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Chicago Healthcare Immigration Attorneys

The United States healthcare industry depends on foreign-born doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to fill in the gaps caused by labor shortages, and help deliver top-quality care to patients. If your hospital, nursing home, or healthcare agency is struggling to find qualified medical professionals, our Chicago healthcare immigration attorneys can help. 

At Freedom Immigration, we help bring nurses, medical technologists, physicians, researchers, and other healthcare professionals from around the globe to work in medical facilities in the United States. 

A young Asian woman at a hospital wearing a mask and holding her passport. Healthcare immigration attorney.

Contact the healthcare immigration lawyers at Freedom Immigration for a free consultation. Call (224) 588-3536

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Our Immigration Law Firm Helps Foreign Medical Care Providers Obtain Green Cards

Workforce shortages exist at every level of the healthcare industry in the United States. As a result, critical care hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities face significant challenges in meeting the needs of their patients. Freedom Immigration works with hospitals and healthcare networks to build immigration strategies that set them and their workers up for success. Our team will help you explore the green card options that are available, determine whether the medical professional qualifies for Schedule A, which can expedite visa processing, and help you determine the best way to access the healthcare providers you need. Let our attorneys help bring foreign nurses, physicians, physical therapists, and allied healthcare professionals to your facility. 

What Is Schedule A for Medical Professionals?

Schedule A is specifically designed for medical professionals with job classifications that have been designated by the Department of Labor to have an insufficient number of willing, qualified, and available American workers. To hire a worker for a Schedule A occupation, the employer must:

  • Determine eligibility for Schedule A, Group I or Group II
  • Submit a Prevailing Wage Determination
  • Post a Notice of Filing for ten days
  • File the Schedule A Designation Petition

For medical professionals who qualify for Schedule A processing, the PERM Labor Certification can be bypassed. 

Types of Work Visas Available for Foreign Medical Professionals

Various types of work visas are available to foreign medical professionals who wish to provide medical services in the United States. These include the H-1B, TN, E3, and H-1B1 visa categories. Foreign registered nurses and other medical professionals may be sponsored for one of the aforementioned types of temporary work visas, depending on their nationality.

H-1B Visas for Nurses and Other Medical Professionals

The H-1B work visa category for medical professionals is only for positions that require a four-year bachelor’s or higher degree. In most cases, USCIS does not approve H-1B visas for foreign-registered nurses, since the majority of states only require a two-year associate degree to work as an RN. However, foreign-registered nurses can be approved for an H-1B visa if it can be established that the nursing position for which the nurse is sponsored requires a four-year degree. Examples might include an APRN, nurse manager, wound nurse, or other specialized nurse position that requires special training and certification. Many other types of healthcare workers, including occupational therapists, physical therapists, doctors, speech language pathologists, audiologists, and pharmacists may be eligible for H-1B visas as well.

TN Visas for Nursing Professionals Who Are Citizens of Canada and Mexico

The TN work visa category exists for nurses who are citizens of Canada and Mexico. Since it is a non-immigrant visa, the TN visa does not provide a path to becoming a permanent resident or a United States citizen. The initial period of stay is limited to three years. However, you can extend your TN visa indefinitely, as long as you depart from the U.S. before your visa expires, and then reapply from abroad. Alternatively, you can seek an extension of stay without leaving the United States. Your employer may file form I-129 on your behalf. Also, accompanying spouses and children under the age of 21 may only stay in the U.S. as long as you are approved, and they are not permitted to work in the United States. They are, however, permitted to study.

E-3 Work Visas for Medical Professionals Who Are Australian Citizens

From October 1 to September 30 of each US Government fiscal year, there are 10,500 E-3 visas available for citizens of Australia. To be eligible for E-3 classification, you must be coming to the U.S. for the sole purpose of providing services in your specialty occupation. Additionally, you must be a national of Australia, have secured a legitimate offer of employment in your specialty occupation in the U.S., possess a bachelor’s degree or higher in your specialty field, and have the required credentials for your occupation. The initial period of stay for healthcare workers with an E-3 visa is two years. However, you can extend your stay for up to two years at a time, and there is no limit to the number of times you can extend in most cases. 

