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What Are Your Options to Immigrate to the US as a Physician?

4.5 minute read
"Are you thinking about immigrating to the US as a physician but are unaware of your options? The first thing foreign nationals usually do is to apply for an employment-based work visa, or open their practice in the country. However, the question remains on how to choose the best Green Card option? Well, the best way is to go for the EB-1 Visa for physicians."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Aug 25, 2021
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Are you thinking about immigrating to the US as a physician but are unaware of your options? The first thing foreign nationals usually do is to apply for an employment-based work visa, or open their practice in the country. However, the question remains on how to choose the best Green Card option? Well, the best way is to go for the EB-1 Visa for physicians. 

What Is the EB-1 Visa?

The EB-1 Visa is the most highly preferred option for employment-based immigration. It has great benefits and privileges and it is the most difficult-to-obtain visa due to the high level of its eligibility criteria. It has 3 categories based on who can apply:

  • EB-1A for individuals with extraordinary ability

  • EB-1B for outstanding researchers and professors

  • EB-1C for multinational managers and executives

EB-1A Visa 

The EB-1A Visa is for foreign nationals who can demonstrate extraordinary skills in the field of academics, art, business, science and athletics. Since it is a broad categorization, physicians can opt for this visa. However, demonstrating extraordinary skills in your field will be a difficult task. You must have won an international award like a Nobel Prize or have 1 of 3 mentioned in the following:

  • A smaller award that is recognized both nationally and internationally

  • Significant contributions to your area of practice

  • Scholarly articles that have been published in a professional or trade journal

  • Membership in an organization or association that requires its members to have the extraordinary ability on the account of its distinguished reputation

  • Material is written by others detailing your ability

  • Judging the work of others in your area of expertise on a panel or individually

  • Employed in a critical role in a reputable organization

  • Having a salary indicative of your skills

While it is not easy to win something as prestigious as the Nobel Prize, many physicians can collect evidence to fulfill at least 3 of the required pieces of evidence mentioned above. 

You might be eligible for an EB-1A Visa even if you have evidence that you think will not be considered extraordinary due to a catchphrase of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service that allows applicants to submit comparable evidence. You must work with an immigration lawyer to ensure that your evidence is according to the requirements.

EB-1B Visa 

Since this category is for outstanding professors and researchers, it is significantly less likely that physicians will be able to obtain a Green Card through it. It is not as inclusive, however, sometimes certain acclaimed medical professors may qualify by meeting at least 2 out of the following requirements for evidence:

  • Receive a renowned or distinguished prize for your work in your field
  • Participate as a judge individually or on a panel of the work of your peers in your field 
  • Contribute substantially to scholarly or scientific research of your field
  • Have published scholarly articles or books in recognized publications of your field
  • Membership in an organization that requires extraordinary ability
  • Have written material published by others detailing your work

With the help of an immigration lawyer, you can find the parts of your medical experience that can be used to meet these requirements for evidence.

The requirements are no different for physicians and doctors. Your immigration lawyer can produce evidence that can be argued in favor of the precedent set of stated requirements, meaning that they will curate evidence for the physician to fit the given criteria.

What Are the Alternatives to the EB-1 for Physicians?

EB-2 National Interest Waiver 

To obtain an EB-2 Visa, you are required to have a job offer from a US employer and a PERM Labor Certification. There are certain cases where one might get a National Interest Waiver (NIW), that will allow them to obtain an EB-2 Visa without a prearranged offer of employment.

To get an NIW, you will be required to demonstrate how the USCIS will benefit more by waiving the PERM requirement rather than enforcing it. This option is for physicians who want to open their practice without an employer petition. They must meet the following requirements to qualify for this waiver:

  • Practice 1 of the following disciplines: internal medicine, psychiatry, family medicine, obstetrics or pediatrics

  • Sign a contract stating that you will work for at least 5 years in your discipline

  • You must work in 1 of the following areas of need:

  • Medically Underserved Area

  • Veterans Affair Facility

  • Health Professional Shortage Area

  • Mental Health Professional Area

  • Obtain an official statement from the state department of health that your work will be in the public interest

PERM Labor Certification 

This is the standard alternative to the EB-1A Visa. This requires the applicants to obtain a PERM Labor Certification from their employers to apply for an employment-based visa. It is required for most of the EB-2 Visa and the EB-3 Visa cases. Your employer will be required to demonstrate that extensive efforts have been made to hire anyone locally. They must also pay you the prevailing wage in the industry that is the minimum wage for that geographical area.

However, there are several drawbacks to this since its first purpose is to ask the employees to conduct an extensive recruitment process to hire a qualified US worker instead of a foreign worker. This also opens up your employer to audit, meaning that the Department of State may choose to inspect the validity of their efforts and supporting documents that may delay the process.

Also, through this process, you can only obtain the EB-2 and the EB-3 Visas which already have a backlog.

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