Healthcare Resource Center
News, case studies, and more to help you with your healthcare worker-related needs.
Foreign health care workers play a major role in the health care industry in the United States. Berardi Immigration Law represents many reputable health care organizations, as well as physicians, nurses, researchers, and other health care workers.
Our attorneys evaluate each client’s options and tailor a customized immigration approach. There are a variety of visa options available, depending on the client’s situation and circumstances.
Nonimmigrant Visa Options
Our firm considers the following visas for foreign health care workers:
H-1B specialty occupation visas, and analyzing for cap-exempt filing opportunities
The H-1B category is designated for temporary professionals to work in the U.S. in a “specialty occupation.” This is generally defined as a position that requires at least a Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. Many foreign nationals who come to work as physicians in the United States do so pursuant to H1B status. Candidates must usually be counted against the H-1B cap before the individual is eligible to work in H1B status, unless the institution is:
- an accredited, nonprofit institution of higher education;
- a nonprofit entity that is related to or affiliated with a qualifying institution of higher education; or
- a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization.
J-1 visas and J-1 waivers
The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. Many international medical graduates (IMGs) pursuing graduate medical studies opt to use this visa. IMGs in the United States on J-1 visas are subject to a two year residency requirement. This requirement holds that a J-1 visa holder must be present in their home country or country or permanent residency for two years prior to applying for another non-immigrant visa category (H1-B) or permanent residency in the United States. Waivers can be applied for in order to bypass this requirement. There are five circumstances which make a J-1 visa holder eligible for a waiver:
- the visa holder receives a no objection statement from the host government;
- an interested U.S. Government agency requests a waiver on the visa holder’s behalf;
- the visa holder would be persecuted upon return to the country of residence;
- the residency requirement would cause exceptional hardship to a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident spouse or child; or,
- a designated State health agency or its equivalent requests a waiver.
O-1A visas for individuals with extraordinary ability in science
The O-1A visa is for individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics. “Extraordinary Ability” means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor. This is a category to consider for well-published researchers, accomplished clinical physicians, and other highly-skilled and achieved health care professionals. The O-1 category is also an exception to the J-1 two-year home residency requirement.
TN category for Canadians and Mexicans in the health care industry
The TN Visa category was created under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which created special economic and trade relationships for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Canadians and Mexicans may be eligible to work in the U.S. as a nonimmigrant NAFTA professional if they meet certain conditions. Generally, each profession listed under this category requires the applicant to possess a Bachelor’s degree as an entry-level requirement. In some professions, an alternative to a Bachelor’s degree is listed, such as related experience or special licensing.
USCIS considers the following medical professionals for the TN category: dentist; dietitian; medical laboratory technologist; medical technologist; nutritionist; occupational therapist; pharmacist; physician; physiotherapist; physical therapist; psychologist; recreational therapist; registered nurse; and veterinarian. It is important to note that only physicians in research or teaching roles are eligible for the TN visa.
E-2 Investor Visas, where appropriate
The E-2 Treaty Investor visa exists for citizens of countries that maintain a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. It enables an individual to be admitted to the U.S. when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. This classification can be utilized by foreign nationals of treaty countries in the medical profession to establish and open their own practice in the States.
Green Card Applications
Our attorneys are also adept at analyzing green card options for health care professionals. U.S. immigration law provides foreign nationals with a variety of ways to become lawful permanent residents through employment in the United States:
PERM Labor Certifications
Labor certification is the standard route for obtaining an employment-based green card. U.S. employers must demonstrate that there are no minimally qualified U.S. workers for a given position. The Department of Labor (DOL) must certify this application in order for an employer to be able to apply for a green card for a foreign employee.
Applications are processed under a program called Program Electronic Review Management (PERM). Labor certification applications under PERM require a full-time employee, a permanent job offer, reasonable job requirements, and pay of the prevailing wage or higher for the job’s occupational classification.
EB-1 extraordinary ability applications
EB-1 visas are available to foreign nationals that can demonstrate exceptional abilities in their field. This category is of primary preference. EB-1A and EB-1B visas are most relevant to those in the medical field. EB-1A visas are for those who can demonstrate extraordinary ability in designated fields, including the sciences. A major asset of the EB-1A category is that applicants may self-petition and do not need an offer of employment to apply. EB-1B visas are designated for outstanding researchers and professors.
While a major benefit of these categories is their relatively broad nature, USCIS sets out stringent guidelines and evidentiary criteria that must be met.
