British radiographer needs help!

Little Brit

Registered Users (C)
#1
Hi, I have a BSc in Diagnostic Radiography & Imaging (NM, MRI, CT) and want to apply to emmigrate to the USA but I am unsure which visa/greencard to apply for, does anyone know the answer to this?

Also, does anyone have any idea of roughly how long an application takes if it is successful?

I would be grateful for any advice, thanks :)
 

great guru

Volunteer Moderator
#2
For your profession first find a job (employer) who can sponser your firtst before talking about visa.


Little Brit said:
Hi, I have a BSc in Diagnostic Radiography & Imaging (NM, MRI, CT) and want to apply to emmigrate to the USA but I am unsure which visa/greencard to apply for, does anyone know the answer to this?

Also, does anyone have any idea of roughly how long an application takes if it is successful?

I would be grateful for any advice, thanks :)
 

hadron

Registered Users (C)
#3
Quite a project you are looking at there.

A couple of websites to start with would be:

www.asrt.org
(the professional association of radiographers)

www.arrt.org
(the registry of radiologic technologists, your accrediting organization)

on this site you can also find information about state licensing.
http://www.arrt.org/web/content.jsp?include=/licensing/certvslic.htm

You might want to look into this and contact some of the states to find out whether they would recognize your training.

Now, as for the visa you would qualify for:
H1b
- I know, your bsc is a 4 year degree. so, this could make you eligible for a H1b visa. However, RT is a 2 year associates degree in the US, therefore you might have a problem to get sponsored as plain RT. If a hospital however manages to write the job description in a way that it requires a 4 yeare college degree, you migh suceed.
There are numerical caps on the number of H1b visas, but if you worked for a non-profit hospital (most are), it is possible that you would be exempt from the cap.

Green-card (permanent resident visa)
- to obtain a GC, a hospital would have to proove that they couldn't find a US citizen to fill the job. Then they have to apply for a 'labor certification' which takes something like 4 months. After that they can petition the immigration service for an immigrant visa (another 6 months). Once that is approved, you could go to the embassy in London and obtain an immigrant visa into your passport (with another couple of months of waiting time). So, the lead time to go through this process is well over a year under the best circumstances. You might be able to find a rural hospital willing to do this. (at this time, there is an additional problem. there are more immigrants than immigrant visas, so people in the category you would fall into have to wait several years for visa numbers).

As for jobs:

WE NEED YOU. There is a shortage of qualified radiology technologists and ultrasonographers. There are plenty of jobs out there, however I am not sure whether many of these places will have the foresight to go through the immigration process for a candidate from abroad. Hospital administrators are extremely shortsighted people, but maybe you are lucky.
 

Little Brit

Registered Users (C)
#4
wow, thank you both for your replies, Hadron you've really done some homework for me!!

I am aware of the differences in state licensing depending on where you go, I am looking at North Carolina for work as I know you do not need to be state registered to work there. This I think means I can get away with not being ARRT registered and not having American qualifications, but I don't know for sure.

You have also confirmed a concern of mine, that being that I may be over qualified to justify an H1B visa for a rad tech position due to the differences in our required qualifications to practice. This bothers me, however other than the years spent training, I am newly qualified so don't have that much experience, perhaps I can use this to justify a rad tech position?

Last year I took the opportunity to get 2 weeks work experience at a hosptial (unpaid) in NC, just to get a feel for things over there and find out some much needed info. You're right again that a rural hospital is almost certainly my best shot at securing my first job, where I went has been advertising the same posts for many many months, I have applied for one of them and emailed the head of department but I have heard nothing, I doubt they have had an application from Britain before, I'm sure they don't know what to do with it!

I'm really unsure how to approach the department again without
annoying them? Maybe they are looking into it which is why its taking a while, or maybe the answer is no? I'm sure Americans handle business differently to us, I would normally have no qualms about approaching prospective employers over here, especially as I know most departments would only be grateful for any interest shown, but the NHS and private hospitals in America are two very different kettles of fish.

