The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule that will require certain foreign health care workers other than physicians to obtain a certificate granted by an approved independent credentialing organization before they will be allowed to enter the United States as either a nonimmigrant or immigrant. The requirement is effective on September 23, 2003, and will apply to nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and audiologists, medical technologists, medical technicians, and physician assistants.

To allow affected nonimmigrant health care workers sufficient time to obtain the requisite certification, for one year after publication of the final rule DHS will continue to admit and approve applications for change of status and/or extension of stay for nonimmigrant health care workers. The admission, extension of stay, or change of status may not be for a period longer than one year, and the nonimmigrant foreign health care workers must obtain their certification within that time. AMDOC#: 200307018