Visa Options

H-1B Visa vs. EB-3 Visa

Many noncitizens want to come to the United States to work. This page provides a summary of employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visa classifications and other categories of noncitizens who are eligible for employment authorization.


As a nurse, if you have the right combination of skills, education, and/or work experience, you are able to live and work permanently in the United States by seeking an employment-based immigrant visa. There are two types of visas that allow you to chart a path as a US Registered Nurse for you, and your family.

EB-3 Visa

For years, EB-3 visa has been the choice of many countries, like the Philippines. This visa makes up 28.6 % of the employment-based green cards available for overseas workers. Around 40,000 of these visas are available every year to many different professions around the world, not just nurses.


It is intended for “skilled workers”, “professionals”, and “other workers.” The EB-3 visa requirements are less stringent, but the backlog may be longer. There is no “self-petition” category, meaning, you must have an employer that is approved by the US Department of Labor. You may apply for citizenship if you have been a permanent resident of the U.S. for at least 5 years i.e. after 5 years with EB-3 visa, you will apply for U.S. citizenship.


EB-3 visa wait times in some countries take up to 12 years! Countries like India, for example. EB-3 visa from other countries take anywhere from 8 months – 2 years to attain. Visa retrogression can delay this even further.


EB-3 Visa for Dependents


We can apply for the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. They will be listed in the I-140 petition and all family members will apply for their immigrant visas (IVs) together and can enter the U.S. together as well. In most cases, the family will not be separated, and all family members will be mailed their green cards upon being admitted to the U.S. using their IVs. Other family members that are not immediate dependents (spouse/children) will need to apply for a U.S. travel visa such as a B1 visa on their own to come to the US as a visitor & may need to seek further legal counsel, but do not qualify to file as dependents under the primary EB-3 visa holder.

H-1B Visa

The H-1B visa has its roots in the H-1 visa of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. It has been around for quite some time and a dependable visa process for many international workers that are not U.S. citizens. It is extremely popular in countries such as India where EB-3 visa is retrogressed back to 2012 (Reminder, EB-3 visa is retrogressed to June 2022 for Filipino Nationals).


Only certain companies/hospitals can bring nurses to the U.S. on H-1B visa. Hospitals for example, must meet the following criteria:


  • Job requirement:
    • 4-year degree in nursing with proof that this is the requirement historically
    • 1+ years’ experience bedside
  • Hospital must be a:
    • Non-for-profit organization (meaning the hospital’s profits are returned to the hospital for its operations rather than to shareholders)
    • Are affiliated with a Nurse Teaching University and/or are a Nurse Teaching Hospital

H-1B visa’s are considered work visa’s (not migration visa’s). Meaning, they are usually used for workers that are here for long term work, not to stay and become citizens. Once in the USA, a worker on H-1B visa can apply for EB-3 and be put into the same queue for approval as if they were to stay in their home country and wait on EB-3 to be processed and approved. H-1B visa is a quicker process than EB-3 at around 4-8 months. So, it speeds up the process for workers to get to the U.S. to start making U.S. wages.


The Department of Labor caps H-1B visa’s at 65,000/year (versus 40,000 EB-3 visa mentioned above). So the ease of getting to the U.S. and quicker, is made easier with H-1B visa.


However, this spring, we’re seeing a change from USCIS regarding H-1B visas for Registered Nurses. We’ve seen that USCIS has issued more requests for evidence (RFEs) and even, unfortunately, denied some applications. You can learn more about these updates and how Insight Global is addressing them here.


H-1B Visa for Dependents

Dependent(s) will be included on Form I-129 H-1B petition filing to process the application together. These fees are paid separately by the nurse/family. Dependent(s) will complete Form DS-160, pay visa fee & schedule an embassy interview together with the H-1B nurse. Upon filing EB-3 Green Card I-140, spouse will be able to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and work within 4-5 months of arrival in the U.S. The cost of this document for the spouse will be incurred by the nurse of nurse’s family.

Support Through The Process

Above all, and most important, is to be educated on these visa’s. To make sure that you have a relationship and trust in your agency or employer to educate and support you through this process. Insight Global Health prides itself on clear communication, open dialogue, and support along the way to make sure you make the right decision for you, your family and your career. For any further questions, please see FAQ page here, reach out to us at or call the partner which you are working with.