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H-1B for Nurses

The USCIS's outlook on adjudication of H-1B petitions for nursing positions is going to change radically with new policy memorandum.

Traditionally, nursing profession was not considered a specialty occupation by USCIS
standards and, therefore, nurses were frequently found ineligible for H-1B visas. This is because college degree was not a requirement for most nursing positions. Since the last policy memorandum, published in 2002, more and more nurses have obtained college degrees.

Due to this systemic change in the market and the growing demand for qualified and skilled nursing personnel in the private sector USCIS has issued new policy memorandum on July 11, 2014.

In the new memorandum, USCIS underlines three categories of nursing positions that from now on will be treated as a specialty occupation: nurse managers, nurses in specialized fields, and advanced practice nurses.

According to USCIS and the U.S. Department of Labor, nurses that work in specialized fields such as cardiovascular, pre-operative, addiction, pediatric, oncology, neonatology, etc. also possess specialized knowledge, skills, and appropriate educational level.

In addition, the new memorandum describes nursing specialty positions eligible for H-1B visas, such as Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM), Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP), and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).

It is necessary to keep in mind that education requirement is only a part of the eligibility criteria that is essential for successful H-1B visa applications. Other requirements include appropriate job description, clinical experience, and training. Registered Nurses (RNs) may qualify for H-1B visas if they successfully demonstrate that above-mentioned requirements are met.