H-1Bs for Nurses
Nurses who are applying for an H-1B visa have often experienced problems when proving their expertise, because training does not necessarily mean the attainment of the required four-year bachelor's degree. Generally, with an H-1B petition approval it is only possible if the potential employee is offered a position in an occupation that is very specialized. This is defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act is one whose requirement is the need for both practical and theoretical knowledge which is very specialized or having attained a minimum of a bachelor's degree in the area of specialized knowledge. In short, H-1B's are required to be "specialty occupations."
Variations may depend on the state involved
In addition, if a specific state requires a particular license in order for the employee to practice, the license will be essential before an H-1B visa status is approved. These stringent requirements have for a long time been an issue for those who have chosen to practice nursing as a profession, particularly as the minimum requirements for the possession of a license as a Registered Nurse is normally a degree in nursing that takes up two years and not a bachelor's degree of 4 year duration. This has meant that many registered nurses fail to qualify for H-1B visa status..
However, the USCIS has stated that an employer who wishes to file a petition might be able to demonstrate that a particular RN position could qualify for an H-1B by using experience that is comparable to college level qualifications. USCIS has been using a specific formula that three years of on the job specialized training or work experience equates to college-level training lasting one year.
It is difficult to clearly match different amounts and levels of experience with specific paper qualifications and the guidelines laid down by USCIS have not been standardized.
Necessary certification for nurses
Nurses who will normally be suitable for H-1B visa status are those who are certified as advanced practice registered nurses. This certification is a prerequisite for: clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists who are registered and certified, nurse-midwives who have been certified. If an APRN job needs the employee to have certification in that particular practice, the nurse has to be an RN, and have in his or her possession a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, .
Another group of nurses who could qualify for an H-1B visa status approval are those in administrative positions that require graduate degrees in disciplines including health or nursing administration.
Those nurses who have specialized in critical care or perioperative procedures may also have preference when seeking H-1B visa status. Nurses who have passed exams based on school health clinical experience, emergency room nursing, occupational health, oncology, rehabilitation nursing, operating room and pediatrics, but who do not possess the status of an APRN may qualify for an H-1B if the petitioner can show that the particular position is very complex and specialized so that advanced qualifications or experience are necessary to complete the tasks.
Return to "The H-1B Visa" to learn more.