Indian Nurses

To work as a registered nurse in the United States, you must obtain a work visa issued by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).

Here is an overview of the most common work visas for international nurses:

H-1B Visas

H-1B visas are available for professional workers with at least a bachelor's degree
who seek entry into the United States to work in a “specialty occupation.”

As a nurse, you may obtain an H-1B visa if you will work in a supervisory or highly
specialized position and if the facility can demonstrate that it requires all the nurses
it employs in that position to possess a bachelor’s degree.

H-1B visas can be issued in 2-4 weeks using the premium processing service.
They are valid for an initial period of three years and may be renewed for another
three years.

H-1B Visas are not appropriate for most nursing positions in the U.S.

Employment Based Third Preference Immigrant Visas (Green Cards)

In order to qualify for a Green Card, you must be in possession of:

  1. A diploma from a nursing school in your home country
  2. A current nursing license from your home country
  3. A full and unrestricted license to practice professional nursing
    in your state of intended employment or certification that you
    have passed the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing
    Schools (CGFNS) or NCLEX-RN examination

The “Green Card” application normally involves the following steps:
  1. Labor Certification by Employer
  2. Visa Petition by Employer
  3. Visa Application by Nurse
The Department of Labor has determined that the profession of nursing is experiencing
a chronic shortage of workers. Therefore, nurses who have passed the Commission on
Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Examination or who possess an
unrestricted license to practice nursing in the state in which they intend to work are
eligible to seek Schedule A Labor Certification.

The effect of Schedule A classification is that the position is “pre-certified” and no
application needs to be filed with the Department of Labor. If you are in the U.S. on
proper legal status, the visa petition and visa application can be filed directly with the
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). If you are abroad, you can apply for
the Green Card once the visa petition has been approved by CIS.


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