EB-2 National Interest Waivers
EB-2 visas are of secondary preference after the EB-1 category. Generally this category requires an offer of employment and PERM Labor Certification; however, some individuals may qualify for a National Interest Waiver (NIW). The NIW allows an EB-2 visa without an offer of employment or PERM Labor Certification. To obtain an NIW, an applicant bears the burden of demonstrating that the United States would gain a greater benefit from waiving the EB-2 requirements than enforcing them.
Although the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation. Physicians meet a specific set of criteria:
- an applicant must be a J-1 physician in pediatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics, psychiatry, or family medicine;
- an applicant must sign an agreement to work for at least 5 years in one of the above practices;
- an applicant must to work in one of the following areas:
- Health Professional Shortage Area
- Mental Health Professional Area
- Medically Underserved Area
- Veterans Affair facility; and,
- an applicant must have a statement from a government agency or the state department of health stating that the applicant’s qualifications demonstrate the benefit to the public interest.
Schedule A Green Card Applications
Schedule A green cards provide an accelerated option for professional nurses and physical therapists looking to reside permanently in the United States. Currently, this application applies only to these two professions. To qualify for this accelerated processing, a professional nurse must have either passed the Commission on Graduates in Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) examination or must hold a full and unrestricted license to practice professional nursing in the state of intended employment. A physical therapist must possess all the qualifications necessary to take the physical therapist licensing examination in the state in which he or she proposes to practice physical therapy. The major benefit of this option is a green card can be obtained without going through the entire labor certification process, which cuts down the processing time significantly.
Berardi Immigration Law represents numerous clients in the medical field and provides an individualized approach for each client. If you study or work in the medical field and are considering immigration to the United States, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!
Adjudication of H-1B Petitions for NursesThe most up to date U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy memo on the adjudication of H-1B petitions for nursing position was issued in 2015, making it still applicable today. Its purpose was to assist USCIS officers in deciding whether or not a nursing position meets the definition of a specialty occupation. H-1B Specialty […]Read More
Everything You Need to Know About VisaScreen CertificatesVisaScreen, also known as the Visa Credentials Assessment Service, is a comprehensive screening service used for foreign healthcare professionals who are seeking occupational visas in order to work in the United States. Upon completion and approval of an applicant’s VisaScreen, they will receive an official ICHP Certificate, satisfying the U.S. Federal screening requirements that certain […]Read More
NIEs Automatically Extended for 12 MonthsOn July 6th 2021, the Department of State released guidance confirming that, “existing National Interest Exceptions (NIE) will be valid for 12 months from the date of approval and for multiple entries, as long as they are used for the purpose under which they were granted.” The 12-month extension applies retroactively to all existing NIEs […]Read More
TN Spotlight: Medical Laboratory TechnologistThe TN category permits citizens of Canada and Mexico to enter the U.S. to provide prearranged professional services to a U.S. employer or entity. Under the regulations, there are 63 professional occupations under which an individual may qualify. One such occupation is a Medical Laboratory Technologist, also known as Medical Technologist. How to Qualify as a Medical […]Read More
TN Spotlight: DentistThe TN category permits citizens of Canada and Mexico to enter the U.S. to provide prearranged professional services to a U.S. employer or entity. Based on the regulations, there are 63 professional occupations under which an individual may qualify. One such occupation is a Dentist. How to Qualify as a Dentist To qualify for TN […]Read More
New York State’s Quarantine Rules for International TravelersOn September 28, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 205.1 confirming the mandatory quarantine requirements for international travelers arriving in New York State. What are the New York State quarantine requirements for international travelers? The order modifies Executive Order No. 205, which confirmed a 14-day quarantine requirement for travelers arriving in New York from any state with […]Read More
TN Spotlight: PhysiciansTN Category Overview The TN category permits citizens of Canada and Mexico to enter the U.S. to provide prearranged professional services to a U.S. entity. Under the regulations, there are 63 professional occupations under which an individual may qualify. A TN visa or status request may be approved for Canadian and Mexican physicians who intend […]Read More
HHS Expands Clinical Waiver Program to “All Facilities” in HPSA 07 or HigherThe J-1 visa offers researchers, scholars, professors, medical trainees, and others the opportunity to come to the United States to participate in a sponsored program. However, the amount of time the visa holder can remain in the country is not unlimited. Exchange visitors under the J-1 program are required to return to their home country […]Read More
