The O-1 Visa may be a viable option for certain foreign physicians who have not yet complied with the two-year foreign residence requirement or obtained a waiver of that requirement, yet who has an extensive publication record and who, according to their peers, has made outstanding contributions to his field of medicine.
Although preparation of an O-1 Visa petition requires considerably more supporting documentation than an H-1B Visa petition, the availability of O-1 Visa status to those without a J-1 waiver makes the O-1 Visa an attractive option for some foreign physicians. A significant amount of time will be needed to assemble the supporting documentation, especially letters of support from experts in the physician’s field; however, because the USCIS generally takes two-three weeks to adjudicate an O-1 Visa petition, the applicant will usually be able to begin employment quicker than through an H-1B Visa application.
Three criteria must be established in order to qualify for an O-1 Visa. These criteria are:
- The foreign physician must be extraordinary – that is superior to others in terms of knowledge, ability, expertise and accomplishments.
- The position to be filled by the foreign physician must require the services of an extraordinary person.
- The ability of the foreign physician must be corroborated by an opinion letter from a source in the physician’s field. This is what is known as a Consultation Letter.
If the above criteria can be established a foreign physician will be issued an O-1 Visa. It is important to note that the extraordinary ability test for the O-1 Visa is almost identical to that used for the Employment Based Green Card category of aliens of extraordinary ability. As such, if one qualifies for an O-1 Visa it is quite possible for the applicant to qualify for a green card in the extraordinary ability category and in so doing avoid the labor certification process.
If you would like to learn more about the immigration options available to foreign physicians please send a request to us at:
Leibl and Kirkwood PC
12625 High Bluff Drive
San Diego, CA 92130
Tel. (858) 481-5211
Fax. (858) 481-7271