FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the VisaScreen: Visa Credentials Assessment Service?

The VisaScreen®: Visa Credentials Assessment Service is a comprehensive screening program for health care professionals who are not U.S. citizens and are seeking an occupational visa to work in the United States. Health care professionals need to complete the screening program before they can receive either a permanent or temporary occupational visa, including Trade NAFTA status. 

For a basic overview of the VisaScreen® process, download the VisaScreen®: Visa Credentials Assessment requirements PDF document attached to this article.

 VisaScreen Credentials Assessment requirements.pdf

 

1. What does the VisaScreen Program include?

  • An assessment of an applicant’s education to ensure that it is comparable to that of a U.S. graduate in the same profession
  • A verification that all professional health care licenses that an applicant ever held are valid and without restrictions
  • An English language proficiency examination
  • For registered nurses only, a verification that the nurse has passed either the CGFNS Qualifying Exam®, NCLEX-RN® or for select years and provinces its predecessor, the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE).
  • Applicants who successfully complete VisaScreen®receive an official ICHP Certificate for the VisaScreen®: Visa Credentials Assessment Service, which satisfies the United States Federal screening requirements.

2. Who orders the VisaScreen® Service?

  • Registered Nurses
  • Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurses
  • Physical Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physician Assistants
  • Audiologists
  • Speech Language Pathologists
  • Clinical Laboratory Technicians (Medical Laboratory Technicians)
  • Clinical Laboratory Scientists (Medical Laboratory Technologists)

 

3. What's the purpose of VisaScreen®?

Section 343 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (the IIRIRA) of 1996 requires specific health care professionals to complete a screening program before they can receive either a permanent or temporary occupational visa, including Trade NAFTA status.

 

212(r) Certified Statement: An Alternative to VisaScreen® Certification for RN's Who Meet Certain Criteria

 

1. What is the 212(r) Certified Statement?

Registered Nurse applicants who meet certain criteria may apply for the 212(r) Certified Statement.

2. What is the criteria?

To qualify for the 212® Certified Statement Registered Nurse applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Licensed (active) in one of five states: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, or New York
  • Passed the NCLEX-RN® exam
  • Educated in one of the following countries: Australia, Barbados, Canada (including only the following approved Quebec schools: McGill University and Dawson College in Montreal, Vanier College in St Laurent, John Abbot College in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, and Heritage College in Gatineau), Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, South Africa, Trinidad/Tobago, the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) or the United States
  • Language of instruction and textbooks was English

3. How do I demonstrate that I meet the criteria?

To be eligible for the 212(r) Certified Statement, the above criteria must be officially verified. 

  • Your school should complete the CGFNS Request for Academic Records form and indicate the language of instruction and textbooks,
  • Your school should verify the dates of attendance and whether you graduated.
  • A nursing board should verify that you passed the NCLEX-RN® exam and send the verification directly to CGFNS.
  • A nursing board should send a verification of your active license in one of the five 212(r) states directly to CGFNS International.

4. Why should I pursue an alternative to VisaScreen® Certification? What are the advantages of 212(r) Certified Statement?

There are several advantages to the 212® Certified Statement:

  • No additional validations of license are required.
  • Exemption from the English proficiency requirement is granted
  • Education is automatically deemed comparable. 

 

Academic records request forms for professions requiring VisaScreen®

 

1. What is the educational credentials evaluation process of physical therapists applying for VisaScreen®?

  • We compare the educational records that are provided by an applicant’s educational institutions to the current requirements for the first professional degree in physical therapy in the U.S.
  • We determine whether the applicant’s education is substantially equivalent to that of an accredited physical therapy degree program in the U.S.
  • Our evidence based approach uses the Coursework Evaluation Tool (CWT), established by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, or the CGFNS Education Comparability Tool (ECT). Both the Coursework Evaluation Tool and the Education Comparability Tool have been validated against the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) criteria as valid and consistent tools for evaluating physical therapy education.

 

Additional VisaScreen® Requirements for Registered Nurses

 

1. What are the additional requirements for registered nurses?

Registered nurses should send to CGFNS:

  • Verification that you have passed the CGFNS Qualifying Exam® through the CGFNS Certification Program, or
  • Verification from a U.S. Board of Nursing that you have successfully passed the NCLEX-RN® exam.

