Many people travel to the US after receiving a job offer. These people must obtain H-type permission before entering. This visa is a kind of temporary work permit for professionals and non-professionals and is divided into several general categories, H1B1, H1B, H1C, H2A, H2B, H3, and H4. The H1C visa is devoted to foreign nurses who intend to work in US hospitals. In this article, we describe the necessary conditions to obtain this type of work visa.

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US H1C Visa

What is the H1C visa?

H1C is a type of nonimmigrant visa defined for foreign nurses entering the US. The permission was created in 1999 to compensate for the shortage of nurses in the country. Annually, only 500 H1C visas are issued in the United States. Depending on the population of each state, numerical restrictions on visa issuance may be considered.

Annually, 50 H1C visas are issued to states with a population of more than 9 million. This number is 25 for states with a population of about 9 million or less.

Applying for this visa is a multi-step process that depends on coordination between the Department of Labor and the USCIS. Department Of Labor must present an attestation to petitioning hospitals, confirming that they meet the qualifications as required by regulation.

What are the H1C visa requirements?

  • The applicant must have a full and unlimited nursing license from a country where he obtained the education or received a nursing education and license in the US.
  • The applicant must be approved by the US State Board of Nursing to practice.
  • The applicant must pass the examination given by the CGFNS (Commission on Graduates for Foreign Nursing Schools)
  • The applicant has an unrestricted and full license to practice as a Registered Nurse in the state where he will work.
  • The applicant must have an unrestricted and full permit in any state and have permission to practice as a nurse in the state where he will work.
  • The applicant must be eligible under the state employment laws to be able to work as an official nurse after admission.

To find out more, please visit the official website of the Commission on Graduates for Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).

Hospitals that can hire nurses with H1C visas should have the following features:

  • According to the Social Security Act, the hospital must be subpart D.
  • The hospital should be located in an area where there is a lack of professional health (Health Professional Shortage Area).
  • There should be at least 190 acute care beds.
  • Have a Medicare population of less than 35% and a Medicaid population of no less than 28%
  • The necessary documents must be issued by the Department of Labor.

How to apply for the H1C visa?

Employer hospital that has received a notification of acceptance of the attestation for H-1C non-immigrant nurses from the DOL must file Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker). Form I-129 must have the following documents:

  • Copy of acceptance of the Department of Labor on Form ETA-9081 (Attestation for H-1C Nonimmigrant Nurses)
  • Evidence indicating you are approved by the State Board of Nursing as a registered nurse, you can work in the United States as a nurse, and you are or will be practicing at a facility that provides health care services.
  • Statement from the facility explaining the restrictions that the laws of the state of intended employment place on your services
  • Evidence that you have passed the exam provided by the CGFNS, or have obtained a permanent license to act as a Registered Nurse in the state.
  • Evidence that you are fully eligible and will act as a registered nurse immediately after admission to the United States.

If Form I-129 is accepted, USCIS will forward an approval notification to the employer (Form I-797, Notice of Action), who will send it to the applicant for an H1C visa. This notification might be presented to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a US embassy. Before applying for the visa, please consult with the US embassy, where you will apply for their particular application necessities.

The documents you must provide to the embassy are:

  • It is also necessary to provide a valid passport as well as previously issued passports.
  • Form I-797
  • Form DS-156 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application) must be completed, signed, and provided.
  • The validity of your passport must be at least six months longer than the probable time of your stay in the US.
  • Male applicants who are between the ages of 16 and 45 must submit a Form DS-157 irrespective of where they apply (Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application).
  • A photo

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How long can the H1C visa holder stay in the US?

The visa holders can work in the United States for up to three years. After this period, he is allowed to renew the visa; however, the extension may not be approved for more than the initial three years.

Can the visa holder change his/her employer?

This visa is for people who work in special hospitals. If a new employer is found, a new Form I-129 petition must be submitted. After confirming the request, the person can work for the new employer.

Can the visa holder bring family members to the US?

Spouse and child under 21 years of age of H1C visa holders can come to the US by getting an H4 visa. The H4 visa is dedicated to dependents of H principal aliens.  H4 visa holders cannot work in the United States.

H1C visa for nurses

As explained, nurses can apply for an H1C visa. The nurse needs to be licensed and achieve a “nursing degree in the US and pass the NCLEX-RN exam”. The applicants can also apply directly for the nurse green card as there is a quota on the annual issuance of an H1C visa.