At least I know now that my best option is an H1B visa, so thank you for clearing that up, thats one less thing to be confused about. Now all I need to do is find an employer who will write a job description to match my qualifications, all the ones I see allow applications from high school graduates *boohoo* :)
 

hadron

Registered Users (C)
#5
It is not so much an issue of being overqualified. It is more an issue of the rad-tech position in and by itself being 'underqualified' for a 4 year degree. The crux of the matter is that the H1b is for 'specialty occupations' that require the equivalent of 4 years of college.
Now, many engineers from the indian subcontinent have only 3 year degrees, there are ways to compensate the extra year with experience through a degree evaluation. On the same token, a good employment immigration attorney can create a job description for a radiographer which requires either a 4 year degree or 2 year degree+experience. So, with some creative naming, I think it might be possible to get an H1b for you (e.g. by requiring formal training in NM, CT and MRI....)

Now as to the question of how to approach the employers. If your return address is in the UK, most US employers won't bother to contact you back. If you have an address of a trusted local associate and a local phone # (e.g. by buying one of these internet phones from a US company, it will allways have the same # no matter where you take it to), you are more likely to hear back. The other option is to come here and cold-call hospitals and particularly imaging department managers. The person your email or fax goes to is in the HR (human resources=personnel matters) department. And these folks are often not the smartest. If you can convince the imaging deparment manager that your training is sufficient for the job at hand, you might have more luck.

There are three different levels of credentialing for RTs.
- some states formally license techs, with a state exam and a nice piece of paper on the wall. Some of these states have their own exam, most farm it out to the ARRT.
- some states require membership in the registry and nothing more
- some states don't require anything

I don't know how it works in NC. Consider broadening your search pattern. NC is one of the more popular states. It is not uncommon to go to a less attractive place for a couple of years to get your green-card and to move to a nicer place later.

Have you checked whether the ARRT would recognize your british training to make you eligible to sit for their exam ? Nurses from the phillipines and india sit for the US nursing exams all the time, teachers for the US teaching exams, I wouldn't know why it shouldn't work for RTs.
 
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Little Brit

Registered Users (C)
#6
Thanks again........I have checked the ARRT website and they don't state whether or not British qualifications are recognised or not but they do have an exam centre in England so I have always taken that to mean it is possible to sit it with British qualifications, but I shall phone them, thats the next thing on my to-do list!

I do know that in NC you don't need to be state registered which is one reason that I am looking to move there, the other reason is that is where my boyfriend is from! Do you think it is worth my while using his address on applications or might that look a bit dodgy? I had no idea I could get an American phone to work here, i'll look into that as well, but I have put my mobile phone number on applications with the international code incase they feel like calling!

Now, when you say a good immigration attorney can write a job description to support my application, do you mean the attorney a prospective employer would use, or the one I would use here to help fill out my forms? I would have thought the job description would be written by the employer/their lawyer?

I am going back to America for a week next month, on one of my applications to a hospital I have done some unpaid work experience at, I mentioned in my email to the head of department that I will be there then, I did think that my electronic application might never get to him so I did that to let hime know i've applied. Not heard a sausage though!

I'll keep my fingers crossed that something happens soon, maybe I should reapply with my boyfriends address and phone number like you suggest if I haven't heard anything in a few weeks.

Thanks again :)
 

hadron

Registered Users (C)
#7
> but they do have an exam centre in England so I have always taken
> that to mean it is possible to sit it with British qualifications,

I would get that started ASAP. The ARRT is a basic qualification to work as a RT here, even in the states that don't require it from the state side, hospitals will look at it to gauge your qualification (also, in order for the hospital to get their facilities accredited by the american college of radiology they need to employ registered techs).

> is where my boyfriend is from! Do you think it is worth my while using
> his address on applications or might that look a bit dodgy?

Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER SHOULD YOU EVER MENTION TO ANYONE IN THE IMMIGRATION SYSTEM THAT YOU HAVE A BOYFRIEND IN THE US. THIS IS A SECURE MECHANISM TO BE DENIED ADMISSION UNDER A VISITORS VISA (sorry I had to yell, but people don't seem to get that point at times). Having a boyfriend in the US makes you a likely immigrant and therefore ineligible for non-immigrant visas.


> I had no idea I could get an American phone to work here, i'll look into
> that as well, but I have put my mobile phone number on applications
> with the international code incase they feel like calling!

Americans for the greater part are very myopic, 80% wouldn't find your country on a map if it was marked with post it on it. Get a local number.

> the attorney a prospective employer would use, or the one I would
> use here to help fill out my forms?

Its the employer who hires the attorney, but usually it is the same person that you use.

By the way: Your best shot at coming over here to work is to marry that boyfriend. Just be sure to have 30-60 days between entering the country and marrying him.
 

