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Nonimmigrant Visa Options for Nurses

Many hospitals will soon be facing deficient numbers in their nursing staff due to the December 20, 2009 sunset on the H-1C nonimmigrant visa program for nurses. Because this program was not renewed, hundreds of foreign nurses’ status will be expiring or already have expired. Currently pending before the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee is H.R. 1933, which seeks to renew the visa program for nurses for an additional three years. However, this is yet to become a law.  Resultantly, many foreign nurses will be forced to leave the U.S unless they qualify under another nonimmigrant category, such as TN or H-1B.
A nurse who qualifies under the NAFTA regulations may be able to secure TN status. While this option provides ease of entry, it is limited to only Canadian and Mexican Citizens.  TN status is generally believed to be the most frequently utilized nonimmigrant option among foreign nurses employed in the U.S.  Read more about the TN visa category here.
The other option is the H-1B category. While available to citizens of any country,this category is limited to nurses who hold a baccalaureate or higher degree. Also, this category is subject to the numerical limitations of the H-1B visa cap numbers. For the 2013 fiscal year, the H-1B cap numbers have already been exhausted, so that means only nurses whose employers are cap-exempt may utilize this category.  Read more about cap-exempt organizations by clicking here.
If you have questions regarding eligibility qualifications in either of these categories, contact our office to schedule a consultation.
Page Summary:  Registered Nurses may have a number of options for working in the U.S.