San Francisco Doctor and Nurse Visa Lawyer
Our firm has a concentration in representing nurse recruiters, small to large hospitals and foreign nurses. We are passionate about helping foreign nurses and hospitals succeed in the immigration system to meet the healthcare shortage. Attorney Ranchod became aware of the profound impact that individuals in the healthcare industry have since his father practices in the healthcare field.
As noted in this article there are very limited options for a nurse to obtain an H-1B visa, although physical therapists may obtain an H-1B visa. Since most nurses are not eligible to obtain an H-1B visa, obtaining permanent residency is the most advantageous option for nurses to immigrate to the U.S. We assist nurses and hospitals in obtaining permanent residency (commonly known as the green card) through the labyrinth of bureaucracy in the nursing immigration process.
Nurses and physical therapists are able to obtain permanent residency and are not required to obtain a labor certification since there is a recognized shortage of nurses in the U.S. “Schedule A Worker Category”
Nurses must meet a myriad of qualifications, including passing nursing exams and English tests. Specifically, in order to be eligible for permanent residency, nurses must pass the TOEFL or IELTS exam, which evaluate the nurse’s English skills.
To qualify for Schedule A, Group I processing, a nurse must be employed as a professional nurse and must hold either a CGFNS certificate or unrestricted license to practice professional nursing in the state of intended employment.
Currently, the acceptable examinations are by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) or actual passage of the National Council Licensure state licensing examination, which is now offered at overseas locations. CGFNS certifies that the foreign nurse’s training and license are equivalent to that of a U.S. nurse, that all their documents are authentic, that the foreign nurse has an unrestricted license, that the foreign nurse is sufficiently proficient in written and spoken English, and that the foreign nurse has in fact passed a state licensing exam.
If the nurse meets the above requirements, an employer such as a hospital must petition the nurse by filing the I-140 petition. The employer must demonstrate their ability to pay the nurse and the employer must pay the nurse the prevailing wage.
If the nurse is already in the US, the employer can file the I-140 simultaneously to filing the I-I-485 for adjustment of status (green card), if the priority dates are current. If the nurse is abroad, the nurse will go through consular process after the I-140 petition is approved, and apply for the Immigrant Visa before the US Embassy.
We have experience helping individuals, health care recruiters, and healthcare providers meet their nurse visa requirements. Contact our office in San Francisco, California, to schedule a consultation about a nurse visa and other H-1B visa issues, including permanent residence and green card status for nurses and specialty workers in the healthcare field.
For more information, visit our Nurse and Health Care Visas description page
H-1B Specialty Worker visas
H-1B Specialty Worker visas give professionals in specialty occupations, including some positions in the healthcare field, such as physical therapists, an opportunity to contribute their skills to the American economy. Every year 65,000 H-1B visas are issued for up to a three-year period, which may be extended an additional three years under special circumstances.
Eligibility for H-1B Specialty Worker visa
- Profession must be listed as a specialty occupation by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) (formerly part of the INS) (certain specialized areas of nurses are considered a specialty occupation)
- Petition must be submitted by the employer, based on employer’s need
- Bachelor’s degree required or requisite experience
TN visa under NAFTA
In addition, nurses and other specialty healthcare workers who are citizens of Canada or Mexico may be eligible to receive special consideration for a visa under terms of NAFTA. The spouse and children of TN visa holders may be eligible to accompany the visa holder in the United States, but will not be able to work legally while here.
Eligibility for a TN visa under NAFTA
- Available only to Mexican and Canadian citizens
- Must work in a profession recognized on the NAFTA list; nurses are included
- Must meet specific professional nurse training and licensing criteria
- Must be employed (or will be employed) by a U.S. employer to be eligible
Contact The Ranchod Law Group to learn more about nurse and health care visas and how we can help.