Little Brit

Registered Users (C)
#8
Now it all makes sense :confused:

The last time I went to NC was last summer for my unpaid work experience, they asked how I could afford to visit so often and my answer was "my boyfriend pays" "Is your boyfriend an American citizen?" they asked "oh, yes" I naivly replied!!

I was told not to return for at least 8 months and even then they may not let me back in :( The 8 months are up and boyfriend has vowed not to travel here anymore as he doesn't like old blighty much :eek: so i've booked to go over next month, i'm hoping to be let in, i'll not mention him this time though...maybe i'll just say i'm on holiday for a week to visit some 'friends'.

Well well, you are a wonderful source of info Hadron, thank you so much....if you have any tips on me assuring entry next month on the visa waiver scheme, feel free to let me know!!

I have contacted JCRERT about getting ARRT membership, and am still waiting to hear back, but from what I have found out, there is a whopping $300 fee to take the exam in London :( , worth it though if it gets me the job.

As for marriage, maybe you can suggest that to my other half please :D
 

hadron

Registered Users (C)
#9
> "my boyfriend pays" "Is your boyfriend an American citizen?" they
> asked "oh, yes" I naivly replied!!

There is one of these buzzers that go off at game-shows when you gave the wrong answer. I certainly went off in the officers head at that moment.

> I was told not to return for at least 8 months and even then they
> may not let me back in The 8 months are up

Well, their computer has the 'likely immigrant' flag set for you. From now on, you will have a hard time entering. And you might want to consider only entering on a immigrant or 'dual intent' visa (such as the H1b) from now on. A denial of entry would be a big black blotch on your immigration record.

> if you have any tips on me assuring entry next month on the visa
> waiver scheme, feel free to let me know!!

Get a visitors visa. That way they can't just turn you back at the immigration counter. Getting the visa means fighting the battle on your turf, at the consulate in the UK. They might deny it, but you have a chance to bring all your evidence such as apartment lease, your employment papers from the UK and other evidence prooving your ties to the UK. Once you have the visa, you have certain rights to enter the country. The officer at the border has less leeway to deny your entry (if he wants to deny your entry, he can send you for deferred inspection at the local immigration office. you would have to explain yourself there which surely beats spending a night in the county jail and being put on the next am flight back which is what CAN happen if you are denied entry under the visa waiver program.)
Also, from the visa waiver there is no legal way to change to a work visa or immigrant visa. From the B1/B2 you can change if you stick to the 60 day 'modesty period'.


> I have contacted JCRERT about getting ARRT membership, and am
> still waiting to hear back, but from what I have found out, there is
> a whopping $300 fee to take the exam in London , worth it though
> if it gets me the job.

Look, you are going to make between 35 and 60k per year once you are here, what is a measly $300 compared to that.

> As for marriage, maybe you can suggest that to my other half please

Well, american men are deadly afraid of marriage. Let me give you the prevailing view:
'Women here tend to turn into fat nagging b_)(*_(s the day after you marry them. From that point on they blow out your money and wait for the day that you make enough that they can take the kids, get divorced and live off your alimony for the rest of their adult life'.

So, explain to him that you are british and therefore a low-maintenance wife. Offer him a pre-nup based on his states law. Eplain that marriage gives you certain immgration benefits not available in a BF/GF relationship and that it will be the only way for both of you to be together in the long run. To enter into a marriage in the US is cheapeer than getting your car inspected. And if it doesn't work out, as long as you don't have kids and an ironclad pre-nup, a divorce is cheaper than the filing fee for an employment visa.


Oh, and NEVER EVER mention the words 'unpaid work experience' in your dealings with customs or the immigration service. That is another buzzer going off.
 
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Little Brit

Registered Users (C)
#10
Oh dear. I have a one week trip booked in 5 weeks time, just for a holiday. I had thought if there was time I would apply for a visitors visa (just as a precaution, I was not told last time at the airport that I would need it, but he certainly gave the impression that he thinks I spend too much time in the States), but after looking at the us embassy website, its doubtful I will have an interview and be issued with it/get my passport back in time, however I will phone them and enquire first thing in the morning.

