are many types of work permits, each with specific
requirements as to type of position, type of employer,
duration, etc. One of the most important steps in
the visa application process is to determine what
category/ies may be the most suitable, considering
the nature of the position, your background and
goals, and other factors. Given below are some common
positions and the appropriate visa categories for
visa: Before ImmAct 90, graduates of
foreign medical schools were excluded from H-1B
classification unless they were to perform services
‘pursuant to an invitation from a public or nonprofit
private educational or research institution or agency
in the U.S. to teach or conduct research, or both,
at or for such institution or agency.’ Patient care
had to be incidental to the physician’s teaching
Later, in 1991, the prohibitions against a foreign
medical graduate engaging in patient care were removed,
but like all other H-1B nonimmigrants, foreign physicians
are subject to the LCA and other requirements. Foreign
medical graduates must also pass all three parts
of the USMLE and be licensed in the state where
they will practice to qualify for the H-1B.
A physician entering the U.S. to perform direct
patient care is exempt from the examinations requirement
if the physician can demonstrate he or she is a
physician of national or international renown. Doctors
of national or international renown do not fall
under the definition of foreign medical graduates
and are thus not subject to the examination requirement.
visa: Nonimmigrant physicians who were
coming to the U.S. to obtain medical education and
training and thereby perform patient care are required
to obtain a J exchange visitor visa through the
Educational Council for Foreign Medical Graduates
(ECFMG). Their website, www.ecfmg.org, is very informative
and answers many questions regarding qualification,
certification, and the application process.
visa: Canadian and Mexican medical
and allied personnel including dentists, dietitians,
laboratory technologists, nutritionist, pharmacist,
physical therapist, psychologist, registered nurses
and veterinarians may work in the U.S. on a TN visa.
visa: The USCIS recognizes that software
engineers, system analysts, systems engineers, database
administrators, and other computer/information technology
(IT) positions are professional/specialty occupations.
One computer occupation remains questionably a professional/specialty
occupation. According to the USCIS and DOS, a computer
programmer may be a professional/specialty occupation
depending on the application of the computer program.
Those working with scientific and engineering programs
are considered professionals/specialists, whereas
those working on programs with business applications
may not be. The distinction between business and
scientific programmers is artificial and not always
followed by the USCIS service centers. The better
rule is that technicians and programmers using off-the-shelf
prepackaged programs will not be considered engaged
in a specialty occupation. Those designing systems,
or whose work involves theoretical knowledge or
overseeing other programmers, should be deemed professionals/specialists
regardless of the program’s application.
visa: Multinational software companies
may transfer their foreign national executives or
managers on L-1A visa to manage a subsidiary or
a major function or division of a subsidiary. IT
professionals with specialized knowledge such as,
company products, research methods and marketing
techniques may be transferred under the L-1B category.
E visa: IT professionals from treaty
countries may be granted both E-1
visa as managers and persons with specialized knowledge.
visa: Canadian and Mexican software
professional have a couple of TN options. The most
common of them is a Computer Systems Analyst – which
is very broadly defined and covers most IT areas.
A second option is that of an Engineer – USCIS now
recognizes computer and software engineers as engineers
for TN purposes. However, they do look for a degree
in engineering or related field (mathematics, computer
science) for engineers. A third option is that of
a Management Consultant. As a management consultant
you have to have a BS degree or 5 years experience
in the field. You have to be coming to work for
a consulting company or to fill a ‘supernumary’
position with a company in the US.