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Temporary Work Visas for Physicians: Similar to US visitor visa

The process of obtaining your temporary work visa or US visitor visa through your doctors or physicians licensure can be a long, frustrating, and expensive experience.

There are many important choices to make in this confusing process. This site was created to give you the information you need to make the right decisions on entrance into the US through a US visitor visa vs. a temporary work visa. However, the information provided on this site can in no way replace representation from a good immigration lawyer in USA.

If you haven’t already done so, stop right now and read our homepage. It is full of surprising information that could save you a great deal of time and money. Once you’ve read through the homepage, come back here to find out more about how you can come to the US through your profession, get a US visitor visa, and even be able to obtain your US green card as well.

If a doctor or physician is not able to come to the United States under a national interest waiver and thereby obtain a US green card, there are several options available instead. These options however are ONLY applicable to applicants in the above professions seeking to come TEMPORARILY to work in the United States; similar to the US visitor visa.

Some of the more common options include the following:

  • J-1 Exchange Visitor
  • H-1B Specialty Occupation
  • O-1 Extraordinary Ability
  • TN Treaty NAFTA for Canadians and Mexicans

J-1 Exchange Visitor

Many foreign physicians or doctors come to the United States in the J-1 exchange visitor category to train in U.S. residency programs. J-1 physicians are generally certified and sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), which assesses the readiness of international medical graduates to enter residency or fellowship programs in the United States.

J-1 applicants who come for medical education or training are automatically subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement. J-1 physicians must either return to their home country or country of last foreign residence for an aggregate of two years or have the requirement waived before they may change their status to H-1B or L-1, or apply for permanent residency. This visa is similar to the US visitor visa since it allows entry into the United States for a specific reason and for a limited amount of time.

Further, applicants coming to the United States on J-1 visas for the purpose of observation, consultation, teaching, or research are not generally subject to the home residency requirements.

H-1B Specialty Occupation

The H-1B visa is available for individuals in a “specialty occupation,” which is defined as an occupation requiring at least a bachelor's degree in a specialized field of knowledge.

Physicians clearly qualify as a specialty occupation, and may be eligible for H-1B visa status.

However, it is important to know that U.S. immigration policies and law impose specific criteria and license requirements for physicians seeking H-1B visas.

O-1 Extraordinary Ability

The O-1 visa category for Aliens of Extraordinary Ability has been a popular option for doctors seeking employment in the United States.

Eligibility for O-1 visa status is limited to people with “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.”

Not every applicant in the professions above mentioned will be eligible for this type of visa. You should consult with immigration lawyers in USA to determine the most appropriate and expedited method for you to gain entry into the United States.

TN Treaty NAFTA for Canadians and Mexicans

Physicians from Canada or Mexico may be eligible to enter the United States in TN visa status to teach or perform medical research.

However, the TN visa is NOT AVAILABLE for physicians seeking to practice medicine and provide patient care in the United States.

To qualify for the TN visa, the applicant must prove Canadian or Mexican citizenship, show that he or she has earned an M.D. or Doctor en Medicina degree, and provide proof of a state or provincial medical license.

As I have indicated in other pages on this site, this type of visa along with the US visitor visa, is incredibly technical and complex and you should not apply for it before at least consulting an immigration lawyer.

Best of luck to you!



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