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How to Attain a Work Visa as a Foreign Licensed Doctor or Nurse

Posted by Kripa Upadhyay | Jun 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

How to Attain a Work Visa as a Foreign Licensed Doctor or Nurse

Although nurses and doctors who come to work in the United States can achieve permanent residency without obtaining a labor certification, there are a specific set of criteria that must be met by green card holders who work in the medical field. Depending on an individual's unique circumstance, there may be different work visas that are applicable to their situation.

The process of moving forward with working as a nurse or doctor in the United States can be difficult if you are unfamiliar with the legal requirements. Working with an experienced lawyer in Seattle who has intimate knowledge of immigration laws can make it easier for you to obtain the work visa that best suits your case.

How Long Does a Work Visa Last for Immigrant Health Care Workers?

When a medical professional who lives in another country is pursuing a career opportunity in the United States, they are often wondering how long they will have the option to remain in the country after they have accepted the position. The length of time that a work visa is valid has a direct impact on the future of a foreign licensed doctor or nurse's employment, as well as how long their family or dependents will have the opportunity to remain in the country.

Depending on the nature of the work being completed, work visas can sometimes last for as little as six months. However, certain work visas allow individuals to stay in the United States for up to six years. The best way to determine which work visa best suits your skillset and provides you with an opportunity to obtain the desired length of stay is to contact our immigration lawyers that will be able to advise you on how to move forward with your Seattle work visa application.

Qualifications for Foreign Medical Professionals

The U.S. has an ongoing need for more medical workers, which is why many foreign citizens come to find work in the country. Depending on their training, experience, and what positions they hope to pursue while they are employed in the U.S, there are a set of qualifications that are expected of anyone looking to fill a role as a nurse, doctor, or medical professional in the United States. These specifications can include any of the following, depending on the position: 

  • Graduation from an accredited program
  • Licensing as a Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Bachelor's degree or higher
  • Sponsorship from a staffing agency
  • A full-time job offer with a US employer
  • Two or more years of experience as an RN
  • Completed medical degree from a US-based school
  • Passing the TOEFL or IELTS exam to evaluates English skills
  • Completion of the United States Medical Licensing Examination
  • Certification by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)

These qualifications can be challenging to keep up with and it may be overwhelming for many non-citizens to ensure that they adhere to them. Partnering with a dedicated immigration lawyer in Seattle, WA, can help you proceed with the work visa you require and provide you with the assurance that your specifications will be met. 

Available Work Visas for Nurses and Doctors Outside of the U.S.

One of the most essential aspects of pursuing medical work in the United States as a licensed nurse or doctor is selecting which work visa best applies to your situation. There are a variety of different options available for medical professionals who hope to obtain employment in the U.S, but the best way to discover which work visa is right for you is to speak with a immigration lawyer who can answer your questions. 

Some of the work visas that are available for foreign licensed doctors, physicians, surgeons, nurses, and other medical personnel include: 

  • EB-1: Employment-based visa
  • EB-2 and EB-3: Employment-based visa requiring a PERM labor certification
  • H-1B visa: Allows U.S. employers to temporarily hire non-citizens in specialty positions
  • TN visa: NAFTA Professional (TN) Nonimmigrant Status for Canada or Mexico
  • J-1 visa: Non-immigrant visa for those hoping to obtain employment in the medical field
  • J-2 visa: A non-immigrant visa for spouses and dependents of those with a J-1 visa
  • L-1A: A visa for intracompany transferees working as a manager or an executive
  • L-1B: A visa for intracompany transferees with specialized knowledge for a position
  • L-2 visa: A non-immigrant visa for dependent spouses and unmarried children (under 21 years old) of L-1 visa holders
  • O-1 visa: Temporary employment visa for non-citizens with extraordinary ability in the arts, athletics, business, education, or sciences

Which work visa best applies to your situation? It can be challenging to understand the nuanced aspects that go into that decision. Your best choice as a non-citizen hoping to obtain medical work in the United States is to consult a qualified Seattle immigration attorney who can ensure that all of your requirements are met and that your relevant questions are answered.

Experienced Seattle Lawyers Helping Foreign Licensed Medical Professionals

If you are in the process of pursuing a work visa to stay in the United States as a foreign licensed nurse, doctor, surgeon, or any other professional in the medical field, it can be overwhelming to ensure that your ability to work in the U.S. is not compromised. Partnering with a knowledgeable lawyer in Seattle can make your work visa case much easier to manage.

The dedicated team of immigration lawyers at Orbit Law can help you move forward with the process of obtaining your work visa and answer any of your relevant questions. To get started today, call us at (206) 623-3352 or reach out online to schedule your consultation.

About the Author

Kripa Upadhyay

Kripa Upadhyay Founder/Attorney [email protected] EDUCATION Seattle University School of Law, Seattle, WA, Juris Doctor (JD)  May 2007 ADMISSIONS Washington State Bar Association: Admitted May 2008 U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Washington: Admitted 2009 U.S...


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