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Navigating the EB-3 Green Card Process for Registered Nurses

In the United States, the demand for skilled healthcare professionals, particularly registered nurses, remains consistently high. For foreign nurses aspiring to work and live permanently in the U.S., obtaining an employment-based green card (EB-3) is often the pathway to realizing this dream. However, the immigration process can be complex. Fortunately, for registered nurses, there exists a streamlined option known as the Schedule A exemption, which simplifies certain steps in the EB-3 application process. Let’s delve into the details of how registered nurses can secure an EB-3 green card under this exemption.

Understanding the EB-3 Green Card Category:

The EB-3 category is designed for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers seeking permanent residency in the U.S. Among these, registered nurses hold a crucial position due to the ongoing shortage of healthcare professionals in the country. The EB-3 green card offers a pathway for foreign nurses to work and settle permanently in the U.S., provided they meet certain requirements.

Schedule A Exemption for Registered Nurses:

The Schedule A designation is a provision under the EB-3 category that pre-certifies certain occupations as in-demand, thereby exempting them from the time-consuming labor certification process. For registered nurses, this means bypassing the labor certification requirement, which is otherwise a significant hurdle in the green card application process.

Key Steps in Obtaining an EB-3 Green Card for Registered Nurses:

  1. Employment Offer from a U.S. Employer: The first step is securing a job offer from a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor the nurse for permanent residency. The employer must provide a full-time, permanent job offer and demonstrate the need for the nurse’s services.

  2. Eligibility Verification: The nurse must meet certain eligibility criteria, including holding a valid nursing license in the state where they intend to work, possessing a nursing degree or diploma from an accredited institution, and having relevant work experience.

  3. I-140 Petition Filing: The employer files Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, on behalf of the nurse with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Under Schedule A, the labor certification requirement is waived, streamlining the petition process.

  4. Priority Date Establishment: Once the I-140 petition is approved, a priority date is established for the nurse’s green card application. The priority date is crucial as it determines the nurse’s place in the queue for visa availability.

  5. Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: Depending on the nurse’s circumstances, they can either apply for adjustment of status if they are already in the U.S. or undergo consular processing if they are residing abroad. This step involves completing Form I-485 or DS-260, respectively.

  6. Green Card Approval: Upon successful completion of the required forms and interviews, the nurse and their accompanying family members (if any) receive their green cards, granting them permanent residency in the U.S.


The EB-3 green card process under the Schedule A exemption offers a streamlined pathway for registered nurses to fulfill their American dream. By bypassing the labor certification requirement, nurses can expedite their journey to permanent residency and contribute their skills to the U.S. healthcare system. However, navigating the immigration process can still be complex, requiring careful attention to detail and adherence to all requirements. Seeking guidance from immigration experts specializing in healthcare immigration can greatly facilitate the process and ensure a smooth transition to life in the United States for registered nurses and their families.  

Compound Healthcare specializes in assisting Canadian registered nurses obtain a permanent career in the USA. Contact us today to find out more.

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