Nursing Jobs for Foreigners in USA: Visa Sponsorship Opportunities 2024

The United States healthcare sector is currently grappling with a critical workforce shortage, exacerbated by the pandemic. Forecasts suggest a daunting shortfall, with up to 124,000 physicians and nearly 900,000 registered nurses anticipated to exit the profession by 2027, propelling the total nurse deficit to reach 1.1 million by the end of 2023. In response, a significant Nurse Hiring Initiative set for 2024-2025 is targeting the recruitment of 25,000 international nurses through a comprehensive Visa Sponsorship Program, aiming to bridge the gap in nursing jobs for foreigners in the USA.

This surge in hiring presents a unique and timely opportunity for foreign nurses looking to work in the US. The initiative not only addresses the dire nursing shortage but also opens doors for nurses globally to bring their expertise to the nursing profession in America. By exploring the qualifications, application process, and benefits of visa sponsorship, international nurses can navigate their path to joining the nursing workforce in the USA, enhancing the quality and reach of healthcare services while securing a place in the nursing jobs landscape in the USA.

Understanding Visa Sponsorship for Nurses

The pathway to nursing jobs for foreigners in the USA is paved with complex immigration processes, which include high fees, long wait times, and backlogs, making the workforce pipeline for foreign nurses fragile. Despite these challenges, the demand for international nurses remains high due to a severe shortage in the U.S. healthcare system. To navigate this landscape, here are key points to understand:

  • Visa Sponsorship Costs and Timeframes:
    • Visa sponsorship typically incurs a cost of about $4,000, varying with the nurse visa type and individual needs.
    • Processing a visa application ranges from three to six months, emphasizing the need for long-term planning.
  • Top States and Source Countries:
    • The top states employing foreign-educated healthcare workers include Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, Montana, and Texas.
    • The Philippines stands as the leading source country, with 60.8% of healthcare employment applications directed towards the U.S.
  • Pathway to Employment:
    • Foreign-trained nurses must pass the NCLEX RN exam and possess at least 2 years of current nursing experience.
    • Agencies like WorldWide HealthStaff Solutions and Conexus MedStaff play pivotal roles in job placement and visa sponsorship, offering services such as direct hire, permanent placement, and comprehensive immigration process guidance without charging staffing fees.

Understanding these aspects is crucial for foreign nurses aspiring to work in the USA, as it lays the groundwork for a successful transition into the American healthcare system.

Qualifications and Requirements for Visa Sponsorship

To embark on the journey towards securing nursing jobs for foreigners in the USA with visa sponsorship, understanding the qualifications and requirements is pivotal. These prerequisites not only ensure eligibility but also prepare candidates for a successful application. Here’s a breakdown of the essential qualifications and requirements:

  • Initial Eligibility Criteria:
    • CGFNS Certificate, US State Registered Nurse License, NCLEX Pass Report, or NCLEX Pass Result Letter.
    • For immigrant visa applicants: CGFNS Visa Screen Certificate, including a passing score in NCLEX or CGFNS qualifying examination, credential evaluation by CGFNS, and proficiency in English language tests.
  • Visa-Specific Requirements:
    • H-1B Visa:
      • Bachelor’s degree in nursing or higher.
      • Nursing license after completing a nursing program and passing the NCLEX.
      • Occupation requiring qualifications typical of the nursing industry.
    • EB-3 Visa:
      • Two years of education from an accredited institution.
      • License to work in the country of education and the state of employment in the USA.
      • Minimum of two years of full-time professional nursing experience.
  • Professional Credentials and Experience:
    • Foreign-trained nurses must align their certifications with American standards.
    • A minimum of 2 years of current experience as a nurse.
    • Obtain a Registered Nurse Immigrant Visa (Green Card) or H-1B visa.
    • Active RN or LPN license and compliance with state-specific licensure requirements.

