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H-1B Work Visa Eligibility Requirements for Nurses

  1. 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.

  2. You must possess a nursing license in the U.S. state where you intend to work.

  3. You must obtain a VisaScreen healthcare worker certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).

  4. 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 Manager

  • 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.

More H-1B visa questions? Let’s talk.

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.

More H-1B visa questions? Let’s talk.


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