H-1B1 Work Visas for Citizens of Chile and Singapore

The H-1B1 visa allows hospitals and other medical providers to employ temporary healthcare workers from Chile and Singapore in specialty occupations. There are 1,400 visas available each year to citizens of Chile, and 5,400 for nationals of Singapore for this work-visa category. H-1B1 visas are not designed to help foreign nationals obtain permanent residency or citizenship. The initial period of stay for H-1B1 non-immigrants is one year. Extensions may be granted in one-year increments, and can only be granted twice in most situations. However, medical care providers who wish to stay longer can obtain additional extensions by filing a new Labor Condition Application. To be eligible, the applicant must demonstrate that he or she does not intend to immigrate to the United States. 

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O-1 Visas for Foreign Physicians with Extraordinary Abilities

The O-1 visa is for persons of extraordinary ability. The visa may be a good option for top-level physicians wishing to provide services in their field of expertise in the United States. To qualify for the O-1 visa, the physician must possess knowledge, skill, and experience that excels that of the average person in his or her field. The petitioner may prove “extraordinary ability” by providing evidence of the beneficiary’s receipt of a “major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize,” publications in the medical field, or other qualifying documentation. Only U.S. employers and agents can petition for O-1/O-2 visas. O-1 foreign nationals cannot petition on their own behalf. 

The initial period of stay for an O-1 visa holder is up to three years. Extensions may be granted, but they are generally only provided in one year increments. Spouses and children under the age of 21 who accompany O-1 visa holders are prohibited from working in the United States, but they are allowed to attend school. 

Qualifying for an H-1B Visa as a Foreign Nurse

Registered Nurses and Advanced Practice Nurses who fulfill a specialty position within the healthcare industry may qualify to obtain H-1B visas. The position must always require a bachelor’s degree, however. Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, and Certified Nurse Mid-Wives are examples of types of nurses who may qualify for an H-1B visa. Additionally, to be approved for the H-1B visa, the foreign nurse will be required to establish the following:

  • A four-year U.S. Bachelor’s or higher degree in nursing or its U.S. equivalent.
  • An RN license in the state where the foreign-registered nurse will be employed.
  • A VisaScreen certificate issued by the Commission on Graduate of Foreign Nursing Schools.
  • The sponsoring health-care facility in the United States has had a Labor Condition Attestation (LCA) for H-1B non-immigrants approved by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) for the nursing position that the foreign-registered nurse will fill within the United States

At Freedom Immigration, we help eligible nurses and other medical care workers obtain H-1B visas. Our healthcare immigration lawyers will explain what applying for an H-1B visa entails, and guide you through the immigration process to optimize your chance of success. 

FAQs About Healthcare Professional Immigration in the United States

How long is my Health Care Worker Certification valid? (USCIS)

Your Health Care Worker Certification is valid for five years. You will need to obtain a new certification if you wish to adjust your status, change or extend your status, or seek admission into the United States at the port of entry, if you have not been admitted to the U.S. or adjusted your status within five years of obtaining your certificate. 

How long does it take for healthcare workers to get a green card?

Green cards for healthcare workers are usually processed more quickly than those for other occupations. The green card process for nurses and other healthcare workers generally takes between 12 and 18 months to complete. 

What is the VisaScreen?

VisaScreen is a screening service designed for medical care providers who are seeking entry into the United States through a work visa. Nurses and many other types of healthcare workers are required to complete the screening process prior to obtaining a temporary occupational visa or an immigrant visa. 

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The U.S. immigration system is multifaceted, encompassing a broad range of categories and subcategories for immigrants desiring to reside permanently in the United States.