What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Obtaining a Nurse’s Green Card?
Eligibility is a combination of multiple factors, starting with general qualifications for immigration to the US. The criteria get more complex for Nurse’s green card, in which you need to supply information on education and licensing. In most cases, the process will require filings and action from your proposed employer before you can get started on your end. Usually, applicants will also need to have a job offer, in writing.
Legal counsel is crucial when seeking to work in the US as a nurse, and eligibility is just one aspect of the immigration process. You will also need assistance with forms, supporting evidence, and coordinating family members to join you. An Arizona immigration lawyer will help with the essential tasks, ensuring that mistakes do not delay your plans. It is also useful to review some background on the eligibility requirements for obtaining a nurse’s green card.
Basic Criteria for a Nurse’s Green Card in Arizona
The specific requirements for your Nurse’s green card will depend on the visa you seek, but all applicants must meet basic immigration laws. USCIS has established regulations on criminal activity, violations of immigration laws, and prior removals. For most applications for a nurse’s green card or visa, you will need to show that you have a pre-arrangement job, either full-time or part-time. In addition:
- You must be certified by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).
- If not certified, you could meet the credentials through test scores on the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN).
- For some nurses’ work visas, you will need to prove that you have an advanced degree in nursing.
- Your nation of citizenship matters, since people from certain countries can receive preferential treatment in processing a visa application.
EB-3 Visas for Nurses in Arizona
For those who seek an employment-based visa to live and work permanently in the US, the EB-3 may be a suitable option for nurses. If you qualify and go through the necessary steps, you can get your nurse’s green card.
Key Criteria for EB-3: In addition to the immigration requirements, your licensing and credentials are an important part of qualifying for a visa. If you have certification from CGFNS, a license from the state where you intend to practice nursing or a passing score on the NCLEX-RN, you will typically qualify. EB-3 is a visa that requires you to have a job offer in advance.
How to Obtain an EB-3 Nurse’s Green Card: One tedious part of the process involves getting official Labor Certification regarding the need for nurses, but USCIS provides exceptions for some professions. Nursing appears on Schedule A, which avoids Labor Certification and speeds up the process. Other steps include:
- Your prospective employer must file Form I-140 – Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS, which provides information on your eligibility for EB-3 and certifications.
- Once Form I-140 is approved, you can submit your immigration application according to where you are currently living. For those lawfully in the US, it is necessary to use Form I-485 – Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. If you are in your home nation, you go through consular processing. You will file Form DS-260 – Immigrant Visa Application.
- You must attend an EB-3 green card interview, where the agent will go over your application, professional qualifications, and other details.
A nurse holding this type of work visa can bring a spouse and children under 21 years old to the US. You can also apply for US citizenship after maintaining your immigration status for the relevant number of years.
Eligibility for an H-1B Nurse Visa
This type of work visa is temporary and intended for nonimmigrant workers in specialty occupations. If you are a nurse with an advanced degree, you may qualify for an H-1B nurse visa.
Qualifying for H-1B: The same requirements apply in terms of certification by CGFNS or test scores on the NCLEX-RN exam. The key with this visa is that specialty occupations refer to positions requiring a bachelor’s degree, usually four years. Registered nurses will not be eligible unless they are in a specialty practice area that requires a four-year degree.
Important Points to Know: The H-1B is issued for three years, and you can extend it for up to six years. Your employer will need to submit new forms to gain approval. Once you have the H-1B visa, you can apply for a green card if you wish. In addition, you can bring a spouse and children under 21 to the US with this visa.
How to Apply for a Nurse H-1B Visa: An essential first step is going through a lottery established by USCIS, which is held because of the cap on H-1B visas. You can register online and will be able to move forward once you are selected through the lottery. The next steps include:
- Labor Certification: Your employer must obtain a Labor Certification regarding the impact on US jobs and wages as a result of hiring you.
- Form I-129 – Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: After receiving Labor Certification, your potential employer files this form to show that you are eligible for an H-1B visa.
- Consular Processing: If you are not in the US, you must submit DS-160 – Nonimmigrant Visa Application to complete the H-1B process.
- H-1B Visa Interview: You must sit for an interview, where you will discuss yourself, your job, employment, and other topics with officials.
TN Visa for Canada and Mexico
A TN visa refers to a class of work-based visas established under NAFTA, and individuals in member nations may qualify if they work in a NAFTA occupation. Nurses are listed under the medical category.
TN Nurse Visa Eligibility: You must be a citizen of Canada or Mexico to qualify for the TN work visa, so permanent residents of these nations will not be approved. There are also eligibility rules related to your CGFNS, NCLEX-RN scores, and education. Another important criteria is that you must have proof of employment once you arrive, which your potential employer can provide.
Follow the Right Process: The steps are different depending on your home nation, so make sure you know the basics.
- If you are from Mexico, you obtain your TN visa through consular processing. You will file the DS-160 application and go for an interview at your local consulate or embassy. Once approved, you can enter the US on a TN visa.
- Canadian nurses have two options, and you could choose to apply at the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) port-of-entry. You must present your passport, proof of employment, and your credentials as a nurse. If you would like to make advance arrangements, your employer can file Form I-129 to get your TN visa.
Note that you must continue to work for the same employer that provided the proof of employment for your TN application. You cannot switch to a new nursing position as you can with other nurse visas.
How a TN Nurse Visa Works for You: A few of the benefits of getting a TN visa include:
- You can bring your spouse and children under age 21 with you.
- A TN work visa lasts three years, but you can renew it indefinitely as long as you continue to qualify.
- Your TN work visa does not give any status for a green card. However, you can still apply if you become eligible, such as through marriage to a US citizen.
Why Retain Legal Help for Nurse’s Green Card
When you want a Nurse’s Green Card to work as a nurse and help people in the US, you might not realize the options available to you. If you qualify for more than one, you need to understand what could make one type of work visa more beneficial to your situation. Getting legal insight and advice are convincing reasons to hire an Arizona immigration attorney for assistance.
After making an informed decision about what nurse’s work visa is a good fit for you, your lawyer can help with next steps and tasks.
- You will need to collect and organize all documents for your employer’s petitions and the forms you need to file.
- Communications and collaboration with your prospective employer are necessary to ensure a smooth process. Your attorney can manage and coordinate to complete all requirements for Forms I-140 and I-129.
- When the time comes to prepare your paperwork, a lawyer assists with Form I-485, DS-160, or DS-260.
- There will be an interview for a nurse’s visa, and you could benefit from some coaching to move your application forward.
- If you seek a green card with a nonimmigrant work visa once you become eligible, a lawyer will help with the process.
Discuss Nurse’s Green Card with an Arizona Immigration Attorney
This overview of eligibility requirements for obtaining a nurse’s green card is useful, but there are many additional details that could affect the process. For more information on visas for nurses, please contact Diamondback Legal. You can call (602) 755-3199 or go online to set up a consultation with a Phoenix immigration lawyer.
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