 

2. What are the additional requirements for Canadian registered nurses?

Registered nurses from Canada have three specific possibilities:

  • Applicants who passed the State Board Test Pool Exam (SBTPE) exam before 1970 in any of the Canadian provinces, with the exception of Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec, are considered to have passed the NCLEX-RN® exam, which is equivalent and therefore meet the VisaScreen® exam requirement.

Verification that you passed the Exam should be sent to CGFNS.

 

  • In addition to the SBTPE, applicants who passed the Canadian Nurses Association Testing Services (CNATS) exam between 1970 and 1982 in any of the Canadian provinces, except Quebec, are considered to have met the NCLEX-RN® passage requirement for VisaScreen®.

 

Verification that you passed the Testing should be sent to CGFNS.

  • Applicants who passed the CNATS after 1982 must demonstrate that he or she passed the NCLEX-RN® exam or the CGFNS Qualifying Exam® to meet the VisaScreen® nursing exam requirement.

 

Verification that you passed the Testing should be sent to CNATS.

 

Additional VisaScreen® Requirements for Physical Therapists

 

1. What’s the educational credentials evaluation process of physical therapists applying for VisaScreen®?

Because of the detailed process involved with evaluating the substantial equivalency of physical therapy education, we ask that physical therapists applying for VisaScreen® certification request for a syllabus or course description be sent from their school to CGFNS International in addition to an official transcript.

2. What are the steps in the process of credentials evaluation?

  • We compare the educational records that are provided by an applicant’s educational institutions to the current requirements for the first professional degree in physical therapy in the U.S.
  • We determine whether the applicant’s education is substantially equivalent to that of an accredited physical therapy degree program in the U.S.
  • Our evidence based approach uses the Coursework Evaluation Tool (CWT), established by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, or the CGFNS Education Comparability Tool (ECT). Both the Coursework Evaluation Tool and the Education Comparability Tool have been validated against the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) criteria as valid and consistent tools for evaluating physical therapy education.

 

Applying for VisaScreen®: VisaScreen Credentials Assessment

 

1. Who orders the VisaScreen® Service?

Health care professionals in general. More specifically, the following professionals:

Registered Nurses; Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurses; Physical Therapists; Occupational Therapists; Physician Assistants; Audiologists; Speech Language Pathologists; Clinical Laboratory Technicians (Medical Laboratory Technicians); Clinical Laboratory Scientists (Medical Lab

2. What are the types of applications for the VisaScreen® service?

There are three types of applications for the VisaScreen service:

  • The application for the standard service
  • The application to reprocess an expired order
  • The application to renew an expired VisaScreen® certificate

3. What are the ways to apply for those services?

 You can either apply online or on paper.

4. How do I apply online?

To apply online follow the steps below:

  • If you have never placed a VisaScreen® order, you will be prompted to order the standard service.
  • If a previous VisaScreen® order expired within the last year, you will be prompted to reprocess the order.
  • If your VisaScreen® certificate expiration date will expire within a year or has been expired for less than six months, you will be prompted to renew the certificate. 

5. How do I apply using the paper application?

To apply using the paper application, please download one of the three documents below (Paper Application; Reprocess application; Renewal application):

Note: There is an extra $75 paper application processing fee when applying by this method in addition to the base application fee. Please refer to http://www.cgfns.org/services/certification/visascreen-visa-credentials-assessment/ for each application’s base fee.

 

VisaScreen Expedited Review Service

 

1. What’s the purpose of the VisaScreen Expedited Review Service?

The Expedited Review Service guarantees that your VisaScreen® order will be reviewed within 5 business days. The standard credentials review processing time of your order is 8 weeks.

2. Is everyone eligible for the service?

No. The Expedited Review Service can only be placed if you have an active VisaScreen® order and if all documents required for the review are received, entered and imaged. 

3. Does the expedited review service guarantee that the VisaScreen certification will be approved? 

No. The expedited review does not guarantee that your VisaScreen® certification will be approved. It only ensures that the order will be reviewed within 5 business days after your documents are received, entered and imaged. Upon review of your documents, if we determine that further information is necessary, your review will not restart until the required documentation has been submitted.

4. How do I order a VisaScreen Expedited Review Service online?

After all necessary documentation for a review of your file has been deemed complete, you will receive an email notification that you are able to order an Expedited Review. To place this order:

•    Log into your CGFNS Connect account
•    Choose the option to purchase CGFNS Services
•    On the service selection screen, choose Additional CGFNS Services
•    On the Additional CGFNS Services menu, choose the VisaScreen® Expedited Review Service application

Please note that the online VisaScreen® Expedited Review Service is limited to 20 applicants.