The Benefits of Working as a Sponsored Nurse in the USA

The journey to becoming a sponsored nurse in the USA encompasses numerous advantages beyond the opportunity to work in a modern healthcare environment. These benefits contribute significantly to both professional growth and personal satisfaction. Here’s a closer look at the multifaceted advantages:

  • Competitive Compensation and Comprehensive Benefits:
    • Salary: Nurses enjoy a competitive mean annual wage of $89,010, with potential earnings ranging from $39 to $50 per hour depending on experience and qualifications.
    • Benefits: A robust benefits package often includes healthcare, dental, and vision insurance, paid sick leave, holiday leave, retirement plans like 401k, life insurance, and even tuition reimbursement for further education.
  • Professional Development and Support:
    • Career Growth: Opportunities to specialize in areas like cardiovascular surgery, mental health, or dialysis.
    • Support Systems: Programs such as Conexus MedStaff’s U.S. Ready provide linguistic and cultural support, ensuring a smooth transition. Additionally, NCLEX sponsorship covers licensure and preparation costs.
  • Quality of Life Enhancements:
    • Work-Life Balance: Nurses benefit from paid time off, including leaves and holidays, creating a healthier work-life balance.
    • Community Integration: Being assigned to one facility allows nurses to establish roots and integrate into their new communities, fostering a sense of belonging and stability.

Navigating the Application Process for Visa Sponsorship

Navigating the application process for visa sponsorship as a nurse seeking to work in the USA involves a series of steps, each crucial for a successful transition. Below is a streamlined approach to understanding this process:

  • Eligibility Check and Application Submission:
    • Confirm eligibility for green card processing if a petition was filed before June 2022.
    • Be aware that no new EB-3 visa applications for foreign nurses will be accepted due to administrative backlog, with a cut-off date of June 1, 2022, for visa interview eligibility.
  • Engagement with Staffing Agencies:
    • Shearwater Health’s Nurse Compass Program: Offers employment while navigating the immigration process, with roles in bedside and CPO to ensure readiness for the U.S. healthcare system.
    • WorldWide HealthStaff Solutions: Assists with the immigration process, job placement, and relocation without charging staffing fees, focusing on direct hire and permanent placements.
    • Westways Staffing: Provides a sponsorship program for foreign nurses, handling the I-140 Immigrant Petition and guiding through the visa application process with the National Visa Center (NVC).
  • Application Process Steps:
    • Apply through the official website of the chosen program or staffing agency.
    • Provide detailed information on education, experience, certifications, and English proficiency.
    • Undergo an interview process, and if selected, be matched with sponsoring employers who will file work visa petitions on behalf of the nurses.

This structured approach aims to demystify the complex visa sponsorship journey, providing a clear path for foreign nurses aspiring to practice in the U.S.

Challenges and Considerations

The landscape of nursing jobs for foreigners in the USA is fraught with challenges and considerations that both prospective nurses and healthcare institutions must navigate. The dynamic between the demand for foreign-born Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and the regulatory environment presents a complex scenario.

  • Workforce Dynamics: Between 2000 and 2021, the share of foreign-born CNAs increased in most states, highlighting a dependency on international nurses to fill gaps left by native-born CNAs. This reliance became more pronounced during the pandemic, with a 39% decrease in native-born CNAs working in nursing homes contrasted with an increase from 16.5% to 19.1% in foreign-born CNAs. The variance in these figures across states, from less than 1% in West Virginia to over 70% in Hawaii, underscores the uneven distribution and reliance on foreign nursing staff.
  • Retention and Recruitment Hurdles: The challenges extend beyond just numbers. The story of Rachel, a nurse from the Philippines facing understaffing and high patient loads in Florida, illustrates the personal and professional hurdles foreign nurses encounter. Furthermore, the U.S. State Department’s limitations on green card access and the pause in accepting EB-3 visa applications add layers of complexity to recruitment efforts. Hospitals and healthcare facilities must invest in fostering a supportive community and culture to retain foreign nursing staff, amidst fears that international nurses may seek opportunities elsewhere due to visa processing delays.
  • Strategic Actions for Aspiring Nurses: For foreign nurses aiming to work in the US, the journey involves:
    • Researching healthcare facilities and reaching out to their HR or recruitment departments.
    • Engaging with specialized recruitment agencies.
    • Exploring government programs like the Conrad 30 Waiver Program.
    • Staying updated on immigration laws and seeking guidance from immigration attorneys or consultants.