Hadron you seem very knowledgable, sorry to keep picking your brains, but here is the excerpt from the documents I requested from the file they have made on me, it may mean more to you than me:

"SUBJECT ADVISED TO REMAIN OUT OF THE US FOR LONGER THAN SHE'S HERE; SUBJECT ALSO ADVISED TO BRING PROOF OF TIES TO ENGLAND ON HER NEXT TRIP TO THE US; SHE IS TO PROVIDE VERIFICATION OF INCOME, TAXES, RESIDENCE, UTILITIES, AND OR PROOF OF STATUS IN SCHOOL; ADMITTED WT."

For reason for visit it states:

POSS 7A1, COMING TO VISIT USC BOYFRIEND, HAS MANY ENTRIES TO US UNDER VWP."

I had planned to go to the airport armed with documents and payslips, bills etc to prove my residency in the UK, but now i'm starting to panic!

Oh, I have absolutely no plans to stay longer than one week, I don't intend to apply for a H1B until I have a job offer, and have never mentioned my plans to any US officials.

Sadly my boyfriend has had a few 'evil' girlfriends and has no plans for marriage until i'm in the US permanently. I wouldn't marry to get a visa anyway, but i'm still hoping for a proposal before i'm too old :p
 

hadron

Registered Users (C)
#11
"SUBJECT ADVISED TO REMAIN OUT OF THE US FOR LONGER THAN SHE'S HERE; SUBJECT ALSO ADVISED TO BRING PROOF OF TIES TO ENGLAND ON HER NEXT TRIP TO THE US; SHE IS TO PROVIDE VERIFICATION OF INCOME, TAXES, RESIDENCE, UTILITIES, AND OR PROOF OF STATUS IN SCHOOL; ADMITTED WT."

POSS 7A1, COMING TO VISIT USC BOYFRIEND, HAS MANY ENTRIES TO US UNDER VWP."
It means that they have you firmly in their sights.

I am not an attorney and I cannot profess any first hand knowledge about this aspect of immigration law, but from this entry it appears to me that if you wait 8 months and 1 day to present for readmission they will deny your entry and deport you the next day. They are clearly on to your plans and you should seek competent (-->not mine) immigration advice before you try to travel to the US again.

I had planned to go to the airport armed with documents and payslips, bills etc to prove my residency in the UK, but now i'm starting to panic!
You had 8 months to get a visitors visa which will allow you to sort out the issue of which country you have more ties to without the risk of the unpleasant prospect of a return flight.

Oh, I have absolutely no plans to stay longer than one week,
Well, you'll have to make this case to the immigration or consular officer.

I wouldn't marry to get a visa anyway, but i'm still hoping for a proposal before i'm too old
He won't propose, you'll have to corner him.

Europeans have these qualms about marrying for a green-card. Our chinese and russian friends are much smarter when dealing with the system here. If you actually like the person, there is nothing wrong with marrying him. As long as he doesn't turn out to be an drinking whoring wife-beater, it is a win-win proposition.



PS
There was a time that I had plenty of short trips to various parts of the US for family and business reasons under the same 10 year old visitors visa. They never put any entries into the passport or the system, but towards the end they started to ask whether I had plans to work in the US.
They are goverment employees. They might not be the fastest, but they are certainly not stupid.
 
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Little Brit

Registered Users (C)
#12
I'm now truely scared about returning, I know being deported would affect my immigration plans badly . I better talk to someone tomorrow in the know about my chances of having a smooth trip in April, i'd much rather lose the $$ for the flight than my future.

You are fast turning into an agony-uncle :D ......I could never actually propose or do anything remotely obvious in terms of my hopes for him and I :eek: ....maybe i'm too traditional or just too British, but i'll wait for him to make that move, whether it affects my visa application or not....I would also hate people over there and here to think we had only married to get me in the country, that would make me so mad!

So, i'll be on the phone at 8am to speak to one of those helpful people at the US embassy and trying to find an immigration lawyer who'll give me some free advice quickly! Some kind of vacation this is gonna be :(
 

Little Brit

Registered Users (C)
#13
Ok, my appointment is booked at the US Embassy later this month for a tourist/visitors visa. I have been told that I will need to explain my frequent trips to the US and why also I want the visa for future trips, what are my reasons? If I can't say i'm visiting my boyfriend for a holiday, what can I say?? I don't think I can justify it any other way, all I can think of is to say i'm visiting friends, is that likely to satisfy the US embassy official enough to grant me the visa?

