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The immigration attorneys at Meyner and Landis LLP provide dedicated legal counsel to foreign nationals seeking admission to the United States to practice medicine as general practitioners or medical specialists. Our physician immigration services include examining options for temporary work visas or visitor visas (nonimmigrant visas), developing employment plans, obtaining applicable waivers, and pursuing U.S. permanent residence (green card).
All International Medical Graduates (IMG) must comply with federal immigration laws and medical licensure laws before providing patient care in the United States:
Physician immigration to the United States is achieved through a J-1 exchange visitor visa or an H-1B temporary worker visa.
J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa: International Medical Graduates may petition for J-1 visitor status for the duration of their medical residency. The ECFMG sponsors foreign medical graduates for J-1 visitor visas. The J-1 visa allows the foreign national to lawfully enter the United States and complete the term of their residency. However, upon completion of the residency program, the J-1 visa requires the foreign nationals to return to their country of origin for a duration of two years prior to returning to the U.S. to practice medicine.
Foreign nationals can surpass this two-year home residence requirement by obtaining a J waiver, such as:
Once foreign visitors have been approved for a waiver of the two-year foreign residence requirement, the J-1 visa applicant may apply for an H-1B temporary worker visa.
H-1B Temporary worker visa: International medical graduates may pursue H-1B temporary worker status in order to gain admission to the United States for their medical residency. Although H-1B visas require sponsorship by a U.S. employer, residents can fulfill this requirement by having the medical facility sponsor them. At the completion of the residency, a physician’s new employer would sponsor the physician for H-1B status in a new petition. Physicians with an H-1B nonimmigrant visa classification has fewer restrictions in employment opportunities because such physicians are not required to seek employment in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area (MUA).
H-1B work visas are beneficial for foreign medical students or graduates because there is no requirement to return home at the completion of his/her residency and obtaining a waiver is unnecessary. In addition, because H-1B is a dual intent visa classification, the foreign national can initiate the process of obtaining a green card through PERM regulations or through a National interest waiver immigrant visa immediately.
Please note that there is an annual cap on the number of H-1B visas distributed. This restriction often motivates many international medical graduates to petition for a J-1 visitor visa.
Discuss physician immigration options with the experienced immigration lawyers at Meyner and Landis LLP, in Newark, New Jersey.
With offices in Newark, New Jersey, the Immigration Law Group of Meyner and Landis LLP conveniently provides immigration services for businesses and individuals throughout the state of New Jersey. The firm’s immigration practice, however, is national in scope, encompassing the representation of multinational Fortune 500 employers, businesses and individuals throughout the United States.
Contact our office to speak with a member of our Immigration Group.
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