone who wants to come to the
United States.

Students cannot use a “B” visa to enter.

I have people ask me to help them get relatives into the US for a visit. One of my clients is
about ready to have a baby and she and her husband want her mother to visit from a
near-East country. This visa is very deceptive, and, if it is not approved by the officer at the
embassy, there may be no formal appeal. It is a good decision to work with an immigration

The B-2 visa is applied for at a United States Embassy on a form OF-156.

An interview process usually takes place at the embassy. The embassy officer, usually a
non-immigrant officer, interviews (questions) the alien to make sure that the alien has a
residence in a country other than the United States and that the alien has no intention of
abandoning that residence. The officer wants to make sure the B-2 visa will be used mainly for
pleasure travel.

The visa can get an initial admission for a one year maximum, with six months extensions.

When the alien enters the US, he/she reaches an Immigration and Naturalization Service check
point where an INS officer issues an I-94 card. This card restricts or limits the duration of the
stay. It is, or course, possible to increase the stay while in the United States. My office would
be happy to help you with this if you have questions about the process. Click “B-2 visa” to
contact my office regarding obtaining a B-2 visa or to extend your stay while in the United

Since the Visa Waiver Pilot Program was instituted in 1987, it has become difficult for aliens
from participating countries* to obtain a B-2 visa. People from these qualifying countries have
a waiver and are allowed to come in for a period of time, but not in excess of 90 days.
Applicants for B-2 visas from these countries usually have to show that they have enough
money to stay in the United States and show their itinerary of travel. It would be helpful to
contact my office to assist you in gathering the proper documentation.

*Participating countries: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark,
Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco,
Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the

Entertainers & Athletes
There are many talented people in the world who could enter the United States to expand their
market. There are visas that fit any entertainers and performers of every art from individual
performers to groups. In the same vein, athletes have their own visa.

Our firm has worked with coaches, rock stars, dancers, singers, musicians, athletes of all kinds
and athletic teams. The visas available to entertainers and athletes are the “O” and “P.” These
visas are available for short trips to lengthy stays. The United States loves entertainers and
athletes. Where I live in Las Vegas, the basis of our economy centers around entertainers and
sporting events.

Medical Professionals
Medical professionals have a variety of visas which may be useful to work in the United States.
The choice of visa really sets in motion a strategy for longer stay by advance planning, in many
cases, to other visas For example, if the physician is from Canada, he/she may be eligible for a
TN visa.

Many medical professionals come on a J-1 visa and, under certain conditions, can remain in
the United States without the need to return to their home country for two years. The conditions
usually relate to working in under-populated regions where there is a shortage of physicians
and such employment would be for a few years. This would allow the physician to become
eligible for permanent residence in the United States.

Physical Therapists
U.S.A. IMMIGRATION & NATURALIZATION SERVICE has issued an interim rule to grant,
authorization to CGFNS (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools ) to issue
Certificates to Physical Therapists . This aforesaid rule grants the Foreign Credentialing
Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT) the right to issue certificates to foreign trained
Physical Therapists. the effective date of the interim rule is June 29, 1999,

The above rule is applicable only to Physical Therapists who are applying for permanent
residence in the U.S.A. as regards Physical Therapists who are applying for temporary
residence status in the U.S.A.(H-1B Visa) they may continue to do so without the certification
from CGFNS or FCCPT as is required by those seeking permanent residence.

Furthermore the interim rule on permanent residence requirements for Physical therapists lists
the passing scores for the English language tests for the occupation of Physical therapists. The
rule states that Physical Therapists must obtain the following scores on the English tests
administered by the Educational testing Service (ETS) : test of English as a Foreign Language

Paper Based 560 : Computer Based 220 : Test of Written English (TWE) 4.5 : Test of Spoken
English (TSE) : 50

Accordingly should a foreign licensed Physical Therapist desire to work temporarily in the
U.S.A. on an H-1B visa (this visa can be valid for up to 6 years ) then the Physical therapist
should ascertain from the State Licensing Board in that state of intended employment
regarding the obtaining of temporary licensing. This temporary license will enable the foreign
Physical Therapist to work on the H-1B visa in the U.S.A. In the U.S.A. each state has its own
licensing requirements specifically the issuing of temporary licenses to foreign Physical
Therapists. The time periods vary from state to state as regards the temporarily licensed
Physical Therapist to take the exams for permanent licensing . The temporary licensing can be
for lesser or greater periods than 1 year.

The H-1B visa can then be obtained should the foreign Physical therapist have a job offer in
the U.S.A. as a Physical Therapist in the state where the temporary licensing is approved .

To obtain permanent residence in the U.S.A. the foreign Physical therapist must be eligible for
permanent licensing in the state in the U.S.A. where the job is offered. there is however an
exemption from the need to obtain a Labor certification. Therefore the permanent residence
procedure takes approximately 1 year instead of about 3 years in cases where a Labor
certificate is required.

