H-1C Registered Nurses
The H-1C nonimmigrant temporary worker classification is for foreign nurses coming to the United States temporarily to perform services as a registered nurse in a health professional shortage area as determined by the Department of Labor (DOL).
The H1C visa is for nurses who wishes to work in health professional shortage areas. Only 500 H1C visas are granted annually. The visa is valid for three years and cannot be extended. In order to qualify for the H1C visa, the nurse must be licensed or have obtained a nursing degree in the US and pass the NCLEX-RN exam.
The H-1C nonimmigrant category was introduced in 1999 specifically to address the shortage of nurses in the United States. Applying for an H-1C nonimmigrant visa is a multi-step process that involves coordination from DOL and USCIS. Prior to filing a petition with USCIS for an H-1C visa, DOL must provide an attestation to petitioning hospitals certifying that they meet the qualifications as required by regulation. Among the qualifications, hospitals are required to be located in a “health professional shortage area.”
This classification expired as of December 20, 2009.
To qualify for an H-1C visa you must:
- Have a full and unrestricted nursing license in the country where your nursing education was obtained, or have received a nursing education and license in the United States
- Be authorized by the appropriate U.S. State Board of Nursing to practice within the state
- Have passed the examination given by the Commission on Graduates for Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), or have a full and unrestricted license to practice as an Registered Nurse in the state where you will work, or have a full and unrestricted Registered Nurse’s license in any state and have received temporary authorization to practice as an Registered Nurse in the state where you will work. For more information, please see the Commission on Graduates for Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) link to the right
- Have been fully qualified and eligible under the state laws of the state of intended employment to practice as a Registered Nurse immediately upon admission to the United States
The employer must meet edibility criteria in order to file a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, under the H-1C Program. To qualify, the U.S. employer must:
- Be a “subpart D” hospital under the Social Security Act
- Be located in a “Health Professional Shortage Area”
- Have at least 190 acute care beds
- Have a Medicare population of no less than 35%
- Have a Medicaid population of no less than 28%
- Be certified by the Department of Labor
The Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, must be filed by a U.S. employer hospital that has received a notice of acceptance of the attestation for H-1C Nonimmigrant Nurses, from the Department of Labor.
Er Ashima Patel
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