Call Today to Get Started With Your Visa!
15+ Years of High Success Rates

H1B for Doctors

Do Doctors Qualify for the H1B Visa? 

Generally, doctors qualify for the H1B visa because they qualify as working in a specialty occupation. 

A fundamental requirement of H1B visa holders is that they work in a specialty occupation. United States immigration law provides very specific parameters for what qualifies as a specialty occupation, particularly educational requirements. 

The educational requirements that most doctors and physicians must obtain, and most health care employers require, will generally qualify doctors for the H1B visa. 

What is a Specialty Occupation? 

Generally, a specialty occupation is one that minimally requires a bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent, or requires specialized knowledge obtainable usually through earning a bachelor’s degree or higher. Thus, the H1B visa is available for workers who have a degree from a foreign, non-U.S. college that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher, and/or a state license, certification, or registration that authorizes them to practice a specialty occupation in the U.S. state where they desire to work.

In order to qualify as a specialty occupation, the position must meet at least one of the following: 

  • The position normally and minimally require a bachelor’s degree or higher for entry into the position; 
  • The industry the position is in must commonly require a degree in positions among similar organizations, or alternatively, the job must be performed only by an individual with a degree due to it uniqueness or complexity; 
  • The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; 
  • The specified duties of the position are so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is typically associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher

Medicine and healthcare is a typical example of a specialty occupation under the H1B visa; however, not all jobs in the healthcare industry have the same educational requirements. For example, doctors typically qualify for the H1B visa because they are required to have a doctorate – a higher educational degree than a Bachelor’s. 

What are the Requirements for H1B Doctors and Physicians? 

Below is an outline of the requirements that doctors and physicians must meet to qualify for the H1B visa: 

  • The U.S. position the doctor will work in must qualify as a specialty occupation, as described above;
  • The doctor or physician must prove they meet the educational requirements by showing they have received a doctorate, such as a medical degree (M.D.) from an accredited United States medical school or the foreign equivalent of an M.D.; 
  • As set forth in the Labor Condition Application (LCA), the U.S. employer must pay the doctor or physician at least the actual or prevailing wage for the occupation, which is defined by the Department of Labor (DOL);
  • The U.S. employer(s) must petition for the H1B visa on behalf of the doctor or physician by submitting Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker;
  • The doctor or physician must have successfully passed all three parts of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
  • The doctor or physician must demonstrate competency in both written and oral English examination, which is administered by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)
  • The doctor or physician must receive ECFMG certification in order to enter the United States for the purpose of participating in medical training programs; 
  • The doctor or physician must have an unrestricted state license allowing them to practice medicine in the U.S. state they intend to work in, or have authorization to practice medicine according to the U.S. state’s specific educational requirements and post-graduate medical training and licensing requirements.

What Types of Positions Can Doctors and Physicians Work in Under the H1B Visa? 

Foreign doctors or physicians are eligible to work in the following positions in the United States under the H1B visa: 

  • Participation in a medical residency program at a medical hospital or institution; 
  • To work for a U.S. employer as a doctor or physician so long as the employer conforms to the conditions and regulations of a physician or doctor laid forth by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); 
  • A position teaching or conducting research at a public or private nonprofit educational institution that requires and utilizes the educational requirements of a doctor or physician.

What is the H1B Application Process for Doctors and Physicians? 

The application process for doctors and physicians seeking the H1B visa is generally the same as other H1B documents, though there are some additional requirements that doctors and physicians must meet to prove they are qualified doctors. 

File Labor Condition Application (LCA)

At the start of the petitioning process, the employer or potential employer must first file a Labor Condition Application with the U.S. Department of Labor on the applicant’s behalf. This application requires the employer or potential employer to show that it will treat the H1B visa holder the same as other qualified workers in its same geographic area with regard to wage, and that other employees will be unaffected by the H1B visa holder’s working conditions.

File Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker

After the Labor Condition Application is certified by the Department of Labor, the employer or potential employer must then complete a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker

The employer or potential employer must submit Form I-129 and the certified Labor Condition Application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as well as any fees and additional documentation that confirms your education level, certification, licensure, professional qualifications, employment or potential employment, and support from the employer or potential employer. 

When submitting Form I-129, some documentation must be included that proves the doctor or physician’s eligibility for the H1B visa, including: 

  • Proof the doctor meets the educational requirements, including their diploma and transcript from medical school as well as a list of courses taken; 
  • A certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG); 
  • Proof the doctor passed all three parts of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
  • A copy of the doctor or physician’s valid passport; 
  • Evidence of the doctor or physician’s state medical license, permit, or authorization to practice.

File Form DS-160 if Outside the United States

H1B visa applicants who are not in the United States at the time Form I-129 is approved must take necessary steps to lawfully enter the United States and begin working.

Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application is required to be filed online over the internet, where applicants must also pay an associated fee. Filing DS-160 involves uploading a photo of the applicant that conforms to the U.S. Department of State photograph requirements. Once Form DS-160 is submitted, the applicant must download and print the confirmation page showing Form DS-160 was completed and the filing fee paid. The confirmation page will need to be brought to the applicant’s visa interview at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy.

Attend U.S. Embassy or Consulate Interview if Outside the United States

H1B visa applicants who are outside the United States must next schedule an interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy nearest to you. 

At the interview, the applicant must have certain documents with them, including those initially submitted with the Form I-129 petition: 

  • valid passport
  • a printed copy of the confirmation page from your completion of Form DS-160
  • a copy of your approved form I-129 and I-797 approval (issued to you previously when your form I-129 application was approved) 
  • receipts proving you paid your application fees and a passport-sized photo of you that conforms with U.S. Department of State guidelines;
  • Degree and certification documents; 
  • Resume and curriculum vitae (CV);
  • Proof the doctor passed all three parts of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
  • A copy of the doctor or physician’s valid passport; 
  • Evidence of the doctor or physician’s state medical license, permit, or authorization to practice;
  • Proof the doctor meets the educational requirements, including their diploma and transcript from medical school as well as a list of courses taken; 
  • A certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Recent Posts

How to Choose an Immigration Attorney? Easy Guide

The United States immigration system is complicated, confusing, and often frustrating.  That is why choosing the right immigration attorney is crucial to achieving a successful outcome for your case.   Selecting an immigration attorney to help you can be overwhelming and

LEARN MORE
Marriage green card interview

Preparing For Marriage Green Card Interview

Preparing for your Marriage Green Card interview? We’ve got your back! In this quick guide, we’ll help you get ready smoothly. Let’s make sure you’re well-prepared for a successful interview. Dive in for essential questions and tips to ease your

LEARN MORE

Sweta Khandelwal

Sweta completed her Masters in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in India and has been practicing law for 15+ years getting visas, green cards, and citizenship for 1000+ clients, 100+ companies across 50+ nationalities.

Sweta has been recognized as a ” Super Lawyer, Rising Star,” and as amongst the ” Top 40 under 40″ immigration attorneys in California (American Society of Legal Advocates). She is also the recipient of the Advocacy Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Sweta is also a chartered accountant — the equivalent of a CPA. This makes her uniquely positioned to understand the immigration needs of her business clients in the broader context of their corporate objectives.

Sweta is actively involved with immigration issues and immigrant communities in various capacities. She has assumed key roles at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), both at the local and national level. She has been a past chair at the Santa Clara Valley Chapter at AILA and has also been involved in various practice area committees at AILA National. Sweta has addressed multiple conferences/forums in the United States and worldwide on immigration and business issues.

San Jose Office

95 South Market Street, Suite 410, San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: (408) 542-0499

San Francisco Office

404 Bryant Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 Phone: (408) 317-4662

San Jose Office

2225 East Bayshore Road, Suite 200 Palo Alto, CA 94303
Phone: (408) 317-4662

Contact Us