5. Can I order by paper application?

Yes. Unlimited spaces are open for applicants that meet one of the following requirements to apply via paper application:

  •  A Request for Evidence (RFE)
    •    An offer for employment
    •    A pending expiration of a visa or licensing application
    •    Evidence of transitioning from a student visa to an employment visa

    Download the paper application using the following link:
    Paper Application: Expedited Review Service

6. After I order the application, what is the next step?

If all requirements have been successfully met for VisaScreen® Expedited Review, CGFNS will issue a VisaScreen® ICHP* certificate sent via courier for next business day delivery. Applicants will be notified if they are found ineligible for a VisaScreen® ICHP certificate, based on the review of their documents.

*International Commission on Healthcare Professions (ICHP) is CGFNS’ international division.

 

VisaScreen® ICHP Certificate Verification Letter

 

1. What is the ICHP Certificate Verification Letter?

The ICHP Certificate Verification Letter serves as official proof that you have obtained VisaScreen® certification.

2. How can I use the ICHP Certificate Verification Letter?

You can send the letter to a government agency, a professional board, an educational institution, or an employer to serve as official proof that you have obtained VisaScreen® certification. 

3. Who’s eligible for the ICHP Certificate Verification Letter?

If you have ever been VisaScreen® certified, then you can purchase the VisaScreen® ICHP Certificate Verification Letter. Your VisaScreen® certification does not need to be active to purchase this service.

4. Do government agencies, professional boards, or employers accept the Letter even if my VisaScreen® is expired?

That depends on each organization, agency or employer. You will have to confirm with the recipient of the letter that verification of an expired certificate is acceptable.

5. How do I order the ICHP Certificate Verification Letter?

Please follow the steps:

  • Log into your CGFNS Connect account
  • Choose the option to purchase CGFNS Services
  • At the service selection screen choose Additional CGFNS Services
  • At the Additional CGFNS Services menu choose the VisaScreen® ICHP Certificate Verification Letter

 

VisaScreen Renewal

 

1. What is the VisaScreen Renewal order?

VisaScreen® Certificate is valid for five years from the date that it is issued. After five years, the certificate will expire and you may need to be recertified if you have not obtained U.S. citizenship, a permanent visa (Green Card), or wish to renew a temporary occupational visa, including Trade NAFTA status to continue working in the United States. The primary method of updating your VisaScreen® certification is by placing a VisaScreen® Renewal order.

2. What if my certificate has been expired for more than six months? 

After six months of expiration of your Certificate, you must place a Standard VisaScreen® Certification order to update your certification.

3. Will I have to send my academic information again?

No. New academic information will not be required. Because you already had a VisaScreen® Certificate, your education was previously found to be acceptable. You may still be eligible for exemption from the English requirement based on employment in the United States. In summary, your order will be reviewed as if it were a renewal.

4. Is there any difference between obtaining a Renewal and a Re-Certification, then?

Yes. The primary difference between obtaining a re-certification VisaScreen® Renewal order placed six months after your certificate expiration is the cost. The standard VisaScreen® order costs $540, while the renewal order costs $275. 

5. Are there any other differences between a Renewal and a Re-Certification?

Yes. Another important difference is the new expiration date listed on your certificate. Certificates obtained by renewal order are dated five years from the previous expiration date. If you are re-certified upon completion of a standard order, the certification will expire five years from the date your certificate is issued.

6. How do I order a VisaScreen® Renewal?

Please follow the instructions:

  • Log into your CGFNS Connect account
  • Choose the option to purchase CGFNS Services
  • At the service selection screen, choose VisaScreen® Renewal Application.

7. How long does the Renewal process take?

We recommend allowing six months for a renewal order to be completed. Upon payment of a renewal order, you will have one year to submit the necessary requirements.

8. What are the requirements for the Renewal?

  • Log in to your CGFNS Connect account and upload a passport-style photograph; or print the CGFNS Photo Identification Form.  Attach an official passport photo and submit by mail to CGFNS International. Photos on record are valid for only 5 years.
  • Updated validations of every license you have held, including both expired licenses and licenses validated for a previous order if the validation on file is more than three years.
  • Updated proof of English language proficiency.

Note: Applicants may be exempt from the proof of English language proficiency if they have been employed for at least 27–36 months. Your employer needs to submit and sign an employment summary on corporate letterhead for the English requirement to be waived.

