Passport USA provides a comprehensive program for international occupational therapists. We will assist you with everything you need in order to prepare for and take your licensing exam, obtain US credentials, secure a visa, relocate and establish a new home in the United States.
Important Note: All internationally-educated occupational therapists approved for exam eligibility under current OTED eligibility standards must take and pass the OTR® certification examination prior to July 31, 2014 if they do not hold an occupational therapy master’s degree deemed comparable to a U.S. entry-level accredited master’s degree in occupational therapy.
If you have not passed the NBCOT exam by July 31 2014, you will have to have completed a Master’s degree in OT in order to be eligible to take the NBCOT exam.
If you do not possess a Master’s degree in OT, you can still qualify to come to America. BUT, you must move quickly to complete your OTED Application by July 31, 2013, which is the most time-consuming part of the process.
Our staff will help you navigate the complexities of credentialing, licensure, and visa options to take the best path to achieve your goals.
Assistance with TOEFL and NBCOT review resources, credential evaluation, VisaScreen, and U.S. licensure.
Financial support and/or reimbursement for TOEFL-IBT, credentialing (CES) for your destination state(s) and other approved states, VisaScreen, NBCOT review, NBCOT exam, U.S. Licensure, and more.
Green Card Visas
EB-3 sponsorship during initial H1-B, or EB-2 sponsorship for qualifying candidates currently residing outside the U.S.
Passport USA’s wage rates meet or exceed the prevailing wage standard that an Occupational Therapist with similar training and experience would earn in your assigned geographic area. In addition to the base pay, you will be paid overtime pay rates for working more than 40 hours in any given week.
PAID TIME OFF
Participating therapists are eligible for generous Paid Vacation, Sick Time, Personal Time Off which are accrued according to the hours of service.
Airfare to the USA (job site)
Assistance with buying or leasing a car
Medical, dental, life, and professional liability (malpractice) insurance coverage.
We offer a 401(k) retirement plan. This plan is an easy and convenient way for you to save for your retirement. Your contribution also reduces your taxable income.
GREEN CARD SPONSORSHIP
Green card sponsorship for successful H-1B candidates
Passport USA typically processes occupational therapists under the H1-B and EB-2 visas as is appropriate to each situation. Passport USA has partnered with immigration attorneys and uses an in-house legal team to process and closely monitor the visa filing and approval process.
Our Visa Specialist Team will be in constant touch with you about your visa application. They will have information of what documents are required and when so that the process is as efficient and timely as possible.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visas category established by the USCIS. (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) to employ international workers with specialized training. There are two fundamental forms of H1B visas, Cap and Non-Cap. Both are initially valid for up to 3 years and renewable for up to 3 additional years.
Cap” H-1B Visas
The U.S. Government has allotted 65,000 H1-B Visas to “for-profit” organizations. This 65,000 number is the annual “Cap” people are referring to when you hear them talk about “Cap” visas. All Cap visa petitions must be received by the USCIS no later that April of each year. In recent years, this cap of 65,000 visa applications was reached within as little as one day. Once this date is reached a lottery will be drawn and if the petition is selected and approved, an exit interview will be conducted at the U.S. Embassy in your country. Passport USA provides all the necessary documentation needed for the exit interview along with assistance in securing an appointment date. Appointments start on October 1 of each year. We are currently accepting applicants for the next H-1B “Cap” filing.
Non-Cap” H-1B Visas
Non-Cap H-1B visas do not come under the allotted 65,000 H1-B visas per year and so can be applied for at any time during the year. However, there are a number of restrictions for non-cap visa filings. Specifically, the under-lying employment must be with a non-profit organization that has a strong affiliation with a university or research organization. These restrictions limit the universe of potential non-cap opportunities within any given state. Passport USA does not currently have any opportunities that meet Non-Cap H-1B requirements.
General Requirements for an H-1B Visa: In order to qualify for an H-1B Visa you must have a Bachelor’s degree for OT’s. You also must have passed one of the accepted English exams. Ultimately, you will need to have secured a VisaScreen certificate.
The EB-2 visa is an employer-sponsored green card visa that is applicable for Master’s prepared candidates (or the equivalent; e.g., those with a BS/BA plus 5 years of experience) that have secured employment in a position that requires a Master’s degree or the equivalent.
EB2 immigrant visa holders may
Reside permanently in the U.S.
Work in the U.S.
Travel freely in and out of the U.S.
Apply for dependent visas for your spouse and children below 21 years AND they can work legally in the U.S.
There is no Retrogression, visa CAP or Lottery for EB-2 visas.
The employment-based second preference (EB-2) immigrants are typically those who work in highly-skilled occupations that require an advanced degree. Generally, this means one needs a Master’s degree or higher for entry into the field, or the equivalent. US immigration law recognizes a bachelor’s degree plus five years of “progressively-responsible” experience in the field as the equivalent of a Master’s degree. Employment-based third-preference (EB-3), in contrast, includes occupations requiring no experience up to a bachelor’s degree with some experience. Because the EB-3 category is substantially retrogressed (backlogged), we are receiving an increasing number of inquiries on how an employment-based immigrant can obtain permanent resident status more quickly through the EB-2 classification.
