212(e) Home Residency Requirement for J-1 Status Holders

Foreign Medical Graduates that enter the U.S. in J-1 status to receive graduate medical education or training, such as to complete their residency or a specialty fellowship, are automatically subject to the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) 212(e), otherwise known as the two-year foreign residence requirement. INA 212(e) requires a J-1 visitor to return to the country in which the alien was a national and resident, or the country where they were a legal permanent resident prior to the beginning of their J-1 status.  The J-1 status holder must fulfil two years residence and physical residence requirement prior to being eligible to receive L-1 or H-1B visas or receive a green card. The purpose of the two-year foreign home residency requirement is not always clear to J-1 status holders.  J-1 status was created for cultural exchange visitors, and is meant for foreign nationals to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs in the U.S.  Foreign nationals come to the U.S. to work and study in a specific field, such as medicine, and then take that knowledge back to their home country. Not all J-1 status holders are subject to INA 212(e).  You may be subject to the two-year foreign home […]
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O-1 Category for Physicians

O-1 Category for Physicians The O-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa available to foreign nationals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or to foreign nationals who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.  Physicians would fall within the primary eligibility criteria as foreign nationals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences. To qualify for an O-1 visa, a foreign national must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.  Extraordinary ability in the field of science is defined as a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of a small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor. Before the issuance of an H-1B or L visa, the INA 212(e) requires a J-1 visitor to return to the country in which the alien was a national and resident, or the country where they were a legal permanent resident prior to the beginning of their J-1 status.  However, the O-1 visa does not […]
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Definition of Cap-Exempt H-1B

The U.S. government has limited the issuance of new H-1B visas to 65,000 per fiscal year, also known as the “cap.”  Petitioning Employers may submit a new H-1B Petition on April 1st for employment to begin on October 1st.  Usually, the demand for new H-1B visas far exceeds 65,000 and the submitted Petitions are entered into a lottery for selection and adjudication. However, certain H-1B Petitioning Employers are “cap-exempt”, meaning that their Petitions are not subject to the numerical limitation and as such, new employees can begin at any time during the year. Cap-exempt Petitioning Employers must be either: An accredited institution of higher education in the United States; A non-profit research or government organization; or A non-profit organization associated with an accredited institution of higher education. The first two categories are straightforward, requiring that the Petitioning Employer evidence their accreditation or non-profit research status and the H-1B Petition will be considered cap-exempt. The third category, under which many medical professionals fall, has a bit more nuance. In order to apply for Cap Exempt H-1B status, the Petitioning Employer must be able to prove that: It is a non-profit entity, such as through its IRS tax status and incorporation documentations; […]
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J-1 Physician Waiver Options

J-1 Waivers Foreign Medical Graduates that enter the U.S. in J-1 status to receive graduate medical education or training, such as to complete their residency or specialty fellowship, are automatically subject to the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) 212(e), otherwise known as the two-year foreign residence requirement. INA 212(e) requires a J-1 visitor to return to the country in which the alien was a national and resident, or the country where they were a legal permanent resident prior to the beginning of their J-1 status.  The J-1 status holder must fulfil two years residence and physical residence requirement prior to being eligible to receive L-1 or H-1B visas. However, J-1 status holders have several options to waiver the two-year foreign home residency requirement: Conrad State 30 Waiver: Each state is able to issue up to 30 waivers to J-1 status holders who will work full-time for three years in an underserved area.  Each state has slightly different requirements for the process, but generally the J-1 doctor must enter into a signed contract with a healthcare facility to offer services in an area that has been designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area (“HPSA”), Medically Underserved Area (“MUA”), or Medically Underserved […]
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