Immigration Issues/F-1 nursing student


Hi, Eileen:
I'm a nursing student here in the US expexcting to graduate this year in May,
I know that there is a way nurses can get a green card due to the current nursing shortage in US,
do you know how do I start the process? Do I need to have a job? I'm going to be on OPT for a year.
Do you handle this kind of cases?
thank you

Eileen Chun-Fruto, Los Angeles immigration attorney writes:

Dear Zeera,

Congratulations on graduating soon.

Yes, you do need a job in order to start your greencard process.  

The way that nurses are able to get greencards is the normal way that everyone else gets a greencard if they are sponsored through their employer.  It is through the "labor certification" process.  Your employer would need to show that they tried to hire an American worker but failed because of the shortage of nurses in the US.  Then they would "offer" the job to you and while you are OPT, you could work for them.

However, you will run into a problem when your OPT expires because the greencard process can take 5 years or more.  During this time, USCIS does not give you work authorization because your greencard case is pending.  You would have to apply for some other type of work status, such as an H-1B.  (But becareful because H-1B visas are only allowed for those workers who have a 4 year degree, like a BSN and will work in some capacity that REQUIRES a 4 year degree, like a CCU nurse or trauma nurse, but not RN).

Some nurses are able to get a separate visa called the H-1C visa.  But these are in limited quantity and are only available for some hospitals that serve very disadvantaged areas and meet some other stringent requirements.

Many hospitals are lobbying Congress to bring back a program that once expedited nurse greencard cases.  But until this happens, you are in somewhat of a dilemma.

I do handle nurse cases and if you like, you can call me for more information.

Eileen Chun-Fruto  

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Eileen Chun-Fruto


I can answer any employment-based immigration question including questions about PERM labor certifications, H-1B skilled workers, L-1A multinational managers or executives and L-1B specialized knowledge, R-1 and I-360 religious workers, investor cases (E Treaty Trader and E Treaty Investors and EB-5 "million dollar investors") and O-1 extraordinary ability cases. I can also answer any questions regarding family-based immigration, such as adoptions, waiver cases, consular processing (using foreign consulates to enter as an immigrant), marriage and fiance/fiancee cases, 245(i) cases, VAWA (Violence Against Women's Act), battered spouses, and Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).


I have over 12 years of experience in business and family immigration. I was a former law clerk for the Executive Officer for Immigration Review (the immigration courts) in San Francisco and I current serve as the California Service Center's (CSC) liaison on behalf of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. I represent individuals and corporations alike, ranging from professionals in the high tech, science, liberal arts fields. I have a special niche in working with start-up companies and individuals with more complex immigration issues.

Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Executive Committee on Immigration

J.D., University of California at Davis - King Hall School of Law (1997) B.A., University of California at Irvine, cum laude (1994)

Awards and Honors
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008: Selected to Southern California Rising Star - Super Lawyers List (an honor shared by no more than 2.5% of the attorneys practicing in the entire Southern California region) Faculty/Moderator on various AILA and LACBA continuing legal education seminars in the following topics: H-1B, O-1, religious workers, business immigration visas

Past/Present Clients
My typical business clients can range from a start-up company, established engineering and software research and development companies, manufacturing, trade and distribution companies, public and private schools, and religious organizations. Family clients include spouses, parent-child petitions, siblings, naturalization, and most especially, representation of abandoned and neglected children viewed as orphans under the immigration law. I have represented many clients who relied on special provisions of the immigration law to preserve or "grandfather" benefits to family members in limited (and complicated) circumstances, to avoid re-application fees and longer waiting times.

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