There may be several different immigration options for physicians or individuals in the medical field. One of the most common types of visa is the J-1 temporary nonimmigrant visa. The J-1 visa provides temporary status to graduates of foreign medical schools who are pursuing graduate medical education or training at U.S. accredited schools of medicine or scientific institution. There are various requirements to obtaining a visa under this category, including accreditation of the training program by the American Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Although the training may be clinical or non-clinical, the law treats the types of trainings differently. The law limits clinical trainees to the time required to complete the program of training necessary for specialty board certification, with a maximum of 7 years plus 30 days within which to depart. The law, however, does allow for extensions if the trainee demonstrates an “exceptional” need for additional training.
Another option for a foreign physician may be an H-1B visa. A foreign physician may qualify for this visa if he or she seeks entry into the U.S. to perform services as a member of the medical profession and meets certain criteria, including having passed the requisite licensing examination. If the foreign physician will provide direct patient care, the individual must also have a medical license or other authorization to practice medicine required by the state of the proffered employment.
Other visa options for a foreign physician coujld include an E-2 investor visa if he or she is a national of one of the treaty countries and invests in a medical practice in the United States. A foreign physician may also be eligible for a TN nonimmigrant visa under NAFTA if he or she is entering the U.S. to teach or conduct research.
Contact Wilson Law Group to schedule a consultation to discuss physician immigration options and how our office can assist you or your organization.