Non-citizen or permanent resident aliens require a work visa, such as an H-1B, to work in the US medical field. The most common medical professions eligible for the H-1B visa include medical doctors, dentists, pharmacists, chiropractors, physical therapists, and clinical psychologists.
To be approved for H-1B, one must show that the occupation is a specialty occupation that requires education of at least a bachelor’s degree or higher. Most of the medical professions listed above require a professional master’s degree or higher, so applicants that have already obtained a healthcare-related degree will most likely satisfy this requirement.
However, the healthcare professions listed above all require certification and licenses. Healthcare professionals are only allowed to practice their profession after passing exams organized by governing bodies and upon official certification. In order to be approved for an H-1B, healthcare professionals must have already acquired their official license prior to applying for an H-1B. For occupations requiring certain qualifications/certificates/licenses, the USCIS does not approve H-1B applications merely because an applicant holds an education degree in a related major. (There are some exceptions; in some states, such as New York, a medical license is not required to apply for residency or fellowship programs, and applicants may apply for H-1B status after passing Step 3 of the USMLE. However, the H-1B application is only applicable for the residency or fellowship program, and most likely will not be granted for a physician position.)
Recently, the number of medical professionals that received their healthcare-related degrees from abroad and are entering the US is steadily increasing. The rules do not limit acceptable healthcare-related degrees to those that are obtained in the US. Therefore, as long as the state’s governing body accepts foreign degrees when certifying medical professionals, applicants with equivalent foreign healthcare-related degrees may apply for H-1B status for a future in the US.
As a note, nurses or registered nurses (RNs) are not yet acknowledged to be specialty occupations by the USCIS. They are not eligible to apply for H-1B status, as a bachelor’s degree or equivalent is generally not required to become a nurse or RN in the US. However, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are recognized by the USCIS as an H-1B specialty occupation, as APRNs are licensed to provide primary care for patients as medical doctors do, and the position generally requires a master’s degree or higher due to the complex nature of their work.
Healthcare professionals have always been important to society, and their roles are highlighted even more due to the pandemic we live in. To all of the international students dreaming the American Dream as future healthcare professionals, SONG Law Firm wishes you the best of luck in your 2022 H-1B application. A great idea would be preparing your petition by teaming up with the experienced immigration attorneys at SONG Law Firm, who have extensive collective experience in petitioning for a variety of majors. If you have any further questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org