Temporary Visa Options for Foreign Physicians

There are a number of options available for foreign-born physicians seeking authorization for temporary employment in the United States. The appropriate nonimmigrant visa is dependent upon the type of employment sought. Each visa category also requires specific qualifications and credentials, as discussed below. This list is not exhaustive, but does present the primary visas used.

J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

1. Description

The J-1 visa is used for graduate medical education and training. It should be noted that, upon completion of the J-1 stay in the U.S., the alien will be required to return to his home country for a period of at least two years.

2. Requirements for J-1 Visa

Several requirements apply when an alien physician trys to obtain a J-1 visa.

3. Advantages

Compared to the H-1 visa, a spouse ( on a J-2 visa ) of an alien having a J-1 visa may obtain more easily a work permit. Further, there are no social security tax requirements and no labor certification is needed.

H-1 Nonimmigrant Visa

1. Description

The H-1B visa is also used for non-clinical graduate experience. Compared to the J-1 exchange visitor visa, different requirements have to be fulfilled. Further, an H-1B visa may allow patient care services performed by the alien physician.

2. Requirements for the H-1 Visa

For alien physicians who will primarily be teaching or performing research (with incidential patient care only) the following conditions apply:

Additionally, alien physicians intending to perform patient care services must have :

Additional Consideration: Timing & Other Obstacles

Obtaining a work visa for a physician can be difficult. Some of the tests & licensing deadlines change and are administered infrequently. Occasionally these changes may result in delays and/or missed residency opportunities. Accordingly, this page merely provides a brief synopsis of the various options. It is not exhaustive, nor can address all the possible obstacles/options.

For in-depth information, contact Capriotti & Associates to schedule an appointment for a telephone consultation.

CA 8/97 NZ/KC 8/01

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Immigration · Nationality · Consular Process
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DISCLAIMER: The information given in this Web site is intended as general information only. It does not substitute for the services of an immigration attorney in a specific case.

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