H1B for Nurses

H1B Visa Options For Nurses

Most registered nurse occupations do not qualify as a specialty occupation for H1B purposes. However if the position requires specialty skill, it can be considered a specialty occupation. Advance Practice Registered Nurse positions are considered specialty occupation. The worker must qualify for the position.

H1B Specialty Occupation

In 2015, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issued new guidance on whether Nursing qualifies as a specialty occupation for the purposes of an H1B. H1B allows a U.S employer to hire foreign employees to work in a “specialty occupation.” What is a specialty occupation? To qualify as a specialty occupation, the petitioner must show that the position meets at least one of the following criteria: A baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the particular position; The degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions among similar organizations or, in the alternative, an employer may show that its particular position is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree; The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or The nature of the duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree.

Is Registered Nurse a specialty occupation?

In most states, to gain an entry level job as a nurse, you need to be certified as a registered nurse. However, there is no requirement that the person obtain a bachelors degree in nursing before they can be certified. For this reason the basic RN positions do not qualify as a specialty occupation. To qualify as a specialty position, the RN position must require some specialty knowledge. For example an oncology nurse might not be a specialty occupation because it doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree but it might qualify if the petitioner can show that a specialized knowledge is required to perform the duties of an oncology nurse.

Is Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) a specialty occupation?
Yes, according USCIS an APRN is a specialty occupation. Examples of APRN are Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM); Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS); Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP); Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA);Critical Care Registered Nurse; Progressive Care Certified Nurse; Critical Care Registered Nurse e-ICU; Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist; Acute Care Nurse Practitioner; Certified Nurse Manager and Leader; Cardiac Medicine Sub-Specialty Nurse; and Cardiac Surgery Sub-Specialty Nurse. Most if not all of these positions require at least a bachelor’s degree, some even require a masters degree in nursing.


The petitioner must show by preponderance of the evidence that the position is a specialty position and that the foreign worker qualifies to perform the duties of the specialty occupation. To show employee’s qualification, petitioner can include education records for the employee showing that s/he has the requisite degree, training or specialty knowledge for the position. Having a degree in a specialty occupation is not enough to make the actual position a specialty position. The job must be a specialty occupation independent of the employee’s qualifications. Example, if a Certified Nurse Practitioner is employed in a position that does not require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, then the CNP can not obtain a H1B because s/he is not employed in a specialty occupation.


This is meant for informational purpose not as legal advice contact an immigration lawyer for a personalized assessment