The United States Department of Labor considers the following hospitals eligible, so the applicants can participate in the H1C program:

  1. Beaumont Regional Medical Center, Beaumont, Texas
  2. Beverly Hospital, Montebello, California
  3. Doctors Medical Center, Modesto, California
  4. Elizabeth General Medical Center, Elizabeth, New Jersey
  5. Fairview Park Hospital, Dublin, Georgia
  6. Lutheran Medical Center, St. Louis, Missouri
  7. McAllen Medical Center, McAllen, Texas
  8. Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland
  9. Mercy Regional Medical Center, Laredo, Texas
  10. Peninsula Hospital Medical Center, Far Rockaway, New York
  11. Southeastern Regional Medical Center, Lumberton, North Carolina
  12. Southwest General Hospital, San Antonio, Texas
  13. St. Bernard Hospital, Chicago, Illinois
  14. Valley Baptist Medical Center, Harlingen, Texas

H1C visa to green card

H1C visa might lead to a green card. First, the US employer you are working for must offer you a full-time, permanent nurse position. It could be with one of the hospitals introduced above. Then, the employer begins a process called “labor certification” on behalf of the nurse. It also gets called PERM.

A nurse job title is classified as a “Schedule A” position. These are the job titles that US federal government has classified as more workers are required. So the employer is not needed to advertise the position inside the country.

It’s due to the fact that the government already knows that there is a shortage of skilled nurses in the country, and there is no one to fill the position.

The employer needs to complete ETA Form 9089 and submit it along with the I-140 petition to the ISCIS. When the ISCIS approves the I-140 and the visa number is available or the nurse’s priority date is current, the nurse is qualified to apply for a US green card by filing the I-485 with USCIS.

The PERM is not required for the Schedule A positions. However, the Posting-Notice requirement is required.

Let’s sum up …

In this article, we have reviewed the requirements and the application process for the H1C visa.  On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other US visas as well as ways to immigrate to other countries. In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences in comments is a great help for applicants.


Only 500 visas are issued per year.

You may work as a nurse for up to 3 years.

If you are a Registered Nurse in your home country, you can apply to move to the US.

a bachelor’s degree is the least educational requirement to qualify.

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  1. Sara Ganji says:

    I am Sara, 32 years old and from Iran. I have 8 years of nursing experience in the open heart ICU.
    I sent my resume to the Danish Health Organization last year and they accepted me as a nurse. I now live in Denmark.
    I have a question .
    Can I apply for a nursing job in Canada without RN and IELTS?

    thank you

    • Visalibrary team says:

      Hello there. Thanks for leaving a comment on our website. You can always apply for a job wherever you want; however, to obtain a work visa in Canada you should meet the requirements which include a specific level of English. You can learn more here.

      • Shanti says:

        Hi I am Shanti Shrestha
        I am 29 yrs now from Nepal. I am doing as a nurse(ANM) job since 7 yrs in government sector like health post and PHCC.2 yrs experienced in rural area of Nepal. Can I apply in H1C visa?? I want to come in my dream country US and want to do job in nurses too ….please would u like to help me ….if u can I am so glad with u and urs team
        What should I do?

        • Visa Library says:

          Dear Shanti
          To apply for an H1C visa, you need to fulfill the requirements and receive the certificates required by the USCIS. Visa Library only provides information to applicants and there is no visa service at the moment.
          We wish you a successful application and hope the best in your way.

        • Zahra says:

          Hi, i have studied laboratory science and worked in hospital for 2 years can i use h1c visa , or it’s just for nurses

          • Visa Library says:

            Dear Zahra
            Thank you for your question and comment
            Among the eligibility principles of an H1C visa is to have a nursing license from the country you reside in and also a full license to practice as a Registered Nurse. If you have these two essential requirements and other ones, you can apply for the visa. Otherwise, it is unlikely.
            Good luck

  2. Annie says:


    My sister did pass the NCLEX -RN exam and going to write the IELTS exam in the coming months. She didn’t do the CGFNS and is this possible to obtain the H1C visa. She is planning to do the credentials evaluation for her Bachelor in Nursing degree from India. Is this sufficient to meet the visa requirements.

    I really appreciate it for any guidance in this situation