What Are the Costs Associated With the Nurse’s Green Card Application in Arizona?
It is professionally satisfying to be able to help reduce the nursing shortage and provide better patient care since understaffing has become a serious problem. You may also be drawn by the fact that you can earn a very competitive salary.
Of course, you will need authorization to work in the US as a nurse, and you know there are costs involved. There are multiple options depending on your circumstances, including a nurse’s green card. The eligibility rules are different, so you may qualify for multiple alternatives of being employed as a nurse. When you are eligible for more than one, you need to choose the right fit.
A nurse’s green card application is complicated from the very start, and the cost is just one of many factors you will need to address. By hiring an Arizona immigration application attorney to help with green cards for nurses, you gain an advantage and can count on a smooth process. Some answers to common questions are also helpful
What is a nurse’s green card?
It is important to clarify some terminology before getting into the expenses for an immigration application because US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has extremely detailed rules. A green card is what you receive when you have gone through the process to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). You have the right to live and work permanently in the US, and you can leave the US without concerns about being able to return. A green card holder has almost all the same rights as a US citizen, though you are not allowed to vote in elections. Within three to five years, you can apply for naturalization to become a US citizen.
A green card is different from a work visa, which is also an option for nurses from foreign countries. A temporary, nonimmigrant work visa is for those who want to work in the US for a fixed period of time, without any intention to remain. There are also permanent immigrant work visas, in which the individual does intend to stay in the US. You apply for this visa before entering the US, at which point you can obtain your green card.
How much is it to file an EB-3 application in Arizona?
The EB-3 is an employment-based visa that allows a nurse from another country to enter the US to live, work, and become a permanent resident. There are multiple steps and fees involved with getting the EB-3, but the nature of the process means some of the costs will be borne by your prospective employer.
Process for Getting an EB-3: You need a job offer before you can apply for an EB-3, so some of the initial tasks are handled by your employer. Once the groundwork is in place, you will tackle certain forms.
- Your employer will need to obtain a Labor Certification, as officials are always concerned about how hiring a foreign worker will affect US employees. Nurses have an advantage because of the high demand for these professionals in the US. The employer does not have to prove that hiring you will reduce wages, so getting approval is usually faster.
- An employer must submit Form I-140 – Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers to show that you possess the requirements to fill an open nursing position. This document also designates you for the EB-3 visa category.
- Once USCIS approves the Form I-140, you will receive notification. At this point, you will prepare the DS-260 – Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application if you are applying from outside the US. You will go through consular processing to get your EB-3 visa to enter the US.
Costs for EB-3: You can expect the following fees to obtain this visa:
- Form I-140: The cost is $700, paid by your sponsoring employer
- DS-260: You will be responsible for paying $325.
- Biometrics: Fingerprinting costs $85.
- Affidavit of Support: This document shows that you have access to financial resources, and you must pay $120 to process it.
- If you are applying for an EB-3 from within the US, you must submit Form I-485 at your own expense. The fee is $1,140.
What does it cost to apply for an H-1B?
H-1B is a work visa, not a green card. It allows individuals in specialty occupations to work for employers in the US, and nurses are included under the medical and health category. Only nurses with a four-year degree or the equivalent are eligible as specialty occupations. RNs who have specialized skills may also qualify when they have two additional years of education.
Process for Getting an H-1B: As with other nurse’s green card applications, the process starts with action by your sponsoring employer. Some expenses will be paid by the company, and you are responsible for others.
- US officials try to protect American jobs, so your employer will be required to complete a Labor Condition Application. The form must include proof that other employees will not be affected by hiring you, and that you will be paid fairly compared to other nurses in Arizona.
- Once the labor application goes through, your employer files Form I-129 – Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers. The petition provides information on your eligibility for a visa and that you meet the minimum requirements.
- It will be your turn to file proper documents for an H-1B visa after the Form I-129 is approved. If you are outside the US at the time that you apply, you will prepare Form DS-160 – Nonimmigrant Visa Application for consular processing.
Costs for H-1B: The same processing fees described above apply for biometrics and Affidavit of Support, but the costs for this visa include:
- Your employer pays $460 to file Form I-129.
- DS-160 will cost you $185.
- Because H-1B visas are issued on a lottery basis, you must pay $10 to register.
Also, keep in mind that H-1B is a dual-intent visa, which means that you can apply for your green card. There are additional processing fees for LPR status.
Are there any additional expenses for a nurse’s green card in Arizona?
The costs mentioned above are fees paid to the government, whether it is USCIS, the Department of State, or the National Visa Center. When you are considering your budget for a nurse’s green card application, there are additional expenses to consider. Do not overlook costs for:
- Background checks;
- Getting your credentials from the proper licensing authority;
- Obtaining copies of relevant documents;
- Fees for mailing documents that you cannot submit online;
- Medical examinations; and,
- Filing fees for waivers of inadmissibility, if applicable.
Can I get a TN-NAFTA visa?
There is a special class of work visas for nurses from Mexico and Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now termed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The TN nurse’s visa is not a green card, but it is an attractive option for some. The process is simplified for individuals from the member countries who work in NAFTA occupations, including nursing. To qualify:
- You must be a citizen of Mexico or Canada; permanent residents of Mexico and Canada are not eligible.
- You need to have a job offer from a US employer, and self-employed nurses are disqualified.
- You have to satisfy the criteria and meet the qualifications for the nursing position on the list of NAFTA occupations.
The process for nurses from either country is simplified, but they are different. If you seek entry from Canada, you have two options:
- You can work with your sponsoring employer to file Form I-129 before arriving at the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) port of entry. With your TN visa and passport in hand, you can enter the US to work as a nurse.
- You may arrive at the CBP port of entry and apply directly. CBP officials will require your passport, a letter from your prospective employer, and documentation of your credentials.
A TN visa is valid for three years, and it can be extended.
Do I need an Arizona immigration attorney for help?
There are many reasons to retain legal representation for help with a nurse’s green card application, and costs are a crucial factor. To keep your expenses low, you want to avoid mistakes, omissions, and discrepancies that can cause your application to be delayed. You invest in counsel to prevent the error that will only cost you more in the end.
There are additional reasons you need legal help:
- An attorney will guide you in making the right decision for a nurse’s green card application, whether it is an EB-3, H-1B, or TN visa.
- A key component for some green cards is working closely with your sponsoring employer, providing the documents needed on their end.
- Completing the proper forms and submitting the right documents is absolutely critical. An immigration attorney will manage all paperwork to ensure a smooth process.
Discuss Nurses’ Green Cards with an Arizona Immigration Application Lawyer
Though you are not legally required to retain legal counsel to assist with an EB-1, H-1B, or TN application, you can see the benefits of having representation. For details on how Diamondback Legal will support you throughout the process, please contact our offices in Phoenix a (602) 755-3199 or via our website. We can schedule a consultation with an Arizona immigration applications attorney who will explain the steps for getting a nurse’s green card.