H-1B Visa for Foreign Medical Graduates

Foreign medical doctors may use an H-1B visa for residency training and/or to practice medicine upon completion of the residency training. In order to qualify for an H-1B visa, the physician must:

  • Possess a degree in medicine;
  • Possess an unrestricted license to practice medicine in a foreign state;
  • Pass the Federal Licensing Examination (FLEX I and II) or the USMLE Steps I, II and III;
  • Demonstrate competence in oral and written English by successfully completing the English language proficiency exam given by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG); and
  • Such candidates must also possess an unrestricted license or other authorization to practice medicine in the state of intended employment in the United States.
Limitation for H-1B Visas
It is noted that the H-1B visa may be extended for up to 6 years. Further extensions are available under certain circumstances. H-1B visas are employer-specific and subject to annual numerical limitations.

J-1 Visas For Residency Programs and/or Fellowships
Foreign Medical graduates who have not completed Step III of the USMLE do not qualify for the H-1B visa but may pursue their residency training using a J-1 visa.

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