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H-1B Work Visa Eligibility Requirements for Nurses
You must be a working in a nursing position that qualifies as a “specialty occupation,” which is any occupation that typically has a minimum educational requirement of a four-year Bachelor’s degree.
You must possess a nursing license in the U.S. state where you intend to work.
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.
Standard Registered Nurse Positions Do Not Qualify for H-1B Work Visas
Standard Registered Nurse positions do not qualify as an H-1B specialty occupation because the minimum educational requirement for the nursing field in the U.S. is only a two-year Associate’s degree.
Even if an individual working in a standard Registered Nurse position has a Bachelor’s degree, they will not be eligible for an H-1B work visa since the standard Registered Nurse occupation does not qualify as a specialty occupation.
Examples of Nursing Occupations that are Eligible for an H-1B Work Visa
The following management and advanced practice nursing positions can qualify for an H-1B work visa because they do require at least a Bachelor’s degree (and sometimes a Master’s or Ph.D degree) as the minimum educational requirements for the occupation:
Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
Some Nurse Educator positions or nursing positions related to technology, such as Nursing Informatics positions, may also qualify for an H-1B work visa depending on the minimum educational requirements for the specific position.
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H-1B Work Visa Application Process for Nurses
When applying for an H-1B work visa, a nurse’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 nurse’s official H-1B status documentation.
H-1B Work Visa Terms of Status for Nurses
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, a nurse’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 Nurses: Canadian and Mexican nurses 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 nurses 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: Nurses 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.