H-1B Visas for Healthcare Workers (Non-Physicians)


The U.S. labor market consistently needs qualified medical professionals and healthcare workers. However, the USCIS classifies and treats healthcare workers differently. Some professions are easier to acquire work visas or even Green Cards than others. Some have to jump through additional hurdles before they can even qualify to apply for a work visa. 

We have already talked about the benefits, procedures, and general requirements of H-1B visas in our prior blog posts. Let us recap and summarize the H-1B rules.  

H-1B General Rules for Healthcare Workers

1. H-1B is a visa category allows U.S. employers to hire foreign nationals to work in specialty occupations;

2. Most Healthcare Professionals qualify as “Specialty Occupations;”

3. To qualify, the foreign national must:

  • acquire appropriate Bachelor’s or Advanced degree education in the specialty,
  • pass the licensure exam, and
  • obtain the license for the profession.

H-1B is limited to a total of six years of stay in the U.S. with the possibility to extend under certain conditions and/or to adjust status to permanent residence. In other words, the H-1B visa is a “dual intent” visa, allowing the beneficiary to have immigrant intent and adjust to Green Card.

Who are the “Healthcare Workers” under these Rules?

The healthcare workers applicable to this general rule are the following professions:

  1.     Nurses
  2.     Physical Therapists
  3.     Occupational Therapists
  4.     Speech/Language Pathologists or Audiologists
  5.     Medical Technologists (Clinical Laboratory Scientists)
  6.     Medical Technicians (Clinical Laboratory Technicians)
  7.     Physician Assistants

What are the common features of these healthcare workers’ H-1B visas? 

Many of the above healthcare professions in the U.S. require (1) completing advanced degrees or post-college education, (2) completing clinical training or residency, and (3) passing the state or national licensure examination.

In addition, besides Labor Condition Applications for H-1B application, these healthcare workers often need to go through visa screen Healthcare Worker Certification issued by the Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) or acquire the Type 1 Certificate by the Federal Credentialing Commission even when these foreign nationals are U.S. educated. 

Last but not least, if you are currently an international student on F-1 visa majoring in these healthcare professions (other than medical scientists or medical technicians), you are not eligible for STEM -Optional Practical Training (OPT) 24-month Extension because healthcare profession is not considered any of the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. In other words, you only have a 12-month post-graduate period to find an employer sponsoring your H-1B visas and one chance to win the H-1B visa lottery if the position is subject to the H-1B Cap. 

About our Immigration Law Firm

Fickey Martinez Law Firm is an Immigration Law Firm with multiple locations throughout Eastern North Carolina. Although we are only physically located in NC, we service clients throughout NC, the United States, and all over the world.

Although It may sound complicated to get an H-1B visa for healthcare workers. It is recommended to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney. You can contact our Law Office to schedule an appointment to talk to one of our immigration lawyers if you want to understand your options and procedures for yourself or your employees. 


Related blog posts of H-1B visas:

From F-1 Student to H-1B Worker: Things to Note

Adding H-1B to your Workforce: What you need to know

H-1B Visa and Status


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