 

VisaScreen® Replacement Certificate

 

1. What is the VisaScreen Replacement Certificate?

If you lost your VisaScreen Certificate, you can purchase the VisaScreen Replacement Certificate.

2. Does the Replacement Certificate renew my VisaScreen certification?

No. Ordering a Replacement Certificate does not renew your VisaScreen certification.

3. For how long can I have the Replacement Certificate?

The replacement certificate contains the same expiration date as the initial certificate.

4. Who’s eligible to purchase the Replacement Certificate?

The VisaScreen® Replacement Certificate order is available to anyone who has obtained VisaScreen® certification.

5. I lost my Replacement Certificate. What should I do?

The VisaScreen® Replacement Certificate can only be purchased one time. You’ll have to go through the process of acquiring a new VisaScreen Certificate.

6. How do I order a Replacement Certificate?

Please follow the steps:

  • Log into your CGFNS Connect account
  • Choose the option to purchase CGFNS Services
  • At the service selection screen choose Additional CGFNS Services
  • At the Additional CGFNS Services menu choose the VisaScreen® Replacement ICHP Certificate

 

VisaScreen® Reprocess of an expired order

 

1. How long do I have to complete my VisaScreen order?

If your VisaScreen® order is not completed in a 12-month period, it will expire.

2. My VisaScreen order expired. What should I do?

You can reprocess your expired order, which will allow you another year to submit the necessary documentation to obtain certification.

3. If I reprocess my expired order, do I immediately renew my VisaScreen certification?

No. Reprocessing an expired order should not be confused with renewing VisaScreen® certification. Reprocessing your expired order will allow you one more year to submit the necessary documentation to obtain your VisaScreen certificate.

4. Who’s eligible to reprocess an expired order?

Your order status must be “Expired”. You cannot apply for a reprocess of your expired order until the order status becomes Expired.

5. After my status says “Expired”, how much time do I have to purchase the reprocess service?

You have 12 months from the expiration date of the order to purchase the reprocess service. Please note that only one reprocess application is accepted after an initial application expires.


6. If my VisaScreen order expired, how do I purchase the reprocess service?

Once your VisaScreen order status becomes Expired, you can reprocess it by following these instructions:

1.    Log into your CGFNS Connect account
2.    Choose the option to purchase CGFNS Services
3.    At the service selection screen, choose VisaScreen® - Reprocess Application
4.    If it is within a year of your order's expiration date, you should be automatically prompted to order the reprocess service

 

VisaScreen® Certification Renewal for Applicants Previously Certified by FCCPT

1. What is the VisaScreen Certification Renewal for physical therapists?

Physical therapists with an expiring or expired VisaScreen® certificate issued by the Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT) can be re-certified by CGFNS International.

2. What are the benefits of the Certification Renewal for physical therapists?

This is advantageous for those who have been working in the United States as a physical therapist and meet the criteria for exemption from the English proficiency requirement.

3. What is the eligibility criteria to purchase the Certification Renewal?

For FCCPT Certificate holders to be re-certified by CGFNS International they must:

  • Apply for VisaScreen®: Visa Credentials Assessment

Note: The VisaScreen® Renewal order is not available to applicants not previously certified for VisaScreen® by CGFNS International

  • Submit necessary VisaScreen®requirements including
    1. Passport photo 
    2. Official validation of all licenses ever held sent directly from the licensing authority to CGFNS International
    3. Official transcripts of professional education sent directly from your school to CGFNS International
  • Submit a photocopy of the certificate issued by FCCPT
  • Submit proof of employment in the United States- employment must be sent directly by the employer to CGFNS International and verify that:
    1. You have been working in the United States (employment in another English-speaking country is not acceptable)
    2. You have been working as a Physical Therapist
    3. You have been working a minimum of 27 months including 9 months of employment in the year prior to the date of your order with CGFNS International

 

VisaScreen® Streamlined Process for Those Educated in the United States

 

1. What is the “Streamlined Process” for those educated in the United States?

The streamlined review means that if you have completed a program accredited by the appropriate U.S. accreditation agency, then the required documentation is the official verification that you graduated from the program.

2. What are the professional categories eligible for the streamlined process?

Nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech language pathologists and audiologists who have been educated in the United States are eligible to apply for the streamlined process.

3. What are the requirements for each profession?

 

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