You may communicate with ourselves to discuss all aspects of temporary and/or permanent
residence in the U.S.A. including where and how to obtain Physical Therapists Credentialing

If you are a foreign registered nurse who would like to obtain permanent residency in the United
States, please immediately communicate with our office.

Under a law passed at the end of 1998, nurses are now exempt from the need to obtain labor
certification. This means that the foreign born licensed nurse is not involved in any application
to show that there is a shortage of qualified U.S.A. workers for the job offered to the foreign

In effect, the above-mentioned exemption means that the processing time for the green card
(Legal Permanent Resident in the U.S.A.) is now approximately only 1 year instead of between
three to five years if you are residing outside the United States and approximately 2 years if
you are residing in the United States.

There is a very large shortage of registered nurses in the U.S.A. and the demand is growing
daily. The jobs available pay well .

Also when the registered nurse obtains permanent residence the spouse and minor unmarried
children under 21 years of age receive their permanent residence.

In order for a foreign nurse to be employed in the United States and receive permanent
residence, there are a number of steps that must be undertaken.

1. Must have a degree in nursing from the United States or a foreign country.

2. Must receive certification from CGFNS, Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing
Schools. The certification program is a three-part program designed for first level, general
nurses educated outside the United States. It includes a credential review, a qualifying exam of
nursing knowledge, and an English language proficiency examination (TOEFL). In addition,
most states require a CGFNS certificate from nurses that have been educated outside the
United States before they can take the National Council Licensure Examination for RN’s
(NCLEX-RN examination). In some states, such as Nevada, the CGFNS is not required in
certain circumstances.

3. There also is a requirement of a Visa Credentials Assessment called the VisaScreen. The
VisaScreen is a credential assessment made by the International Commission on Healthcare
Professions. The VisaScreen is primarily a submission of documentation along with passing the
TOEFL Test of English as a foreign language, TSE, test of spoken English, and TWE, test of
written English. The decimation consists of secondary education and all post-secondary
education along with assessing nursing licenses that the nurse has held. This may include all
diplomas, egress, certificates, degrees, registration, and/or licenses, including transcripts. The
VisaScreen Certificate has a limited validity; it is possible for this process to be completed in
concert with the CGFNS.

Lastly, our law office can provide help in obtaining and preparing the documentation for the
above. There is a substantial amount of documentation that is required through the Homeland
Security organization and possibly, in the future, to the Department of State. This information
includes documentation from the prospective employer and employee, the Department of State
along with required legal forms and assisting the nurse into legal status up to employment and
permanent residency.

Note: The actual immigration requirements are not static; they constantly change and are
affected by laws related to Department of State, which govern United States Embassies. The
sunseting of the old immigration laws, which may, in the future, require labor certification
applications through the Department of Labor and the impact of general visa requirements that
are becoming more restrictive and need to be addressed in a timely manner and, lastly,
address requirements and change of employment problems, etc.

There are different circumstances that may affect whether or not a person may need a CGFNS
or certain circumstances a nurse can enter the United States on one type of visa and be able
to receive a state approval through the NCLEX even though they have not passed the CGFNS,
but still need to receive a VisaScreen. The specifics of any particular case should be analyzed
through the legal office. This presentation should not be viewed as a thorough explanation of
foreign nurse requirements for each individual case. Also, situations such as any criminal
history, misrepresentation on prior immigration documents, and overstaying the previous visas
make for a more complex immigration matter.

Not to confuse everybody, but my opinion is NOT to enter the U. S. as an H-1B. It is better to
file for permanent residency and enter the U. S. as a permanent resident. The problem with the
H-1B is that it is usually granted to a supervisor because a nurse is not normally a specialty
occupation requiring 4 years of college. In the U.S., it is possible to obtain an R.N. through a
2-year program and immigration views an H-1B as a 4-year program. Since hospitals will hire
nurses that have a 2-year degree, nurses will usually not get H-1B’s unless they are processed
as a “supervisor.” When the nurse comes in and finds out that he/she could have obtained
permanent residency, he/she wants to immediately file for permanent residency, but since
he/she is classified as a “supervisor,” she is not eligible for the regular permanent residence

Here is a simple example: A nurse from the Philippines is brought in through a contract nursing
organization. She gets an H-1B. Her husband gets an H-4. She is not eligible for permanent
residency for that position she came in on because she is a “supervisor,” not a garden-variety
nurse. If we brought her in, we would bring her in as a permanent resident and her husband
gets permanent residency also. I know this is confusing. I only put it in here because I have
seen too many cases where nurses get brought in as an H-1B, their husbands can’t work, and
when they find out from other nurses that they could have obtained permanent residency in a
very short period of time, it really hurts them when they find out they have been misled.