Visas for medical professionals
For many years, the United States was a closed shop for most foreign-born physicians. Until they were declared unconstitutional, many state laws required foreign physicians to be U.S. citizens in order to obtain licenses.
From 1976 to 1991, federal immigration laws barred foreign-born physicians from obtaining temporary working ("H-1B") status in order to perform direct patient care. A physician in H-1B status was permitted only to teach or conduct research in the U.S. for a public or nonprofit private educational or research institution or agency.
However, in 1991, Congress amended the laws to allow foreign-born physicians to qualify for temporary visas to enter the U.S. in order to qualify for medical residencies and fellowships and to perform patient care.
Please see our immigration guides for: