Visa for Doctors in USA

The Ultimate Checklist for Applying for a Visa for Doctors in the USA 

Applying for a visa to work as a doctor in the USA can be a complex process. You can, however, successfully navigate it if you have the necessary knowledge and are prepared. Here is the ultimate checklist to help you through the application process. 

Understanding Visa Options for Doctors in USA 

H-1B Visa 

The H-1B visa is for doctors in specialty occupations. You must have a work offer from a U.S. firm to be eligible. This can be a hospital, clinic, or university. A medical degree from an approved school is a must. If your degree is from outside the U.S., it must be equivalent to a U.S. M.D. degree. You also need to pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and obtain a state medical license where you plan to practice. 

O-1 Visa 

The O-1 visa is for doctors with extraordinary ability in their field. You must demonstrate significant achievements, such as awards, publications, or high salaries. You also need a job offer from a U.S. employer. With the potential for extension, this visa enables you to work in the United States for a maximum of three years. 

J-1 Visa 

The J-1 visa is for doctors participating in graduate medical education or training. You must be sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). This visa requires you to return to your home country for two years after completing your training, unless you obtain a waiver. 

Preparing Your Application 

Gather Required Documents 

Collect all necessary documents before starting your application. These include your medical degree, USMLE scores, and state medical license. You will also need a job offer letter from your U.S. employer. For the J-1 visa, you need a sponsorship letter from the ECFMG. 

Demonstrate English Proficiency 

You must prove your proficiency in English. This is usually done by passing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Some visas, like the H-1B, require you to pass the English proficiency test administered by the ECFMG. 

Obtain Certification 

For the H-1B and J-1 visas, you need certification from the ECFMG. This certifies that you have met the necessary medical and English proficiency requirements. The certification process includes passing the USMLE and the TOEFL. 

Filing Your Petition 

Submit Your Petition to USCIS 

Your U.S. employer is required to submit a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf. This includes Form I-129 for the H-1B and O-1 visas. For the J-1 visa, the ECFMG will issue Form DS-2019, which you will submit to the U.S. consulate. 

Pay the Required Fees 

There are various fees associated with visa applications. These include the petition fee, visa application fee, and any additional fees for premium processing. Make sure to pay all required fees to avoid delays in your application. 

Attend the Visa Interview 

Once your petition is approved, you will need to attend a visa interview at a U.S. consulate. Bring all your documents, including your passport, job offer letter, and ECFMG certification. Be ready to respond to inquiries on your credentials and employment offer. 

After Approval 

Obtain Your Visa 

If your visa is approved, you will receive it in your passport. Be sure to review the visa for any mistakes. If there are any mistakes, contact the consulate immediately to have them corrected. 

Plan Your Move 

Once you have your visa, you can start planning your move to the U.S. Make arrangements for housing, transportation, and any other necessities. Inform your employer of your arrival date and complete any remaining paperwork. 

Start Working 

Upon arrival in the U.S., you can start working as a doctor. Make sure to comply with all visa requirements and maintain your status. Think about applying for a green card under the EB-1 or EB-2 visa categories if you want to stay in the country for a long time. 


Applying for a visa to work as a doctor in the USA requires careful preparation and attention to detail. By following this checklist, you can ensure a smooth application process. Gather all necessary documents, demonstrate your qualifications, and comply with all requirements. With the right preparation, you can achieve your goal of working as a doctor in the USA.