Kresses & Piasecki Legal, PC

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Kresses & Piasecki Legal, PC
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Kresses & Piasecki provides handles all areas of physician immigration and licensing services, start to finish for one flat fee. No additional fees will ever be charged. You and your employer will know up front what to expect, how long it will take, and how much it will cost. 

A disadvantage of the J visa is that many, but not all, exchange visitors are allowed to enter the US only on the condition that they return to their home country for two years (maybe fulfilled in increments) after their program is completed. Exchange visitors are subject to the two home residency requirement if:
  • Obtained money from either their home government or US government;
  • Their occupation is listed on the Exchange Visitor Skills List; or
  • They are coming to the U.S. to obtain graduate medical education or training*.
The last requirement subjects the physician to the two-year home residency requirement.  A physician may be eligible for a waiver of this rule under certain circumstances. The foreign residency requirement attaches not only to the principal alien, but to the spouse and children who are present in the U.S. in dependent J-2 status.  If the spouse and children obtained J-2 status, they are not subject to the foreign residency requirement. It is difficult to obtain a "J waiver," or exception, to this two-year foreign residency requirement. This is true even if the foreign national has married a U.S. citizen during the course of his or her stay in the United States. Waivers are complicated, it is recommended to consult with an experienced attorney

If a J-1 exchange visitor who is subject to but does not wish to comply with the two-year foreign residence requirement may apply for a waiver of that requirement under any one of the five applicable grounds for a waiver set forth in the INA 212(e). Choose the one that you qualify for or applies to your situation.

1. No Objection Statement

The home country government which financed the alien's program may issue a No Objection Statement (NOS) through its Embassy in Washington, DC directly to the Waiver Review Division that it has no objection to the Alien not returning to the home country to satisfy the two-year foreign residence requirement and does not object to the possibility of the alien becoming a resident of the U.S. If both the State Department and the USCIS concur, the waiver is will be approved. Note: The law precludes the use of this option by foreign medical physicians, who acquired J-1 status for the purpose of receiving graduate medical education or training.

2. Request by an interested government agency (IGA) 

If an exchange visitor is working on a project for or of interest to a U.S. Federal Government agency, and that agency has determined that the visitor's departure for two years will be detrimental to its interest, that agency may request an IGA waiver on behalf of the ALIEN for sake of public interest. The IGA request must be signed by the head of the agency or its designee and submitted directly to the Waiver Review Division. The ALIEN has the responsibility for obtaining an IGA request from a U.S. Federal Government agency. Agency's who have supported waivers in the past are Dept. of Health and Human Services, Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Agriculture. These waivers have specific requirements and are generally awarded to physicians focused on scientific or medical research of notable national interest.

3. Persecution
If an exchange visitor believes that he or she will be persecuted based on his/her race, religion, or political opinion if he/she were to return to his/her home country, the alien may apply for a persecution waiver. This waiver basis requires that the Alien submit Form I-612, directly to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), within Department of Homeland Security. Only if USCIS makes a finding of persecution will the Waiver Division proceed with the waiver case under this basis. Once USCIS makes a decision, it will forward directly to the Waiver Review Division its decision.

4. Exceptional hardship to a US citizen spouse or child of an exchange visitor

 If an exchange visitor can demonstrate that his or her departure from the United States would cause exceptional hardship to his or her U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or child, he or she may apply for an exceptional hardship waiver. (Please note that mere separation from family is not considered sufficient to establish exceptional hardship.) This waiver basis requires that the Alien submit Form I-612, directly to the USCIS. Only if USCIS makes a finding of exceptional hardship will the Waiver Division proceed with the waiver case under this basis. CIS will forward its decision directly to the Waiver Review Division on Form I-613.

5. Request by a State Dept of Public Health or its equivalent, CONRAD State 30

 This is the most commonly used ground by J-1 physicians in need of a waiver. A foreign medical graduate (FMG) who has an offer of full-time employment at a health care facility in a designated health care professional shortage area or at a health care facility which serves patients from such a designated area, and agrees to begin employment at that facility within 90 days of receiving such a waiver, and who signs a contract to continue to work at that health care facility for a total of 40 hours per week and for not less than three years, may apply for a waiver under this basis. The FMG must first apply with a state public health department, which is allowed to request 30 such waivers per federal fiscal year. Five of the thirty requests may be for physicians who will serve at a facility, which may not be located within a designated area, but serves patients who live within a designated health care professional shortage area. The state public health department will forward the Conrad requests directly to the Waiver Review Division if agrees to sponsor the FMG for such a waiver.  Fifty States have established such programs. Only foreign medical doctors who received their J-1 status to pursue graduate medical education or training may apply for a waiver under this basis

Many Immigration firms provide a wide array of immigration services, very few have experience preparing physician waivers, and fewer still, have the knowledge and skill to provide representation at the State Licensing levels. Each State has different licensing criteria, which may or may not be equivalent to the physician's credentials. Many times, a state law will allow a petition for endorsement for full licensure to be filed with the State Department of Health. This requires a detailed comparison of the foreign credentials with the US State's requirements, retrieval of certified copies from the foreign hospital or university in which the physician trained or studied. Letters of Verification from Medical Department Chairs or persons in a supervisory role. Our firm will retrieve the necessary documents from foreign educational institutes, medical bodies; ECFMG, FCVS, and work with the State Department Health to provide the necessary documentation, remove obstacles and achieve licensing.