The Position Requirements
An occupation may be classified as an EB-2 eligible position if the job normally requires a master’s degree or higher. An immigrant worker’s attainment of a master’s (or higher) degree is not sufficient by itself to qualify for EB-2 classification. The job must normally require an advanced degree and/or extensive experience. A petition for a foreign professional holding an advanced degree may be filed when the job requires an advanced degree (beyond the baccalaureate) and the petitioning health professional possesses such a degree or the equivalent. The health professional must include documentation, such as an official academic record showing that the health professional has a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that the health professional has a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that the petitioner has at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate experience in the specialty.
Education and Experience Requirements: Individuals with a bachelor’s degree may qualify for EB-2 if the position offered can normally require a bachelor’s degree plus five years of “progressively responsible” experience. “Progressively-responsible” can include promotions, assumption of additional or more complex duties, and supervisory responsibilities. This person qualifies under the EB-2 category even though s/he does not have a master’s degree and can immigrate faster than if s/he were offered an EB-3 position. The EB-2 category, in contrast has no visa application backlog at all for any countries except for China and India making it a much more desirable category to qualify for. Whether someone qualifies under the EB-2 category is complex and fact-sensitive for each applicant.
Our comprehensive program is designed to address both the professional and personal aspects of your move to America. Let us explain the major steps.
The Application Process
As an occupational therapist your skills are in great demand in America. Once you complete send us your resume or submit an application to us, we will review your education and experience to determine the best path for you to take to work as a OT in the United States. (Please note that the basic steps shown below may happen in different orders or may be happening concurrently.)
The first hurdle to relocating to the U.S. is passing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). You must receive a passing score on this exam in order to work as a therapist in America. If you already have this credential, we will reimburse you for your investment prior to your departure for the US.
Credentialing – OTED
Next, you must have your education credentials evaluated by NBCOT. We will guide you with the OTED process and for your VisaScreen certificate. OTs with only a bachelors degree must start the OTED process ASAP and get their OTED application to NBCOT by Jan 1, 2013.
The next priority is to prepare you for the U.S. licensing examination (NBCOT). We will provide guidance in identifying quality test preparation materials and courses.
Our placement team works hard to ensure that your assignment in the United States is a great fit for you and your employer. Many factors are considered regarding your U.S. placement. These factors include, but are not limited to, your clinical skills and experience, job opportunities at the time of your relocation and, of course, your own personal location preferences. Because of the strong relationships that we have with built with healthcare facilities all across the U.S. and the quality of our healthcare professionals, Passport USA has more job opportunities at more healthcare facilities than ever before.
Upon client selection we will begin the visa sponsorship process. Typically, Passport USA’s parent corporation, Health Carousel, will be your visa sponsor. The type of visa used may vary based on several factors including your educational background, your profession, and the position you will be accepting.
Preparing for the USA
Before you pack your bags for America, we will ensure that you know what to expect when you arrive at your destination. Passport USA and our clinical partner facilities will assist you with your transition to living and working in the United States.
A Passport USA representative will be assigned to you and will be available throughout the duration of your time with us. We will give you the support you need to ease into your new environment and to feel confident in your workplace and personal life.
Long-Term Career Opportunities
Once your initial Passport USA assignment has been completed you have unrestricted career opportunities. You will be eligible for a variety of clinical settings around the country as a traveling therapist or accept another long-term assignment in a new part of the country. When your initial contract period is completed, you can choose to work as a traveling PT, accept another long-term assignment with PasportUSA, or identify a “permanent” employment opportunity. You may even be invited to work as directly for your assigned clinical partner facility indefinitely.
Q&A: GETTING STARTED
What qualifications do I need?
Be a post graduate from an accredited university program recognized as comparable to a U.S. Occupational Therapy degree. (Note that effective January 1, 2013, candidates must have a minimum of a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy, unless they have previous applied with NBCOT).
Have completed at least 1,000 hours of supervised fieldwork internship; this experience may be attained during university studies.
Have a valid occupational therapist license or registration in your home country.
Have a minimum of one recent year of post-graduate therapy experience in a hospital or large rehab center.
You must be fluent in English. Within 2 years of the filing of the visa screen application, you must obtain the following examination scores:
TOEFL: 560 (paper-based) or 220 (computer-based – TWE: 4.5 – TSE: 50
TOEFL IBT: 89 (each section must meet the following scaled scores): Reading: 18; Listening: 21; Speaking: 26; Writing: 24
Exemptions for the English Exams: graduates of entry-level occupational therapy programs in Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand and the UK.
How do I apply to Passport USA?