Rosanna Berardi Interviewed by Politico about Canada-US BorderOur Managing Partner, Rosanna Berardi, was recently interviewed by Politico in their article “Workers Continue to Cross Canada-US Border as Leaders Scrap for Supplies“. The national story discusses how workers, medical supplies, and more are still crossing the border every day during the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reached out to a major […]Read More
Immigration Updates from USCIS, CBP, DOS, and DOL due to COVID-19COVID-19 is having a vast impact on immigration operations across all government agencies. To help navigate these challenges, Berardi Immigration Law is providing a summary with the most recent updates from US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Customs and Border Protection, the Department of State, and the Department of Labor. Updates from USCIS Premium processing suspended […]Read More
Canada’s Mandatory Travel Quarantine: What You Need to KnowOn March 25, 2020, Canada announced that it will be invoking the Quarantine Act to impose mandatory self-isolation for international travelers entering the country. Individuals must self-quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine went into effect at midnight last night. This includes individuals crossing at land ports of entry between Canada and the U.S. This is […]Read More
DHS Announces Form I-9 Requirement FlexibilityThe Department of Homeland Security recently announced that due to the physical proximity complications associated with COVID-19, DHS will exercise discretion to defer the physical requirements associated with Form I-9. Employers with employees working remotely due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical […]Read More
Berardi: Committed To Our ClientsAt Berardi Immigration Law, our focus has always been on our clients. That remains the case even in these uncertain times. Given Governor Cuomo’s recent stay-at-home order, the attorneys of our firm are now working at full capacity from home. We want to assure you that if you currently have a case in process with […]Read More
Berardi on Spectrum News r.e. CoronavirusOur Managing Partner, Rosanna Berardi, spoke with Spectrum News out of Buffalo about the recent United States/Canada border crossing closing to non-essential travel. “They had to do it out of an abundance of caution. There is so much movement that goes back and forth every single day. The Peace Bridge is one of the busiest […]Read More
Breaking: “Essential Travel” for US/Canada Border DefinedThis morning, U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins announced new restrictions at the U.S./Canadian border in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The new restrictions will go into effect at 11:59 pm tonight, March 20, 2020. The new restrictions now define “essential travel” allowable at land ports of entry, which includes the following individuals: U.S. citizens and lawful […]Read More
H and L Status Employees and COVID-19The global outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted in many employers recommending or implementing work-from-home policies for their employees, especially those returning from travel. These policies aim to reduce the transfer of the virus and avoid unnecessary spread in the workplace. Employees on H and L work visas have specific worksite requirements, but these […]Read More
Welcome to the Berardi Immigration Law Health Care Resource CenterForeign health care workers play a major role in the health care industry in the United States. Berardi Immigration Law represents many reputable health care organizations, as well as physicians, nurses, researchers, and other health care workers. Our attorneys evaluate each client’s options and tailor a customized immigration approach. There are a variety of visa […]Read More
Immigrant Physicians: Supporting the U.S. Healthcare IndustryImmigrants play a crucial role in the U.S. healthcare industry. In fact, around a quarter of physicians in the U.S. are international medical graduates (IMGs). This group of more than 6,000 IMGs makes essential contributions to the industry when coming to the U.S. to participate in medical residency programs. These physicians enter the U.S. under […]Read More
Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates Certification: What Is It, Who Needs It and How to Get ItThe Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is an organization that assesses the readiness of international medical graduates to enter residency or fellowship programs in the U.S. These programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). International medical graduates make up a significant portion of the U.S. physician workforce and […]Read More
H-1B Cap ExemptionsH-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 […]Read More
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Recent Healthcare-related Posts
- Adjudication of H-1B Petitions for Nurses
- Everything You Need to Know About VisaScreen Certificates
- NIEs Automatically Extended for 12 Months
- TN Spotlight: Medical Laboratory Technologist
- TN Spotlight: Dentist
- New York State’s Quarantine Rules for International Travelers
- TN Spotlight: Physicians
- HHS Expands Clinical Waiver Program to “All Facilities” in HPSA 07 or Higher
- Rosanna Berardi Interviewed by Politico about Canada-US Border
- Immigration Updates from USCIS, CBP, DOS, and DOL due to COVID-19
- Canada’s Mandatory Travel Quarantine: What You Need to Know
- DHS Announces Form I-9 Requirement Flexibility
- Berardi: Committed To Our Clients
- Berardi on Spectrum News r.e. Coronavirus
- Breaking: “Essential Travel” for US/Canada Border Defined