The H-1B visa classification allows a U.S. employer to petition for a temporary worker in a specialty occupation. Most registered nurse (RN) positions do not qualify as a specialty occupation because they do not normally require a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in nursing (or its equivalent) as the minimum for entry into those particular positions. There are some situations, however, where the petitioner may be able to show that a nursing position qualifies as a specialty occupation. For example, certain advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) positions normally require a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in a specific specialty as the minimum for entry into these particular positions.
Advanced practice registered nurse defines a level of nursing practice that utilizes extended and expanded skills, experience and knowledge in assessment, planning, implementation, diagnosis and evaluation of the care required. Positions that require nurses who are certified APRNs will generally be specialty occupations due to the advanced level of education and training required for certification.
However, having a degree is not, by itself, sufficient for the position to qualify for H-1B classification. A critical factor remains whether a baccalaureate or higher degree in a specific specialty (or its equivalent) is normally required for these particular positions. It must be noted that a beneficiary’s credentials to perform a particular job are relevant only when the job is found to qualify as a specialty occupation. USCIS is required to follow long-standing legal standards and determine whether the proffered position qualifies as a specialty occupation, and whether a beneficiary is qualified for the position at the time the nonimmigrant visa petition is filed.
Each state legislature and Board of Nursing decides on the title it will use for APRNs and regulates licensure, scope, and standards of practice. While the burden is on the petitioner to establish eligibility for the benefit sought, generally, the following is a non-exhaustive list of APRN occupations that may satisfy the requirements for a specialty occupation:
- Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM);
- Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS);
- Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP); and
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).
For more information on H-1B visas for nurses, please contact my office for a free initial consultation (513) 791-1673.