If you are a healthcare professional dreaming of working in the United States, you must meet at least one of the country’s immigration pathways. The United States offers a range of opportunities for healthcare professionals like you, this is why you see healthcare professionals from around the world come to the country in pursuit of their careers.
Whether you are a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, therapist, or any other healthcare specialist, there are several opportunities for you in the US, and if you are interested (you should be interested), here are immigration options for healthcare professionals in the United States, you can follow through any of these immigration options and migrate to the US.
Immigration options for healthcare professionals in the United States
When it comes to migrating to the US, healthcare professionals have several options, you can choose from these options depending on what you qualify for the most.
Here are the most common immigration options for healthcare professionals in the United States:
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa in the United States and it allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers including healthcare professionals for specific jobs.
This visa category is very popular in fields such as technology, engineering, science, and mathematics, these fields have a high demand for skilled professionals, and as a healthcare professional, you can also migrate to the US through this program.
All you need is a US-based employer who is willing to employ and sponsor your migration to the US, so to qualify, you’ll need to have at least a bachelor’s degree and a job offer from a U.S. employer.
Once you obtain the H-1B visa, it lasts for up to six years which you can extend it and continue working.
If you are applying for the H-1B, you need to stand out because there is a limit on how many H-1B visas are given out each year. It’s around 65,000 if you studied in a US school, you are at an advantage of getting the H-1B visa.
The O-1 Visa is also a non-immigrant employment-based visa category but unlike the H-1B, the 0-1 Visa is designed for you if you possess extraordinary ability or achievement in your field, as a healthcare professional, you need to be a sort after person in the healthcare space to qualify for this visa type.
If you have exceptional skills and recognition in other fields, such as the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, you can also qualify for this visa.
The O-1 Visa is often considered one of the most prestigious and sought-after visas because of its stringent eligibility criteria.
There are two main categories under the O-1 Visa
- O-1A: If you have extraordinary ability in science, education, business, or athletics, this is the category for you.
- O-1B: This category is for you if you have extraordinary ability in the arts like in film, television, music, theater, and other performing arts.
To qualify for an O-1 Visa, you must demonstrate your extraordinary ability or achievement in your field, this is the only way to qualify for this visa type.
The achievement can be an award, recognition, publications, critical reviews, and other achievements that establish your exceptional status.
Another essential feature of the 0-1 visa is that, unlike some other visa categories, you cannot self-petition for an O-1 Visa. Instead, you must be sponsored by a U.S. employer or agent who will act as the petitioner on your behalf.
The TN Visa is another non-immigrant work visa but unlike others, this visa allows only citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the United States temporarily.
The TN visa was created as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) but it is now governed by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The visa is designed to facilitate the exchange of professional services between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
To be eligible for a TN Visa, you must:
- Be a citizen of Canada or Mexico.
- Have a job offer from a U.S. employer.
- The job must fall into one of the specified professions listed in the USMCA agreement (e.g., engineers, scientists, teachers, accountants, nurses, computer professionals, etc.).
In addition, you must be qualified for the job before receiving an offer letter and the employer must be willing to support your TN Visa application.
National Interest Waiver (NIW)
The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is another great option and it is available to you as a foreigner if you have advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in your respective fields, and seek permanent residency (a green card) in the United States.
With the NIW, you can bypass the Labor Certification process (which is required for employment-based green cards), this is why the NIW is an attractive option if you are a highly skilled individual.
To qualify for the NIW, you need to have either an advanced degree (like a master’s degree, Ph. D.s, or their foreign equivalents.) or be very good in your field.
Several U.S. states have specific immigration programs that they use in recruiting immigrants with specific skills (including healthcare professionals), backgrounds, or investment capital.
For example, the Conrad State 30 Program allows J-1 visa holders to waive the two-year home residency requirement in exchange for working in underserved areas.
in the same way, States facing shortages of healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and therapists, can establish recruitment programs to attract foreign healthcare workers.
If you have close a family member who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder, the person can sponsor you for a family-based green card.
It’s a way for families to reunite and be together in the United States. This immigration option has two categories under it. There is the immediate family category and the family preference category
The immediate family category includes your closest family members (like a spouse, Unmarried children under 21 years of age, and your parents) and it has no numerical limitations, meaning there is no annual cap on the number of visas issued while the family preference category includes more distant family members and has limited visa numbers available each year.
If you are trying to navigate any of these immigration processes as a healthcare professional and you find it complex, you can consult an immigration lawyer who specializes in healthcare professionals’ cases.
They can help you choose the best immigration pathway and ensure that you meet all requirements. Any of these immigration options you qualify for is rewarding for a healthcare professional.
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