Are You a Foreign Nurse? Here’s How to Get Your Green Card

The Shapiro Law Group

Foreign nurses might be eligible for a special type of expedited processing to receive green cards so they can live and work in Illinois as lawful permanent residents. Not all foreign nurses will qualify, however. They must meet the eligibility guidelines and have a job offer from an employer for a position that also meets the guidelines. The employer must be willing to complete the labor certification or PERM process for the nurse and to file a Form I-140, which is an immigration petition for a foreign worker. After the I-140 is approved, the nurse can then apply for an adjustment of status.

H-1B Visas for Foreign Nurses

Foreign nurses may be able to get H-1B visas to work in the U.S. on a temporary basis. To get a green card, the nurse and job must meet certain qualifications. One of the qualifications for an H-1B visa is that the job requires at least a Bachelor’s degree for its minimum entry requirement. However, many states do not require that nurses have Bachelor’s degrees, making it more difficult for nurses to find positions that meet the minimum educational requirement. Nurse practitioners and clinical nurses may have an easier time, however, since these positions normally do require at least a Bachelor’s degree. Nurses will need to check the state’s requirements for nursing positions.

Green Cards for Foreign Nurses

If a foreign nurse is able to find a position in the U.S., the employer may be able to sponsor him or her for a green card. To do this, the employer must be willing to complete the labor certification or PERM process by filing an ETA Form 9089 with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service. If the USCIS approves the Form 9089, the employer can then file the I-140 petition for the nurse. If that is approved, the nurse can apply to adjust his or her status to obtain a green card.

A green card allows a nurse to live and work permanently in the U.S. Nurses who obtain green cards can eventually apply to become naturalized U.S. citizens if they meet the requirements. A green card for nurses offers a way for nurses to immigrate to the U.S. and to gain permanent status while they are working.