International medical graduates (IMG) who are looking to enter the U. S. Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs must obtain a visa that allows them to pursue clinical training. With the right information and support, women living with polycystic ovary syndrome can manage their condition and lead healthy lives.
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Visa Requirements for IMG DoctorsThe U.
medical workforce is comprised of foreign graduates and international medical graduates (IMG). Non-immigrant or immigrant visas are needed for IMG doctors to legally practice in the U. S. The Department of State's Office of Consular Affairs provides a table that defines the different types of visas available for temporary travel purposes, including H-1B visas for specialty occupations with professional-level degrees that don't have a two-year home residence requirement.
The H-1B visa allows foreign nationals to enter the U. For professional-level jobs for up to six years, provided they meet academic qualification and licensing requirements, such as successful completion of all three universities USA UU. Steps for the medical licensing exam (USMLE), state medical board licensing requirements, and certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). This visa also requires compliance with current wage requirements from the Department of Labor and Request for Working Conditions (LCA).
Since the early 1990s, Congress has allowed doctors to access an H-1B visa for clinical practice when these criteria are met. However, certain specialties and work environments may have difficulty satisfying wage and specialized occupational criteria for obtaining a new H-1B status or renewing an existing H-1B status to allow IMG doctors to continue their training or practice. To make this transition, IMG doctors would need a nonprofit organization or university system to sponsor their H-1B visa so it would be counted as “exempt from maximum limit” so they wouldn't have to participate in the lottery for 85,000 H-1B visas each year. Every time they change jobs, they would need another sponsor with similar capabilities to get their H-1B visa “exempt from maximum limit” renewed.
During training, Graduate Medical Education programs and immigration offices are responsible for renewing this visa. However, as IMG doctors transition into practice, employers usually hire an immigration attorney to work with them on this process. The renewal depends on prevailing wage determination from Department of Labor and LCA process which can take eight to twelve months. Once submitted, doctors can work up to 240 days in pending status before having to leave country while waiting for request approval.
This period has been even longer during pandemic which could affect legal status of many IMG doctors. H-1B status also depends on country of birth and immigrant visa application status. As IMG doctors fill job gap in rural and underserved areas, most employers would sponsor an immigrant (or permanent) visa for them under several different categories of employment-based immigration. Most common category is EB-2 which requires labor certification process but can be expedited if doctor is working in area with shortage of qualified workers.