Nursing professionals are in high demand. The demand creates openings for foreign nurses to enter the United States in order to work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.
Immigrating to the U.S. to work as a nurse requires that you have a work visa. A few different routes are available to you when obtaining a work visa, so be sure that you consult with an attorney to determine which path is right for you.
If you are a legal resident of Canada or Mexico, you may be able to obtain a TN visa to work in the United States. A TN visa is part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). TN visas apply to workers engaged in business at a professional level.
Being a professional is defined by NAFTA as working in a position that requires at least a Bachelor's degree and/or specialized credentials. Nurses must qualify for service by passing a licensing examination, which classifies them as professionals according to NAFTA.
Immigrants coming from Canada or Mexico will usually find that a TN visa is the easiest to obtain.
Another type of work visa that can be applied for if you are seeking employment as a nurse in the United States is an H-1B visa. Any immigrant who has achieved the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree or higher in the nursing field can apply for an H-1B visa.
These visas are designed to allow nurses who want to work in a specialty occupation (like a managerial nurse or nurse practitioner) to obtain legal employment. You will need to have a job offer prior to seeking an H-1B visa, since only a qualified U.S. employer can file a petition for this visa on an immigrant's behalf.
Officially referred to as an I-140, green cards are special visas authorizing alien workers to become employed in the United States. Once the I-140 form filed by an employer in the U.S. has been approved, you can complete an interview at your country's U.S. consulate office.
You will be asked to provide information that supports your petition. This information can include financial records, educational records, and a criminal background check. If your interview is successful, you will be granted permanent residence status under the EB-3 category, which applies specifically to nurses.
The process of immigrating to the United States to work as a nurse can be daunting. The help of an attorney who specializes in immigration law can ensure that you are prepared to obtain the right work visa for your unique situation.