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H-1B Cap Exemptions

H-1B visas are a popular category for foreign medical professionals who wish to work in the US.
The H-1B nonimmigrant visa is a category for temporary workers who wish to work in a specialty occupation in the United States.

In order to qualify to apply for an H-1B visa, an individual in the medical field must meet several qualifications. First, it is generally necessary to have a bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent. Second, an applicant must hold an unrestricted license, registration or certification which gives authorization to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment. Lastly, an applicant must have education, training or progressively responsible experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty. It is also necessary that the intended employment meet specific criteria to qualify under the H-1B program.

One challenging aspect of the H-1B category is that it is subject to an annual numerical limit cap. However, there are certain circumstances under which applicants are exempt from this cap. Some employers are cap-exempt under the H-1B program. Cap-exempt employers include higher education institutions, nonprofit organizations associated with higher education institutions, nonprofit research organizations, and government organizations. This generally includes institutions such as teaching hospitals, which is beneficial for medical professionals.

Another cap exemption applies specifically for physicians. Physicians who use a J-1 visa to obtain graduate medical training in the U.S. are generally subject to a two-year home-residence requirement (HRR). Physicians can obtain waivers from the HRR by agreeing to practice for three years in a medically underserved geographic area in the U.S. If a physician chooses to do this waiver, they become permanently exempt from the H-1B cap.

If you are a medical professional considering an H-1B visa, please contact our attorneys at Berardi Immigration Law today!