H-1C Visa

Nurse Visa
Requirements, Benefits, Limitations and Forms

The H1C visa is a non-immigrant work visa that allows foreign citizens to enter the U.S. to work as a registered nurse temporarily in areas where there is a shortage of health professionals. The shortage areas located in the United States for nursing jobs are determined by the Department of Labor. All applicants of the nursing visa must be licensed.

Benefits of the H-1C Visa
  • The H-1C visa is good for 3 years.
  • H-1C visa holders are not required to maintain a residence in their county of origin.
  • H-1C visa holders are unrestricted to travel in and out of the U.S. for as long as the visa is in effect.
  • Dependents, such as spouse and unmarried children under 21, are also allowed along with the H-1C visa holder. They are eligible for the H-4 visa and are allowed to study in the U.S.
  • H-1C visa holders may apply for a change of status to that of a green card with your employer’s sponsorship.


  • Only 500 H-1C visas are granted annually.
  • This visa cannot be extended.
  • Dependents of the H-1C visa holder are not allowed to work in the U.S.
  • The H-1C visa is only good for 3 years regardless of whether the card holder is in the U.S. or abroad.
  • Once an H-1C visa holders returns to their country of origin, they cannot reapply for a new H-1C visa. They should apply for a change of status to Permanent Residency Schedule A while still employed in the U.S.
  • Employers must be qualified to hire H-1C visa holders.
  • If there is a change in employers, the H-1C visa holder must apply for a new H-1C visa.


  • Applicant must be licensed to practice nursing in the country where they received their nursing education or have received their nursing education in the U.S.
  • Applicants must pass the required test in the United States for a U.S. nursing license.
  • The applicant must meet all qualifications prior to entry into the United States.

Documentation Required

  • Form ETA-9081, Attestation for H-1C Non-immigrant Nurses must be filed by the employer with the Department of Labor.
  • Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker must be filed by the employer first.
  • Once the I-129 petition is approved, the applicant may then apply for the H-1C visa.
  • The applicant must present to the U.S. Consulate in their country of residence: a copy of Form I-797 (Notice of Approval from the employer), passport valid for more than 6 months past the visa limit, Form DS-156 (Non-immigrant Visa Application) and for men ages 16 to 45, Form DS-157, Supplemental Non-immigrant Visa Application.
  • If you are already in the U.S. legally, applications can be made with USCIS.

Given the high stakes of the outcome of your H-1C visa application and the complicated paperwork involved, it is important to understand your rights and your obligations under the law. If you are ready to begin the application process or have questions, then contact us today to schedule a call or a meeting. We are more than happy to call you wherever you are in the world at no cost to you.

Eliana Phelps

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