What Are the Different Types of Work Visas Available for Nurses in the United States?
Still, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rules for nurses’ green cards are very strict, no matter which visa you seek. Besides meeting legal criteria, there are often prerequisites that your potential employer must complete before you can apply. In most cases, you will need a job lined up. Depending on your home nation and whether or not you are present in the US, the process can be daunting. Plus, there are additional steps when you are bringing family members with you.
You could struggle to get Nurse work visas without a legal background, so retaining counsel should be a priority. It is important to first determine which work visa suits your needs, getting you started off on the right foot with applications and documentation. You can count on an Arizona immigration lawyer to advise you on options, but a summary on work visas for nursing professionals is informative.
EB-3 Visas for Nurses in Arizona
EB-3 is a third preference, employment-based visa for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers designated by law. Nurses are in this category, so you may seek this visa to live and work permanently in the US.
Why Seek an EB-3: With this visa, you can bring a spouse and children under 21 years old with you to the US. If you choose and qualify, you can also file for naturalization to become a US citizen after the minimum number of years. In addition, you will be able to continue working in a profession you enjoy, where your services are needed.
Legal Process for EB-3: As a nurse, you benefit from the immigration process by being classified under Schedule A. You avoid the need to obtain Labor Certification, which is handled by your potential employer but can be time-consuming. Nurses can proceed with unofficial labor certification. The steps for an EB-3 visa include:
- Your prospective employer files Form I-140 – Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS, which contains information on your eligibility under EB-3 rules.
- After getting approval on the I-140, you will be required to submit documentation. If you are in the US on a different visa, you complete Form I-485 – Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to USCIS. You will go through consular processing if you are applying from your home country. You will file Form DS-260 – Immigrant Visa Application with consular officials.
- USCIS will conduct an EB-3 visa interview to go over your documents, credentials, and other details.
Qualifying for a Nurse’s Green Card: You will need to show proper licensing or credentials for your nursing position, and the basic requirements are described below. Plus, you will need to prove that you have a job offer, which your prospective employer will supply.
Getting a Work Visa Through H-1B
This type of work visa is in the nonimmigrant category, which is for temporary workers. H-1B is a visa for specialty occupations, and nurses may qualify depending on their education level.
Purpose of H-1B: If you are seeking to apply your skills as a nurse on a temporary basis, this work visa may be the right fit. You can obtain an H-1B for three years initially, and up to six years through an extension. The H-1B visa can be a stepping stone to Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status, since you qualify to apply for a green card.
How to Apply for H-1B: A lottery is USCIS approach to issuing work visas in this category, because there is a cap. However, once selected, you can proceed to the next step with H-1B, including:
- Your employer must obtain Labor Certification, which is a requirement meant to protect US jobs and wages. The point is to show how hiring you is necessary because there are no others who can fit the role.
- Your prospective employer submits Form I-129 – Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers. The USCIS reviews this document and supporting documentation to ensure that you qualify to apply for an H-1B visa.
- You must go through consular processing if you are applying from your home nation. The process involves filing DS-160 – Nonimmigrant Visa Application and is completed through your local consulate or embassy.
- As you reach the end of the process, you will be scheduled for an interview by USCIS. The agent will talk to you about your job, qualifications, employment, and other details to confirm your eligibility.
Who Qualifies for H-1B: A key criteria with this work visa is a bachelor’s or four-year degree, which qualifies you as a specialty occupation in nursing. Registered nurses are usually not eligible unless their credentials include a four-year degree.
TN Visas for Nurses in Canada and Mexico
A Trade NAFTA or TN visa is issued to individuals from member nations who work in designated professions. Nurses are on the NAFTA occupation list, meaning you could qualify for this nonimmigrant visa.
Two Types of TN Work Visas: Initially, you need to determine which process applies based upon your home country.
- If you are a nurse from Canada, you have two options for a TN visa. You could show up at the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) port-of-entry and apply. Officials will need your passport, credentials, and evidence about your employment in the US. However, you can also have your potential employer file Form I-129 in advance. You will have TN status upon entry.
- Nurses from Mexico have one option for a TN visa, and it works through consular processing. You must file a DS-160 nonimmigrant application and complete the steps through your local embassy or consulate. Officials will conduct an interview to go over your application and supporting documents. Once approved, you can present your documents at the CBP port of entry to enter under a TN visa.
Qualifying for a Nurse’s TN Visa: Your education, credentials, and proof of citizenship in Canada or Mexico are the important criteria. You cannot apply for a TN nurse visa if you are a permanent resident of these countries. It is also necessary to have proof that you are a NAFTA occupation as a nurse and have a job lined up when you arrive in the US.
What TN Visa Status Means: You do not gain any immigration status through a TN nurse visa, so you do not qualify to obtain a green card unless you otherwise become eligible. However, your visa lasts for three years and can be renewed indefinitely.
Basic Eligibility for Nurse’s Green Cards in Arizona
There are some fundamental rules you must meet under any US immigration laws, and they mainly deal with misconduct. You may not qualify under any status if you have criminal activity, fraud, or prior violations of USCIS laws in your background.
Another criteria that USCIS reviews when approving nurse visas is education, licensing, and other qualifications. For the work visas mentioned above, you will need:
- Certification from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS); or,
- Credentials from the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN).
When you are looking into visas for advanced nursing degrees like an H-1B, you will need information about your bachelor’s or four-year degree.
Benefits of Retaining Legal Help in Arizona
It might seem easy to fill out some forms for immigration documents for your nurse’s work visa, but you could overlook some of the important initial considerations. You may qualify to work as a nurse in the US under more than one visa. Depending on your goals, you must pursue the option that best suits your situation. EB-3, H-1B, or TN visas deliver different benefits.
Having an Arizona nurse’s visa lawyer to assist with your case is valuable for many reasons:
- It is confusing to figure out what visas make sense for your circumstances.
- The people reviewing your applications and documents have knowledge of the laws, so you must meet this level.
- If you do not already have resources available in Arizona, you need help coordinating employment with a prospective employer.
- You may not realize the multitude of documents you will need to submit along with any petition. Your potential employer will need them to file petitions on your behalf.
- At times, USCIS or other officials will need additional documentation.
- When you are bringing family members with you under a nurse’s visa, you need to be aware of the additional steps.
- There is a necessary collaboration with your employer when filing Form I-140 and Form I-129.
- Depending on your circumstances, you may need help with DS-160, DS-260, or Form I-485.
Because some nurses’ work visas do not grant LPR status, you may need additional help if you intend to go further with your immigration status. You can count on a lawyer to navigate follow-up for a green card or full US citizenship.
Call Now to Speak to an Arizona Immigration Attorney
As you can see, retaining legal help is crucial when assessing the different types of work visas available for nurses in the US. Mistakes could ruin your plans for a nurse’s green card, so trust Diamondback Legal for assistance. You can set up a consultation by calling (602) 755-3199 or visiting us online. After learning more about your circumstances, a Phoenix immigration lawyer will explain the next steps.
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