Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
I completed the occupational therapy eligibility documentation review
requirement some time ago and have since taken and passed the
certification exam. Now, I would like to submit an application for the Visa
Credential Verification Certificate (VCVC). Do I have to re-submit my
If you were approved through OTED through the online application system, you
do not need to resubmit your educational documents, including the Program
Director Form. Applicants who applied for OTED through the paper application
may be required to submit their educational documents if NBCOT no longer has
them on file.
Do I need to take the English Language Proficiency Examination?
VCVC applicants are required to submit a passing TOEFL ibt® score report to
NBCOT unless they received their OT education in a country that is exempt.
Exemptions: Graduates of occupational therapy programs in Australia, Canada
(except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States.
Passing TOEFL ibt® score reports are valid for two years from the date taken.
Though I am not a United States citizen, I completed my occupational
therapy education in the U.S. Am I required to complete and submit the
VCVC application requirement?
The country in which you obtained your occupational therapy degree has no
bearing or impact. The critical consideration in response to this question is
country of citizenship. If you are a citizen of a country other than the U.S., you
would need to apply for and obtain a VCVC.
Do I need the VCVC if I have an employment authorization document (EAD)
or employment authorization card?
The employment authorization document (EAD) or employment authorization
card is issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services (USCIS) division to individuals who are in
nonimmigrant status so that they can work in the United States on a temporary
basis in various fields. The EAD (also known as “work permit”) simply
acknowledges that the individual who holds it is eligible for employment in the
United States.
The EAD, however, is not issued to authorize an individual to work as a health
care worker.
In accordance with the USCIS Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration
Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) that went into effect in September 2003, the
USCIS granted NBCOT approval to issue health care worker certificates (i.e.,
Visa Credential Verification Certificates) to individuals coming into the United
States to practice in the field of occupational therapy (OT).
The IIRIRA rule requires that all immigrants and non-immigrants coming to the
United States for the primary purpose of performing labor as a health care worker
submit health care worker certification.
Therefore, if you have not obtained a permanent visa or have not become a U.S.
citizen, you must hold a current VCVC in order to legally work as an OT in the
United States.
For more information, please visit the NBCOT webpage that explains the VCVC
Once I submit my VCVC application and all required documents, how long
will it take to approve my application and generate my new healthcare
worker certificate?
Once the VCVC application is approved, the certificate will be issued within 10
business days. However, there may be times during the review process when it
is determined that additional information is needed from the applicant. The
review process is then delayed until all information has been received. In these
cases, the entire VCVC process may take several weeks or months.
How long is the VCVC valid?
The Visa certificate is valid for five (5) years from date issued. Unless the
certificate holder has obtained permanent status or has become a U.S. citizen,
the VCVC certificant must re-apply to NBCOT to obtain a renewal certificate.
I received my initial certificate from CGFNS but want to obtain my renewal
certificate through NBCOT. Is this possible?
You may apply for a VCVC certificate even though your original certificate was
processed through CGFNS. You would apply using the VCVC Handbook and
application found on the NBCOT’s website, > certificants >
International VISA Certificate. You should not apply using the VCVC Renewal
Handbook since this is the first time you are requesting a VCVC certificate from
07/20/09; updated 06/06/14; updated 06/01/16; updated 09/19/16