Like nursing, physical therapy is another professional area that exhibits a significant shortage in the United States. As a result, the US government has authorized a smoother processing than enables such professionals to acquire permanent residency much more efficiently than other visa categories.
How do I qualify?
As matter of legal procedure, the USCIS requires you to have a license for the state where you intend to practice physical therapy. In order to reduce the complications related obtaining such a license when you are residing outside of the United States, the USCIS issues H-1B visas valid for one year as long as the therapist meets all other requirements that allow them to take the state licensing tests. Then, once in the United States, the therapist would be eligible to take the test after obtaining a social security number.
How do I obtain a license?
You need to do the following in order to sit for licensing tests:
- Submit your educational records to a U.S. state therapy board for a temporary license or permit
- Apply for an H-1B visa to work in the U.S.
- When you receive your one-year H-1B visa, take the appropriate state licensing exam and renew your H-1B visa.
How do I become a permanent resident?
Yes. Before getting to that stage, you must make sure you fulfill the following:
- Have your educational qualification positively evaluated
- Make sure your license is valid
- Have a satisfactory English language proficiency
- Successfully completing of the test for and demonstrated knowledge of physical therapy
A Visa Screen Certificate will be issued to you when you have completed all the requirements of the visa screen that you will have to take with you to the US consulate for you visa interview.
How Do I Apply for the Visa Screen Certificate?
Generally, you must be licensed as a physical therapist in your home country or any country where you studied in order to qualify for a visa screen. The two institutions authorized to issue Visa Screen Certificate for physical therapists are:
- The CGFNS Certification Program and
- The Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCP).
As proof of you English language proficiency you must have a minimum TOEFL score of 560 (or 220 computerized), a Test of Written English (TWE) a minimum score of 4.5 and a Test of Spoken English (TSE) minimum score of 50. If you got your degree in the U.S., the U.K. , Australia , New Zealand or Canada (except Quebec ), the language requirements can be waive for you.
Can I Bring My Family?
Yes you can. Since your application, after approval, leads towards permanent residency, you will be able to bring to the United States your spouse and children under the age of 21.