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H1b visas for foreign medical doctors


There are two possible routes a physician can take to obtain an H-1B visa. First, a physician may obtain H-1B status to come to the U.S. at the invitation of a research institute to teach or conduct research. If the physician will be involved with direct patient care, such contact must be incidental to the teaching or research conducted.

Second, the foreign physician can pass the Federation Licensing Examination (FLEX) and demonstrate either a competency in written and oral English or have graduated from a medical school accredited for that purpose by the Department of Education. Recently, the INS has been accepting proof that physicians have taken steps 1, 2, and 3 of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examiners (USMLE) and Parts I, II, and III of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) in place of the FLEX test.
  In addition to these tests, a physician providing patient care must also have a license of the state in which he will be practicing.

The petitioning employer will be expected to comply with the attestations made on the Labor Condition Application. Once the Labor Condition Application has been certified by the Department of Labor, it can be included in the H-1B application and the whole package submitted to the INS.

Upon approval of the H-1B application, the physician may enter the U.S. up to ten days before the period of validity of the H-1B begins. He or she will be entitled to stay in the U.S. for three years. Thereafter, an extension may be obtained for another three years. At the end of the six year period, he will have ten days to leave the U.S. and will not be able to return to the U.S. in H or L status until he has been abroad for one year.




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