Physicians are eligible for H-1B status because the position requires at least a Bachelor’s degree. H-1B status provides temporary employment authorization in the United States for individuals from any country for any specialty occupation. A Specialty occupation is one which normally requires at least a Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. A Physician must possess any required licensure for the position and must have passed all USMLE components (including Step 3 and clinical) at the time the H-1B petition is filed. Note: Physicians entering Residency Programs are eligible for H-1B status.
A Physician who is a Canadian Citizen is eligible for TN status if the position is a teaching or research position with no (or only incidental) clinical patient care. [Note: Residency status in Canada is not sufficient for TN eligibility.] TN status is available to Canadian citizens with an offer of employment in the United States in one of forty-three (43) listed occupations.
GREEN CARD OPTIONS:
Physicians have not been designated as a Schedule A occupation, and therefore they are not exempt from the labor certification process (“PERM”). Thus, the green card process for a Physician will require PERM labor certification process followed by either Adjustment of Status or a Consular Interview.
Because all Physician positions require an Advanced degree, all Physicians are eligible for EB-2 classification. The classification is relevant to when an immigrant visa is available. Generally speaking there is no backlog for EB-2 visas for most countries (excluding India and China) and thus an immigrant visa can be obtained “immediately” as soon as the normal case processing is completed.
Physicians are also frequently eligible for EB-1 classification. The EB-1 immigrant visa classification includes Aliens of Extraordinary Ability and National Interest Waivers. There are a number of benefits to a Physician who is able to demonstrate that he or she is an ‘Alien of Extraordinary Ability’ or that his or her work is in the national interest. The EB-1 immigrant visa classification is exempt from the PERM process (which can be costly and time consuming) and the backlog of immigrant visas for individuals born in India or China is dramatically less in the EB-1 classification than the EB-2 classification. Note: the standard for demonstrating that a Physician meets the criteria for EB-1 classification can be difficult and/or overly burdensome for many individuals.