by Chris Musillo

On April 26, 2010, the California Board of Registered Nursing announced that it would no longer accept applications that do not have a Social Security Number. The California BRN reasons that since the Nursing Practice Act provides for automatic issuance of the license upon approval, the Social Security Number is a prerequisite to the filing of the application. This is problematic for overseas nurses who are ineligible for Social Security Numbers by virtue of not having US visas and work authorization.

If a nurse has passed the NCLEX and the only issue holding up the issuance of the license is the lack of a Social Security Number, the USCIS should still approve the visa petition. This process would be consistent with the USCIS' long-standing procedure on petitions solely lacking Social Security Numbers.

For instance, a
November 20, 2001 INS (predecessor to the USCIS) Memo directs USCIS officers to approve petitions when the sole missing item is the social security number. Similarly a May 20, 2009 USCIS Memo reiterates this position.

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