Expedited Licensure for Refugees, Asylees, and Holders of Special Immigrant Visas

Since January 1, 2021, individuals in the categories below who apply for a license issued by the California Board of Occupational Therapy may seek expedited processing.

  • Refugees pursuant to section 1157 of title 8 of the United States Code;
  • Those granted asylum by the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General of the United States pursuant to section 1158 of title 8 of the United States Code; or,
  • Individuals with a special immigrant visa that have been granted a status pursuant to section 1244 of Public Law 110-181, Public Law 109-163, or section 602(b) of title VI of division F of Public Law 111-8.

In order to receive the expedited review, individuals must provide evidence of their refugee, asylee, or special immigrant visa status when submitting their application package.

Documentation below are examples that can be used:

  • Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, with an admission class code such as “RE” (Refugee) or “AY” (Asylee) or other information designating the person a refugee or asylee.
  • Special immigrant visa that includes the classification codes of “SI” or “SQ.”
  • Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551), commonly known as a “Green Card,” with a category designation indicating that the person was admitted as a refugee or asylee.
  • An order from a court of competent jurisdiction or other documentary evidence that provides reasonable assurance that the applicant qualifies for expedited licensure.

Failure to provide documentation may result in a delay in expediting the application review.

Please note that this does not mean a license must be issued, but simply that the application review process will be expedited.

If you need assistance in a language other than English, language assistance services are available at no cost. Call (833) 498-2006.

The Department of Social Services’ Refugee Resettlement Program assists eligible refugees, asylees, special immigrant visa holders, and other eligible persons to resettle in California. For more information about the program, click here.