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Certain Physicians, applying for a Green Card, are EXEMPT from USMLE testing requirements

It is important that physicians who are considering applying for a green card remember that there are certain circumstances under which they may not have to first pass USMLE. There are certain exempt categories. For example, if a physician qualifies as an alien of extraordinary ability or as an outstanding professor or researcher, passage of the USMLE exam is not necessary. Of course, whether the USCIS requires that the physician have passed USMLE is a separate requirement from the requirements imposed by State licensing authorities.

Second, the USMLE requirement only applies if the physician will be involved in patient care. "Researchers, teachers, etc. are not subject to this requirement." Third, the USMLE requirement does not apply if the physician was fully and permanently licensed to practice medicine in a State of the U.S. on January 9, 1978, and was practicing medicine in a State of the U.S. on that date.

Because passing the USMLE may be time consuming, it is important that physicians who are considering applying for a green card be aware of these alternatives.

These point are reiterated in a USCIS Memo by Michael Ayets, Acting Associate Director, Domestic Operations, UCSIS, dated September 12, 2006, which revises Chapter 22 of the Adjudicator's Field Manual (AFM), as follows:

(5) Petition for a Physician Which Is Supported by Individual Labor Certification.

Section 212(a)(5)(B) excludes alien physicians who are coming to the United States principally to perform services as a member of the medical profession unless they have passed parts I and II of the National Board of Medical Examiners Examination (NBME exam) or an equivalent exam as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and they are competent in written and oral English. However, this exclusion ground only applies to alien physicians seeking admission as an alien classified under section 203(b)(2) or section 203(b)(3) of the Act. In addition, the definition of "graduates of a medical school" in section 101(a)(41) excepts aliens who are of national or international renown in the field of medicine. Therefore, if a physician qualifies under section 203(b)(1) as an alien of extraordinary ability or an outstanding professor or researcher, passage of the NBME exam is not necessary. Physicians who are immigrating under sections 203(b)(2) or 203(b)(3) are required to pass the NBME exam. However, the DOL regulations require passage of the exam to obtain a labor certification. Therefore, if the alien has an individual labor certification, he has already demonstrated compliance with this requirement to the DOL and does not have to submit evidence of it with the I-140.


That leaves the physician immigrating under section 203(b)(2) who is requesting a waiver of the job offer requirement in the national interest. Such an alien does not have an individual labor certification and, therefore, must submit evidence of passage of the examination with the I-140. Remember, this only applies if the physician will be involved in patient care. Researchers, teachers, etc. are not subject to this requirement. In addition, the exclusion ground does not apply if the alien was fully and permanently licensed to practice medicine in a State of the U.S. on January 9, 1978, and was practicing medicine in a State of the U.S. on that date.

Search for H1B Visa Employers

You can search for "H1B Visa Employers" using this database, which was compiled by Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law from government sources. This database identifies those U.S. employers who have filed for H-1B visas in the past, or who have at least started the process by filing for the LCA. If you find an employer you are interested in, you can then contact them to inquire as to whether they have any current job openings in your field. Please tell your friends about this valuable resource.

Use this form to search for H1B Visa employers.

"FMG Friendly" Employers

Foreign Medical Graduates ("FMGs") should be aware that there are "FMG Friendly" employers, and "FMG Unfriendly" employers. This database (compiled by Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law from government sources) identifies those U.S. employers who have filed for H-1B visas for foreign medical graduates in the past (or at least started the process by filing for the LCA), and who can therefore be deemed "FMG Friendly". Please tell your colleagues about this valuable resource.

Use this form to search for "FMG Friendly" employers in a given state.

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