This multi-faceted approach underscores the importance of persistence and informed decision-making in overcoming the challenges inherent in securing nursing jobs for foreigners in the USA.

Success Stories and Testimonials

  • Abbie from Vietnam: Transitioned from an F1 Visa to a charge nurse at a Level III Trauma Center in Tennessee, showcasing the career progression opportunities for foreign nurses in the USA.
  • Lovely Subeldia from the Philippines: Her exceptional dedication to nursing earned her The DAISY® Award for Extraordinary Nurses, highlighting the recognition foreign nurses can achieve in the USA.
  • Kristoffer, also from the Philippines: Obtained a Green Card in December 2021, exemplifying the successful navigation of the U.S. immigration system for nurses.
  • Jessica from Taiwan: Aiming to become a CRNA while working as an OR Nurse, illustrating the diverse career paths available in the U.S. nursing sector.
  • Michael from Nigeria: Excelling as a critical care nurse in an Open-Heart ICU, representing the high demand for specialised nursing skills in the USA.
  • Mia from Morocco: Obtained a Green Card with assistance from Conexus, demonstrating the supportive networks available for foreign nurses.
  • Charlotte: Inspired by a friend’s success with Conexus, she pursued nursing in the USA, emphasizing the importance of community and networking.
  • Oluchi Ayichi from Nigeria: Transitioned from a patient to a nurse practitioner, showcasing the inspiring journeys of foreign nurses in the USA.
  • Yizhu Tao from China: Seeking H-1B visa sponsorship, highlighting the ongoing search for opportunities among foreign-educated nurses.
  • Kwadwo Amoako from Ghana: Overcame economic and political instability to work as a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist, showing the resilience and contribution of foreign nurses to the U.S. healthcare system.
  • Artur Caridha from Albania: Escaped civil disorder to become an assistant professor in the USA, illustrating foreign nurses’ diverse backgrounds and achievements.


The pathway to nursing jobs for foreigners in the USA through visa sponsorship is undeniably fraught with complexities, yet it offers a beacon of hope for healthcare professionals seeking opportunities in a land facing a critical nursing shortage. This article has navigated through the essential aspects of this journey, from understanding visa sponsorship intricacies and meeting eligibility requirements to embarking on the application process and overcoming potential challenges. It underlines the significance of international nurses in the American healthcare system, showcasing their potential to alleviate the pressing workforce deficit while opening avenues for career growth and personal fulfilment in the process.

As we look towards the future, the Nurse Hiring Initiative of 2024-2025 stands as a promising endeavour to bridge the gap in the nursing workforce by welcoming talent from across the globe. This initiative not only aims to fortify the healthcare sector but also signifies the invaluable contributions of foreign nurses to the fabric of American healthcare. For aspiring nurses around the world, this represents an unparalleled opportunity to advance their careers amidst the challenges, backed by a supportive network and comprehensive benefits. Encouraging further exploration, research, and action, this movement holds the potential to transform both the lives of foreign nurses and the quality of healthcare in the USA.


Q: What is the process for obtaining a visa-sponsored job in the USA?

A: To secure a visa-sponsored job in the USA, you must first receive a job offer from a US employer. The employer will send you a contract to sign, which becomes part of the visa sponsorship documentation. For certain nonimmigrant visas, the Department of Labor may also require a Labor Certification.

Q: Is it possible for foreign nurses to be employed in the USA?

A: Yes, foreign nurses can work in the USA if they are Registered Nurses in their home country. They should contact the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) to determine their eligibility. Once eligible, they can apply to the Board of Nursing in the state they wish to work in and take the NCLEX-RN exam.

Q: What are the steps to sponsor a foreign nurse to work in the USA?

A: To sponsor a foreign nurse, a U.S. employer, such as a hospital or medical clinic, must file an I-129 petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS will then decide whether to approve the H-1B status for the nurse.

Q: Do hospitals in the USA sponsor H-1B visas for nurses?

A: Yes, hospitals in the USA commonly act as sponsors for foreign nurses under the H-1B visa program. A foreign nurse will need a sponsor to meet the H-1B visa requirements, and hospitals are typically willing to fulfil this role.

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