Foreign healthcare workers play a pivotal role in the U.S. healthcare system. A basic non-immigrant classification for foreign health care workers is the H-1B temporary worker visa. The H-1B visa for healthcare gives foreign medical professionals or graduates the option of living and working in the United States.

This article gives a brief outline of the H-1B visa for healthcare workers. It also states the requirements involved, who are eligible, the green card for allied healthcare professionals, and the healthcare worker certification.

What Does H-1B Visas and Permanent Residency for Allied Healthcare Professionals Require?

The USCIS has issued particular requirements for nurses who want to enter the United States on the H-1B visa. The H-1B petition will only be approved if the position is classified as a specialty occupation like one requiring the services of critical care nurses, pediatric nurses, or any of such professionals that deal with rehabilitation nursing.

Those who major in specialty health care occupations require a practical and theoretical application of highly specialized knowledge. Nurses applying for the H-1B status must have a bachelor’s degree or higher. In cases where the healthcare profession requires a certification or a license, the license or certification must be presented with the petition to gain approval.

As for green card eligibility, Allied Health Professionals with H-1B work permits are qualified to apply for U.S. permanent resident status. Canadian or Mexican health professionals who wish to continue living in Canada or Mexico while commuting to a job in the U.S. can send an application requesting for a Commuter Green Card.

Who Qualifies for H-1B Visas For Healthcare Workers? – Cap-Subject And Cap Exempt

While most foreign healthcare workers are knowledgeable and specialized, only a few healthcare jobs qualify for an H-1B visa. The three main healthcare jobs that qualify for H-1B status are physical therapists, nurses, and physicians.

Only nurse practitioners, managers, or administrators are generally qualified for an H-1B. Registered nurse (RN) positions normally require only a two-year degree, so they don’t meet the standard educational requirement for an H-1B.

However, if you are an R.N. with really specialized knowledge and accompanying certificates, like an emergency room certificate, you may qualify for the H-1B status.

Physical therapists or occupational therapists have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent as a minimum standard requirement for this work. Foreign applicants must also have their educational credentials verified through FCCPT and gain a U.S. state P.T. license to practice.

Doctors can apply for an H-1B visa to qualify for a residency program, a teaching position, or the ability to work and conduct research at a healthcare facility. Every doctor must pass the examination for medical licensing given by the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) board.

As for the H-1B cap exemption, healthcare workers applying for the visa can be cap-exempt. Despite U.S. reliance on foreign-born healthcare professionals, just about 5% of H-1B petitions were approved to go to healthcare workers and medical-related jobs in a year.

Few hospitals and healthcare systems qualify for an H-1B cap exemption, allowing USCIS to approve H-1B visa petitions for healthcare workers beyond its 85,000 annual cap. This means that applications for such positions can be filed at any time.

The H-1B cap-exempt health care categories include:

  • Non-profit research organizations
  • Federal government research organizations
  • Institutions of higher education (colleges and universities)
  • Non-profit organizations connected to institutions of higher education
  • State and local government research entities

A healthcare organization, such as a hospital, can be cap-exempt if it proves it’s related to an institution of higher education.

H-1B Visas For Healthcare Workers: Basic Requirements Like the National Council Licensure Examination

The requirements for healthcare workers seeking an H-1B status include;

  • A bachelor’s degree qualification or beyond
  • A nursing license is acquired by completing a nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)
  • Specialized responsibilities in the case of R.N. positions

Nurses and Physical Therapists Petition Requirements for the H-1B Visa

Some of the documents that a nurse petitioner, physical therapists, medical technologists, or other employers seeking medical-related jobs should submit as evidence include;

  • The nature of the petitioner’s business
  • An exhaustive description of the duties to be performed within the petitioner’s business operations
  • Advanced certification requirements to extend status
  • ANCC Magnet Recognized status
  • Clinical experience requirements
  • Training requirements
  • Prevailing wage rate relative to others within the workforce

What Positions Qualify for H-1B Work Visas for Allied Health Care Workers?

When applying for an H-1B work visa, an Allied Health Professional’s application is submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A USCIS official then reviews the work visa application and either grants or denies the application.

The USCIS issues an approval notice if the application is given, which functions as the Allied Health Professional’s official H-1B status documentation.

The following Allied Health positions qualify for an H-1B status;

  • Audiologist
  • Medical Technologist
  • Physician Assistant
  • Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Dietitian
  • Nutritionist
  • Psychologist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Cytotechnologist

What Are the Major H-1B Work Visa Requirements for Allied Health Experts?

You must be working in an Allied Health occupation that qualifies as a specialty occupation to get an H-1B visa approval. A specialty occupation has a minimum educational requirement of a four-year Bachelor’s degree.

Also, some healthcare professions require a VisaScreen healthcare worker certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).

With the help of an immigration attorney, you can know the advanced degrees required as well as other requirements that will help you enjoy the regular cap to change status and obtain an H-1B visa.

With that you will be eligible to work with employers who take nurses or individuals who offer services similar to those of nurses.

Health Care Worker Certification

Foreign healthcare workers seeking admission as non-immigrants to perform labor as healthcare workers are not admissible to the United States unless they obtain the required form and fill sensitive information that includes their education level and states whether they are coming under the Master’s cap or not.

Only physicians taking up an employment with a specific employer are, except they present certification from a USCIS-approved credentialing organization stating that they have re-entered.

This employment verifies that they have met the basic requirements for education, training, experience, licensure, and English proficiency in their field, and it is the duty of the Department of Labor to determine that.

The verification for healthcare professionals is not similar to that of unskilled workers where no advanced degree is required for a TN visa.

However, like speech language pathologists, if a registered nurse who is a petitioner fails to meet the eligibility requirements to work with a US employer, the petition will not be granted among the considered cap exempt.

Can Nurses With a Bachelor’s Degree Get An H-1B Visa?

Supervisory nurses, addiction nurses, and nurse managers can get an H-1B visa if they meet the education requirements and certification needed to get this visa status. A foreign nurse who specializes in emergency room nursing may present a certified statement from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) to verify that they;

  • Have a valid and unrestricted license in the state of intended employment
  • Want to be employed in a state that verifies that foreign licenses are authentic
  • Passed the National Council Licensure Examinations Certification and got unrestricted license
  • Graduated from certain English language nursing programs.

Why Not Let Herman Legal Group Help You?

Getting the application process for H-1B visas for healthcare workers can be a challenging task, and to get through, you will need the services of qualified immigration attorneys. Herman Legal Group is known to have the best attorneys in this regard, and we are always here to help you.

To schedule a consultation which can be done on Zoom, Skype, Facetime, or in-office, you can call +1-216-696-6170. If you want to schedule a private consultation with Richard Herman who is an immigration lawyer with 0ver 28 years experience, you can book online.


The H-1B visa application process for healthcare workers requires vital documentation and petitioning. It should be approached with the right care, and applicants should ensure they sufficiently meet all the requirements for labor certification by the appropriate healthcare administration.

Getting qualified immigration attorneys to help you handle H1B visas for registered nurses or anyone in a specialized field who wants to work for an establishment, multinational companies, or non profit entities is the best thing to do. Such immigration attorney will check immigrant petitions.


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