Schedule A, Group 1 – Nurses and Physical Therapists

Sponsorship for permanent residence usually requires an employer to obtain certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) that there are no qualified U.S. workers immediately available for the position the company intends to offer to the foreign national. However, DOL certification is not necessary for occupations that DOL has identified as having a chronic shortage of qualified and available U.S. workers. These shortage occupations are identified in the Department of Labor regulations under Schedule A, Group 1 of Section 656.15 and currently consist of nurses and physical therapists.

Professional Nurses who hold a full and unrestricted license or who have passed the CGFNS examination and who can show progress toward licensure do not require labor certification. A job offer, however, is required.

Physical Therapists who are eligible for a state license as confirmed by a state licensing authority can have an immigrant visa petition filed without labor certification with the CIS by a potential employer.

Schedule A, Group 2

As with Schedule A, Group 1, foreign nationals in the sciences or arts as well as university teachers do not always require certification from DOL of a lack of qualified and willing U.S. workers. Rather, these individuals may avoid labor certification through Schedule A, Group 2 by demonstrating that they have received “widespread acclaim and international recognition accorded by recognized experts in the field,” through rare or unusual talents in a position that, of itself, requires talent or skill. To qualify, the individual must have worked in the field for the one-year period prior to filing the petition, confirm an intention to continue to work in the same field, and establish that their work requires “exceptional ability.” For foreign nationals in fields other than the performing arts, such petitions must include evidence satisfying at least two of the following requirements:

  • Receipt of internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field.
  • Membership in international associations which require outstanding achievements for membership, as judged by recognized international experts.
  • Published material in professional publications about the foreign national.
  • Participation on a panel or individually as a judge of the work of others.
  • Original scientific or scholarly research contributions of major significance.
  • Authorship of published scientific or scholarly articles in the field.
  • Display of work at artistic exhibitions in more than one country.

Foreign nationals in the performing arts must submit evidence satisfying at least two of the following criteria:

  1. Attestations of current widespread acclaim and international recognition.
  2. Internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence.
  3. Published material by or about the applicant.
  4. Evidence of earnings commensurate with the claimed level of ability.
  5. Playbills and star billings.
  6. Attestations to the outstanding reputation of the places where the individual has performed or is scheduled to appear.
  7. Attestation to the outstanding reputation as to theaters or groups that the individual has performed during the past year.