To get started, you need to complete an employment application and send us your updated resume. This will help us determine whether you have the skills and experience to work in a healthcare setting in the United States.
Do I have to sign a contract?
Yes, we require a signed contract to confirm that you will work for Passport USA for a predetermined amount of time in the United States.
How long is my commitment to Passport USA?
Typically, your commitment to work with Passport USA will be 36 months or a minimum of 6240 service hours.
Q&A: LICENSES & VISAS
What type of visas or licenses do I need to work in America?
We usually sponsor occupational therapists for H1B visas. During periods of visa retrogression, such as now, this provides the fastest route to the United States for OTs. We may also offer EB2/EB3 and TN visas where appropriate for qualifying therapists.
How do I get an OT license?
Once you have been accepted into the Passport USA program, we will help you study for and obtain your U.S. occupational therapy license.
How do I get a work visa?
After you have passed TOEFL and completed the OTED and secured your VisaScreen, and been selected by a client facility, we will file your work visa. PassportUSA will sponsor the visa and manage the filing process. Depending upon the situation, we may file a CAP or a Non-CAP H1B visa, a TN visa (Canadian citizens), or an EB2 visa.
Do I need credentialing?
Yes, applicants will be required to have completed credentialing (OTED) process prior to working in the US. We will assist you in this process.
What is a VisaScreen?
A VisaScreen is a process to ensure you have the necessary qualifications to work in America. During the screening, your skills will be compared to the minimal skills required in education, licensing and English language. Healthcare professionals who have graduated from a college or university in Australia, Canada (except Quebec), New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, don’t have to meet the English language requirement. Once you have passed the VisaScreen, you will be given a certificate which we will submit to the American embassy or consular office as part of your Permanent Residency application.
What type of training do I need for the OT license?
In order to get your OT license, you will need to pass the OTR examination. Passport USA will assist you in identifying training programs and study materials to help prepare you for this exam.
Where do I take the OTR exam?
OTR exam centers are located in the United States and other countries such as India, Philippines etc… Depending upon the circumstances, we will either pay for or reimburse you for the costs of the exam.
How does the visa process work?
Prior to applying for your visa, you will need to have passed TOEFL and CES for your destination state(s), secured either an ATT or permanent license, and applied for a VisaScreen certificate. When you have all the credentialing you need, we will meet with you to discuss the process of applying for your H1-B visa. Passport USA will pay for the initial filing fee for your visa and will help you each step of the way with the necessary visa requirements and paperwork.
Can I bring my family?
If you are married, your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 can legally relocate to the United States with you.
Q&A: LIVING IN AMERICA
Can I choose where I work and live?
Absolutely. There are many options for you to choose from, ranging from the biggest cities in the nation to quieter, rural areas. Think about where you would like to live and we will help to match your skills and expertise with a hospital in your desired region.
How do you match me to a healthcare facility?
We consider your skills, experience, needs, personality and goals and make the closest match possible with the hospital. Both your wishes and the requirements of the hospital will be taken into consideration.
When does my assignment in America begin?
The assignment begins once you have secured your U.S. credentialing, been accepted by a PassportUSA client, secured a U.S. visa and have secured an authorized start date from PassportUSA. Depending upon the time of year, visa availability, and the credentials you already posses, it can take as little as 3 to 6 months from the time you are accepted into the program by PassportUSA and our client facility until you begin your assignment in America.
What do American hospitals expect from their Healthcare professionals?
Healthcare professionals are treated as professionals in America and as an OT you will have more autonomy than perhaps you are used to in your home country. The role of the OT is one of educator and decision-maker. Passport USA will help you prepare for the differences you are likely to encounter when you begin working in an American hospital. You will be well prepared for what to expect and we will ensure that your decisions are grounded in excellent assessment skills and clinical knowledge.
How much does it cost to live in America?
The cost of living largely depends on the region where you are working, the housing options you choose and your own personal tastes. There is no set standard of living cost but once we know your personal situation, we can help you find out what your costs will be. Many things in America are cheaper than other countries, including cars, petrol, household goods, clothing and food.
Is the pay better in America?
American Healthcare professionals’ salaries are among the most competitive in the world. Your compensation will depend on your experience, your clinical specialty and the location of your assignment. Based on the cost of living, some regions of the country pay more than other areas.
How do I find accommodations in America?
Once you have accepted a job at a hospital in the United States, your international relocation specialist will help you set up your housing, arrange for furniture delivery and ensure that everything is ready for you once you arrive at your new destination. We will work with you on finding the best housing for your needs and help set up your home so that it is ready when you arrive.
What happens after I complete my contract with Passport USA?
You have many choices and we will help you with your decision. Here are some of the options you will have:
Begin a new assignment with Passport USA.
Join our exciting travel nurse program and accept 13-week or longer assignments anywhere in the United States.
Become a permanent employee of your assigned hospital.
Return home, where we will help you with a job placement in your country.
Arrange for your own employment at a hospital of your choice anywhere in the United States.