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H-1B Work Visa Eligibility Requirements for Allied Health Professionals
You must be a working in an Allied Health occupation that qualifies as a “specialty occupation,” which is any occupation that typically has a minimum educational requirement of a four-year Bachelor’s degree.
If the U.S. state where you intend to work requires a professional license for your occupation, you must possess the appropriate license.
If you will be working as a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Speech Language Pathologist, Audiologist, Medical Technologist or Physician Assistant, you must obtain a VisaScreen healthcare worker certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).
You must have an offer of employment from a U.S. employer for a qualifying nursing position.
Examples of Allied Health Occupations that are Eligible for an H-1B Work Visa
The following Allied Health positions typically qualify for an H-1B work visa because they require at least a Bachelor’s degree (and sometimes a Master’s or Ph.D degree) as the minimum educational requirement for the occupation:
Speech Language Pathologist
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H-1B Work Visa Application Process for Allied Health Professionals
When applying for an H-1B work visa, an Allied Health Professional’s application must be submitted with the appropriate U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A USCIS officer will review the H-1B work visa application and either approve or deny the application. If the application is approved, USCIS will issue an approval notice, which serves as the Allied Health Professional’s official H-1B status documentation.
H-1B Work Visa Terms of Status for Allied Health Professional
Duration of Status: H-1B work visa status is granted for an initial period of up to three years and can be extended for one additional three-year increment, for a total of six years of H-1B work authorization. In some situations, an Allied Health Professional’s H-1B status can be extended beyond the normal six-year limitation if they have started a Green Card application.
Employment Authorization: An H-1B work visa provides authorization to work with your sponsoring employer only. H-1B work visa status does not provide open market employment authorization.
Employment Status/Concurrent Employment: Full-time, part-time or contingent employment status is permitted if properly documented in the application. Concurrent employment with multiple employers is also permitted, but a separate H-1B application is required.
Country of Residence Options for Canadian and Mexican Allied Health Professional: Canadian and Mexican Allied Health Professionals with H-1B work visa status can live in the U.S. or they can live in Canada/Mexico and commute daily to their U.S. job.
Status for Dependents: Spouses and children of H-1B Allied Health Professionals can obtain H-4 dependent status, which authorizes them to live and study in the U.S. However, H-4 dependents are generally not eligible for work authorization, except in very limited circumstances.
Green Card Eligibility: Allied Health Professionals with H-1B work authorization are eligible to apply for U.S. permanent resident (“Green Card”) status. Canadian or Mexican nurses who prefer to remain living in Canada or Mexico while commuting to a job in the U.S. can apply for a Commuter Green Card.