Also, if I get the visa (a B2), will it affect my application at a later date for an H1B, obviously at this stage I have no intention of mentioning my future plans to live and work in the States?

Just to complicate things further :eek: , my passport expires later this year so i'm having to have an interview for a new passport next week just in case I get this B2 visa as I believe if I have it put in my current passport, it would expire when the passport does and I don't want to have to go through any more interviews if I can help it for as long as possible :)
 

hadron

Registered Users (C)
#14
Ok, my appointment is booked at the US Embassy later this month for a tourist/visitors visa.
Good !


I have been told that I will need to explain my frequent trips to the US
Which is exactly what you would have to do when seeking admission to the US under the visa waiver program. This time you are at the embassy, if they want more paperwork you can go back and return for a follow-up appointment. You don't run the big risk associated with this kind of grilling at the border.

and why also I want the visa for future trips, what are my reasons?
That you consider travelling to Canada. That you consider studying in the US. That you are scared because of the entry in your passport/file.

If I can't say i'm visiting my boyfriend for a holiday, what can I say??
The horse is already out of the barn. They know you have a BF. You will have to convince them that you are not travelling to the US to get married.

Also, if I get the visa (a B2), will it affect my application at a later date for an H1B,
Certainly not in a negative way.

Just to complicate things further , my passport expires later this year
It has to be valid for 6 months when you enter the US.

I get this B2 visa as I believe if I have it put in my current passport, it would expire when the passport does and I don't want to have to go through any more interviews if I can help it for as long as possible
The visa doesn't expire with your passport. You just have to take the invalidated passport with the old visa along if you travel with the new passport (for the longest time I had this passport with my picture as an 8 year old, just for the US visa).
 

Little Brit

Registered Users (C)
#15
Ok, the new passport is in the pipeline, i'll collect it on Monday, it will save me the hassle of carrying two passports, one with visa (if I get it that is!) and one thats valid.

I'm not sure I understand how a B2 visa is connected with possibly travelling to Canada, or why that might satisfy them when they question me, can you explain please :D ?

And saying that I consider studying there, that won't set alarm bells ringing either? Well, I can certainly say I'd like to do that if it helps......

I'm so glad I found this forum, thanks again Hadron!
 
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hadron

Registered Users (C)
#16
Ok, the new passport is in the pipeline, i'll collect it on Monday, it will save me the hassle of carrying two passports, one with visa (if I get it that is!) and one thats valid.
Wow, lightning speed. Surely beats the times I know from other places to get a passport made. (will it have all these biometric gizmos US immigration is so interested in ?)

I'm not sure I understand how a B2 visa is connected with possibly travelling to Canada, or why that might satisfy them when they question me, can you explain please ?
If you enter the US on a visa waiver, forays into canada are limited in length and to certain border crossing points (e.g. Niagara Falls). Lets say you want to go up to Quebec by car, it is recommended to carry a visa for re-entry.

And saying that I consider studying there, that won't set alarm bells ringing either? Well, I can certainly say I'd like to do that if it helps......
Well, it doesn't set off as many bells as 'boy-friend' or 'intent to work'. It is from my understanding legal to use a B1/B2 for a visit to the US to interview at colleges. Studying in the US is another non-immigrant activity (you can't study on a B1/B2, but you are allowed to be interested in studying in the US. it is also legal to change from B2 to F1 student status if you declare this potential intent at the port of entry).

Look up some graduate programs in your profession, e.g. there are programs for 'radiology practicioner assistants' (a RPA is similar in scope of practice to a reporting radiographer http://www.radiologypa.org/DesktopDefault.aspx). Print out some information material, directions to the various places etc.
 
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#18
Hi, I almost have different problem. I have Radiography Diploma, from India of 24 months duration. I am already ARRT registred with CA & NY dept of health licenses. I passed ARRT MR examination as well in December 2005. I have a total 20 plus years of experience as radiographer including 5 years in MRI. I have some experience in CT also and is preparing for the ARRT exam probably in June 2007 in US. How can I find an employer who will sponsor me for H1 or other any other type of visa or GC which allow me to work. I am willing to work any where in US with an ulimate aim to join some centre as MR Technologist where they do research in fMRI (functional MRI)

Thanks
Soman
 
#19
Hi everyone,

I am currently in a similar position (with a boyfriend in the US) and was wondering how it turned out for you? Did you manage to get the visa and certification to live and work there?

Thanks
 
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