How to Apply for Authorization to Issue Certifications for Healthcare Workers with Form I-905

How to Apply for Authorization to Issue Certifications for Healthcare Workers with Form I-905

Form I-905, also known as the “Application for Authorization to Issue Certification for Health Care Workers,” is a form organizations use to apply for approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to issue certifications for foreign healthcare workers. 

These certifications are required for foreign healthcare workers to be eligible for certain nonimmigrant visas, such as the H-1C visa or EB-2 visa.

Occupations that require certification include: 

  • Licensed practical nurses
  • Licensed vocational nurses
  • Registered nurses
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Speech-language pathologists and audiologists
  • Medical technologists (clinical laboratory scientists)
  • Physician assistants
  • Medical technicians (clinical laboratory technicians)

What is Form I-905? 

The form’s purpose is to provide information to USCIS about the organization, its facilities and programs, and the healthcare workers seeking certification. The USCIS will review the application and, if approved, grant the organization the authority to issue certifications to foreign healthcare workers.

It is important to note that only specific organizations, such as hospitals, are eligible to apply for authorization to issue certifications.  Obtaining approval can be complex and time-consuming. 

If your application is approved, it will be valid for five years. At that time, the USCIS will check if your organization complies with the requirements. 

How to Obtain Authorization to Issue Certificates For Foreign Healthcare Workers

Organizations that want their Form I-905 approved have to meet a robust list of qualifications. These fall into three general categories: organizational structure, resources, and the process for assessing and testing candidates. 

Organizational Structure 

The organization needs to be a separate legal entity. 

The organization could be incorporated, a limited liability company, a non-profit, or any other organization that is its own legal entity;  the organization must be independent and not influenced by other organizations representing the healthcare field or organizations that recruit or place healthcare workers.

The organization should carefully choose people involved in the certification process. 

For the process of certifying healthcare workers, it’s essential that the organization has various different people involved. The organization must choose representatives who know about the specific healthcare field that those seeking certification work in, such as healthcare workers who work in the same field as those seeking certification and are eligible to work in the U.S. There should also be at least one non-healthcare professional who doesn’t get a significant income from the healthcare industry or related organizations. This helps make the certification process fair and trustworthy. Additionally, everyone involved in the certification process has an equal say in important decisions. 

The organization must have a fair process for choosing who will be part of the decision-making group for certifications. When selecting new people for this governing body of those deciding on certification, this group cannot select a majority of its successors. If the organization is a non-profit and has trouble following this rule, it can show that it is independent and free from conflicts of interest.

The organization must not be involved in the accreditation or educational functions of the discipline. 

While the organization cannot be involved in accreditation or educational functions of the discipline, there is an exception for entities recognized as independent by the U.S. Department of Education. They must have a straightforward document that explains their responsibilities and any other activities, agreements, or arrangements not directly related to the certification of health care workers.

Organizational Resources 

The organization must ensure its employees possess the necessary knowledge and skills to evaluate healthcare workers’ education, job experience, and licensure. Additionally, they should be capable of comparing the education of foreign healthcare workers to those in the United States and determining whether they are equivalent.

The organization must demonstrate sufficient funds and resources to evaluate healthcare workers worldwide regularly. The organization should also provide easily accessible information about eligibility requirements, evaluation procedures, exam schedules, locations, fees, reporting, and the process for addressing grievances or disciplinary issues.

Methods for Assessing and Testing Candidates

The organization must use accurate and consistent methods to assess healthcare workers’ abilities and credentials and the process must be fair and unbiased. To help candidates prepare, the organization should provide a comprehensive and easy-to-understand outline of what will be covered during the examination. 

To ensure accuracy and fairness, the organization should: 

  • Regularly check and update their evaluation methods
  • Conduct a structured and systematic review of their methods to keep them relevant and up-to-date 
  • Maintain confidentiality and security throughout the evaluation process, including during testing 
  • Have policies in place to prevent fraud 
  • Once a year, the organization must share information about its evaluation activities, including the number of people who applied, were evaluated, passed, failed, and had their certification renewed 

The Organization’s Responsibility to Applicants 

Every applicant should receive a statement of nondiscrimination when they receive the examination procedures or the renewal certification process. 

If the organization uses exams in its certification process, it must provide proctored examination sites once a year and promptly report the results to the applicants. If an applicant fails an examination, they must receive general information about where they didn’t meet the requirements. 

There should also be a formal process for renewing certifications and the organization must provide credentials to qualified applicants in a timely manner. 

How Do I Fill Out Form I-905?

This form is only three pages. However, it’s essential to carefully document how your organization will meet all the USCIS requirements in the first part. 

Part 1: Information About The Organization 

The first part of the application asks for basic information about the organization, such as the name, address, IRS tax number, and point of contact. 

Additionally, you’ll have to answer six parts describing how your organization meets the requirements. 

  1. Description of your organization 
  2. Occupations for which you are seeking authorization to certify
  3. Describe in detail the process you will use to issue certificates  
  4. Explain your organization’s expertise, knowledge, and experience in the healthcare occupations you seek authorization to certify
  5. Explain how your organization meets the standards described in the instructions sheet
  6. Describe the procedure you will establish for granting certification so that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can verify the validity of your certificates.

Part 2: Interpreters Information 

If an interpreter helped prepare the form, they’ll provide their name, address, phone number, email, and signature in this section. 

Part 3: Preparer’s Information 

If a person besides the applicant helped prepare the application they’ll provide their name, address, phone number, email address, and signature in this section. 

What Is The Filing Fee For Form I-905?

The filing fee for Form I-905 is $230. This fee can be paid with a check or a money order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” If you live outside of the United States, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for more information on how to pay.

How Can Organizations Maintain Accreditation?

The criteria for maintaining accreditation as a credentialing organization for foreign healthcare workers are as follows:

  • Tell USCIS about any changes to the organization or its programs
  • Share information with USCIS when asked 
  • Check if certificate holders are passing U.S. licensing exams at the same rate as U.S. program graduates
  • Keep records of how many certificate holders pass exams and share this information with the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and USCIS
  • Follow all other policies set by USCIS

If the organization does not meet any of these criteria, the USCIS could revoke the organization’s accreditation.

Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. Can Help Your Organization 

At Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C., we can help your organization complete Form I-905. This form can be complex and time-consuming and mistakes can lead to costly delays. Our team is dedicated to providing you with the resources and support you need to navigate the U.S. immigration system successfully.

If you have any questions or need help with your Form I-905, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can contact us through our online form or call us at (312) 444-1940. 

We're looking forward to hearing from you!