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Are Nurses Eligible for an H1-b Visa?

A frequent question that we receive at ImmigrationLogic.com is whether or not you can obtain an H1b Specialty Occupation visa for employment as a Registered Nurse [RN]. For the past several years, the answer to that has been that it is doubtful due to the fact that the H1b visa is restricted to “specialty occupation workers.”

Typically, registered nurse (RN) positions do not qualify as specialty occupations as they do not normally require a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in nursing (or its equivalent) as the minimum educational requirement. However, if a petitioner can show that a nursing position qualifies as a specialty occupation, an H1b Visa might be available. Certain advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) positions normally require a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in a specialty as the minimum for entry.

Recently the US Citizenship and Immigration Service [USCIS] issued a memo updating the policy decisions regarding the nursing profession and the H1b visa category. The memo lists some of the nursing positions that may qualify as specialty occupations. The memo notes that having a bachelor’s degree is not, by itself, sufficient to qualify for H-1B classification. A critical factor, the memo states, is whether a bachelor’s or higher degree is normally required for the position. A beneficiary’s credentials to perform a particular job are relevant only when the job is found to qualify as a specialty occupation. USCIS noted that it must “follow long-standing legal standards and determine whether the proffered position qualifies as a specialty occupation, and whether a beneficiary is qualified for the position at the time the nonimmigrant visa petition is filed.”

The memo outlines the evidence needed to establish that a position qualifies as a specialty occupation under the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. Among other things, documentation submitted by petitioners often includes the nature of the petitioner’s business; industry practices; a detailed description of the duties to be performed; advanced certification requirements; ANCC “Magnet Recognized” status; clinical experience requirements; training in the specialty requirements; and wage rate relative to others within the occupation.

For more information on the updated issue of Nurses and visa options, please contact us at 800-392-7684 or visit us at www.ImmigrationLogic.com.