H-1B Visa Physicians and Medical Residents

Many residency programs and medical facilities admit and hire international medical graduates on temporary working ("H-1B") visas rather than exchange visitor ("J-1") visas. An H-1B visa allows an international medical graduate the ability to obtain employment within the United States without the requirement of returning home for a minimum of two years after completing medical residencies and fellowships in the U.S.
1. Passage of the Federal Licensing Examination (FLEX) or an equivalent recognized by the U.S. Department or Health and Human Services (HHS), such as steps 1, 2 and 3 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE); and
2. If not a graduate of an "accredited" medical school, he/she must demonstrate competency in oral or written English by passing a test given by the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG); and
3. The physician must be licensed to perform his or her particular patient-care duties in the state of the intended employment; and.
4. Sponsorship by a "United States employer."
5. The employer must file with the U.S. Department of Labor a "labor condition application" describing the terms of employment and certifying that the proposed employment will not be contrary to prevailing wages or working conditions and that it does not involve a labor dispute.
6. The H-1B employer is liable for "reasonable costs of return transportation of the alien abroad" if the alien is dismissed before the expiration of the approved period of employment.
7. The maximum period of H-1B employment is 6 years.
8. If presently in J-1 (exchange-visitor) visa status, the two-year home country residence requirement must be fulfill, or the physician must seek a waiver, on the basis of extreme hardship, anticipated persecution, or the intervention of a U.S. "interested government agency" (IGA) or state agency (Conrad Amendment) or a provide services in a medically underserved area. The adjustment from a J-1 visa to H-1B visa status must be effected by departing the U.S. and obtaining an H-1B visa (e.g., in Canada) outside the U.S.

Our firm understands the stresses and the frustrations that foreign medical physicians and their employers go through because we have been there and gone through it.  If you would like to discuss your situation, please feel free to contact us.  Madison Immigration Law measures it success by the successes of our clients.

NOTE: Immigration law changes frequently. The resources and information provided on this web site are intended to help you understand basic issues involved in the immigration process, and are offered only for general informational and educational purposes. This information is not offered as, nor does it constitute legal advice or legal opinions. Although we strive to keep this information current, we neither promise nor guarantee that the information is the latest available, or that it applies to your specific situation. You should not act or rely upon the information in these pages without seeking the advice of an attorney. To consult with Madison Immigration Law regarding your case, click here.