A complete guide for IMGs and FMGs to get H-1B Visa

April 4, 2017
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H-1B visa for International medical graduate.

H1-B visa is a temporary work visa which allows those in specialty occupations to work in the US. Because medicine is a “specialty occupation,” the H1B visa would be a good option for any foreign medical graduate (FMG) seeking residency or fellowship in the US and planning on continuing in the US to migrate after the completion of that training.

Therefore, if your intension is to practice medicine and settle in the US following your residency training, the H1-B visa is good route. With an H1B visa, you will be entitled to begin the procedure for Green Card. Keep in mind, however, that obtaining an H1-B visa and finding a program willing to sponsor you requires some advance planning, a good legitimate reason for the sponsor and an explanation to the issuing authority. Most FMG’s will want to begin this planning for visa documentation well before applications and residency match.

Requirements for getting an H-1B visa as an FMG

To obtain an H1B visa for a fellowship/intern/residency position, you must have the following requirements and documentations with you;

  • A medical degree from an accredited medical school (in the US or abroad)
  • An offer from a US fellowship or residency program that agrees to H1-B sponsorship
  • An ECFMG certification certificate, qualified in USMLE Steps I, II & III and State medical license or other legitimate authorization to practice medicine in the state of intended employment.

Note: Most states require medical residents to have state training licenses to practice medicine either a full license or physician in training license

Annual Cap for H-1B Visa:

One of the disadvantages of the H1B visa for doctors is that you will most likely be subject to the annular allotment lottery. In past years, the USCIS and US federal government has placed a cap on H1B petition approvals. However, no cap on submission of applications.

Duration of H-1B Visa:

After fulfilling the requirements and application process for the H1B visa for doctors, your H1B will processed and the result are on the discretion of the visa approval authority. If it is approved, H1B visa is granted initially for up to three years and can be extended  to a maximum of six years. The H1B is a non-immigrant visa which gives you the opportunity to obtain a US green card and to remain in the US longer to continue to pursue your medical career or settle in US.

Dependents of Doctors and Physicians:

Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 can enter and stay in the US with the H1B visa holder under the dependent visa category.  The dependent visa holder is allowed to live in the US as long as the H1B visa holder continues is allowed by the immigration authority along with H1B visa requirements to remain in legal status.


About the Author

Mayur has completed his USMLE and is working as a radiologist in reputed private hospital in India. He has been accepted in a clinical fellowship program in radiology department in the one of the best cancer center in USA.

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