In addition to licensing, English proficiency testing, medical degree equivalence and ECFMG certification, almost all International Medical Graduates (IMGs) must navigate a complicated immigration system in order to legally practice medicine in the United States.
Immigration Options for International Medical Graduates
We assist universities, hospitals, individual physicians and scientists to navigate this complex system, from choosing between different nonimmigrant visa options to selecting the appropriate path toward permanent residence , tailored specifically to the individual professional. We also advise and assist IMGs in maintaining legal immigration status for their family members.
Keeping in mind the time constraints for our medical professional clients, we are committed to providing prompt personal attention.
In addition to our work with IMGs, we provide comprehensive legal immigration advice to medical employers, recruiters, universities, hospitals and medical centers in order to help them choose the best nonimmigrant and/or immigrant options for their physicians and scientists. We also educate human resources and legal staff with respect to latest trends in immigration pertaining to the healthcare industry so they may make well-informed and effective decisions concerning immigration matters for their employees.
Common Nonimmigrant Options for Physicians
- H-1B visas - available to clinicians, residents and fellows who meet the appropriate credentialing and licensing requirements. Concurrent H-1B visas are available if more than one hospital petitions on behalf of the physician (e.g., for moonlighting purposes). H-1B visas are also available to scientists and other professionals, as long as they are employed in a “specialty occupation” as defined by immigration law.
- O-1 visas - available to physicians and scientists who can demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national and international acclaim in their field. O-1 visas can be good option for qualifying individuals who are subject to the J-1 two-year home residency requirement.
- J-1 Waivers – there are several different types of waivers of the two-year home country physical presence requirements (“J-1 Waivers”) available to physicians. Because each case is different, it is best to have an attorney evaluate your case to determine the most appropriate option for you.
Common Immigrant Options for Physicians
- EB-1 Petitions for Extraordinary Ability - available to clinicians and scientists who are able to demonstrate through extensive documentation, extraordinary ability in their field. Candidates may petition for themselves, and a labor certification is not required.
- EB-1 Petitions for Outstanding Researchers or Professors - available to researchers and university professors with at least three (3) years of experience, who are able to demonstrate international recognition for their outstanding achievements in their academic field. Although no labor certification is required, there must be an offer of permanent employment (or tenure-track teaching position) and the employer must petition on behalf of the foreign national.
- EB-2 Petitions for Exceptional Scientists - available to most clinicians and scientists with an advanced degree. A PERM labor certification filed by a petitioning employer is generally required, unless the petition is filed with a request for a National Interest Waiver of the labor certification requirement.
- EB-2 Petitions for National Interest Waiver - available to clinicians and scientists of exceptional ability who are able to demonstrate a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in their field, and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the national interest. Candidates may petition for themselves and no labor certification is required.
- PERM Special Recruitment for Professors/Teachers - available to faculty and clinicians with classroom teaching duties. This option relaxes the labor certification rules by simply requiring that the foreign national be the best qualified for the position.
Attorneys with experience helping IMGs select the best path to immigration in the U.S.
At Ritter Halliday LLP, we value integrity in our advocacy and take pride in providing our clients an honest and complete assessment as to the merits of each case. We offer highly competitive rates for many types of cases, clearly setting out all fees and costs upfront.
Contact us for more information about immigration options for international medical graduates.