Feb 11

H-1B Visa for Medical Residents

What is an H1-B Visa?

H-1B Medical Residents
Medical residency programs may now sponsor foreign-born medical residents for H-1B visas. International Medical Graduates now have the ability to complete medical residency programs in the U.S. on H-1B visas thereby avoiding the two-year foreign residency requirement which may result from obtaining a J-1 Visa.

What do I need to do to get a H1-B Visa?

A foreign-born doctor seeking H-1B status must meet the following requirements:

  • Possess a license or other authorization required by the state of intended employment to practice medicine if the physician will perform direct care and the state requires the license or authorization


  • Possess a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in a foreign country


  • Have graduated from a medical school in the U.S. or a foreign country.

Further, it must be established that the physician:

  • Teach or conduct research, or both, for a public or a nonprofit private educational or research institution or agency, and that no patient care will be performed, except that which is incidental to the teaching or research;


  • Pass the Federation Licensing Examination (FLEX), or an equivalent examination as determined by the Health and Human Services Department (HHS has determined that the equivalent examinations are the National Board of Medical Examiners, (NBME, www.nbme.org) and the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination, (USMLE, http://usmle.org);


  • Is competent in English or is a graduate of a medical school accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. To demonstrate competence in English, the doctor must pass the English proficiency test given by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.


*****It is best for International Medical Graduates to obtain H-1B visas to pursue their medical residencies. However, when International Medical Graduates have already been accorded J-1 status, the H-1B visa option is not readily available because most J-1 visa holders must return to his/her home country for two years, unless a waiver applies. Check your IAP-66 to see if the two-year residency requirement applies. If so, grounds for a waiver include performing primary care medicine in medically under-served areas, to practice their sub-specialties for the VA or in certain Conrad 20 states, or to continue with research.