We are proud to publish our most recent I-612 Application Approval to Wave Foreign Residence Requirements:
The Ranchod Law Group has a great team. They helped me get a J-1 visa waiver, which is usually a complicated and long process. They walked me through every step, and with their help I was able to get a positive decision in a record time. Also, throughout the entire process Melissa, and Kaushik were very open and transparent about everything, which helped me gain an understanding of how these things work, which I appreciate. Thanks to Ranchod Law Group I was able to stay in the US with my family, and be there for the birth of my first daughter. I will forever be thankful for that.
– Michael S
Hardship Based J Waiver
Filed: April 9, 2015
Approved: October 15, 2015
Client was out of status by the time she came to our office for help with her j waiver. Client is married to a U.S. Citizen and had just given birth to the couple’s first child. We were able to successfully argue hardship because client’s husband could not practice his profession abroad and client’s husband owns a home in the U.S. and leaving his job in the U.S. would mean defaulting on his financial responsibilities. Also, client’s husband could not afford to care for his infant while his wife completed her home residency requirement abroad and client’s home country, for many reasons, was not a good a safe place for their child. We worked extensively to argue each aspect of the case and were pleased to see the positive decision.
Do you qualify for employment-based eligibility?
Securing a green card is a long and challenging process. Anyone who wants to start the process must first meet a number of conditions before applying. The most important condition is eligibility.
Applicants may be eligible through their family, or as a result of a job offer or current employment. Many physicians and professionals may qualify for employment-based eligibility. Keep in mind, those who apply for an employment-based green card must be sponsored by their employers or future employers and cannot self-sponsor. USCIS has an order of preference for applicants:
First Preference (EB-1 visa) This is for individuals considered priority, which includes anyone with:
- extraordinary abilities;
- outstanding educators;
Physicians and other highly-skilled professionals, depending on specialty, may be able to qualify under this preference.
Second Preference (EB-2 visa) An applicant in this category holds an advanced degree or has an exceptional ability. The person may also file a national interest waiver, which is ideal for doctors and professionals who work or will work in underserved areas.
Third Preference (EB-3 visa) This is for skilled professionals, qualified workers, or any worker who can show they will work in a field where skilled labor is short or nonexistent in the US.
Fourth Preference (EB-4 visa) Applicants in this category are in specialized professions, particularly religious fields.
Fifth Preference (EB-5 visa) This category is for those who are in a position to create employment opportunities for others, such as investors and entrepreneurs who invest a minimum of $1 million (or $500,000 in select high unemployment or rural areas) and create 10 or more jobs for US workers.
Many physicians and highly-skilled professionals may fall into the first two preference categories. If you are eligible, or anticipate eligibility in the near future, or you H-1B visa is nearing expiration, don’t wait to file. We can’t stress enough that obtaining a green card is a lengthy process, therefore you should start at a minimum, two years before the expiration of your H1b visa.
Written by: Kaushik Ranchod
Published by: The Ranchod Law Group
On May 26, 2015, USCIS will begin accepting applications for employment authorization (work permits) from H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants seeking employment-based Lawful Permanent Residence (“Greencards”).
To be eligible for your work permit under this change, you must be a H-4 dependent spouse of H-1B nonimmigrants who:
- Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
- Have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. The Act permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.
This new rule will help many doctors who have spouses on H4 visas but have not been able to work. We applaud the Obama administration for implementing this progressive legislation!
If you believe you may be eligible for a work permit under this change please contact our Sacramento, San Francisco or Santa Clara offices today at (916) 613-3553. We can advise you and prepare your application so that it is filed on May 26, 2015 (the first day USCIS will begin accepting applications).
Once USCIS approves your application and you receive your employment authorization document (work permit card), you may begin working in the United States!
This past week I have been getting a few calls asking about whether California still had slots available for the Conrad 30 program.
Although California is not like other states such as Texas, that typically fill their slots on the first day slots become available, California filled all of their slots for the J1 Waiver Conrad 30 Program for the October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015 fiscal year on February 26, 2015.
Since I am an optimist, I will put a positive spin on this. The good news is now is the perfect time to plan for the next application cycle ( on October 1, 2015 you can apply for a Conrad 30 waiver in California). If you are a physician you should start looking for a job now. If you are an employer you should start the interview process.
Call our office at 916-613-3553 if you have further questions or to get a copy of my free book on the J1 Waiver process.
O1 Visas for Foreign Medical Doctors Seeking Employment in the United States
Who Qualifies for an O1 Visa and How to Apply
The Ranchod Law Group represents foreign medical doctors seeking employment in the United States. In the article we use the terms medical doctor and physician interchangeably. The Ranchod Law Group also represents hospitals, clinics and health care organizations find qualified physicians: We help many foreign medical doctors live and work in the U.S. and we help many medical facilities hire or retain the foreign doctors they so desperately need and want.
Commonly, our doctor clients come to us after they have completed residency in J1 status. We obtain their J1 waiver, their H1B, and ultimately lawful permanent residency (a greencard). In a similar vein, our medical facility clients typically come to us looking to hire foreign doctors who completed their residency in J status. Both our medical facility clients and our doctor clients occasionally wonder about other options besides the costly and time consuming H1B and labor certification process. If the doctor qualifies, the O1 visa can be a great option. Although the O1 visa can be sought by a variety of professions, it is O1A visa that is typically the type of O visa sought by foreign medical doctors. In this article, we will be referring to the O1A as simply O1.
Qualifying for an O1 visa
To qualify for an O1 visa, the doctor must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and the doctor must be coming or staying temporarily in the U.S. to continue work in his or her area of extraordinary ability. Extraordinary ability means that the doctor is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of his or her field.
At first glance the O1 requirement of extraordinary ability may seem unattainable but by narrowing the doctor’s field it may be possible.
Let’s take the hypothetical case of Felipe:
- Felipe is a native and citizen of Barbados.
- Felipe completed residency in the U.S. in the field of anesthesia.
- Felipe then completed a fellowship in pediatrics.
Specifically, Felipe focuses his time working on pediatric patients needing full body casts for the treatment of scoliosis. Felipe could argue extraordinary ability in the field of anesthesiology for cases of full body casts for the treatment of scoliosis in pediatric patients. Felipe can argue national acclaim in Barbados and use the O1 visa to continue work on anesthetizing pediatric patients needing full body casts for the treatment of scoliosis.
By narrowing Felipe’s field, we have made him one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of his very particular field.
Does Felipe have international or national recognition as an anesthesiologist? Definitely not.
Does Felipe have international or national recognition as a pediatric anesthesiologist? Probably not.
Now, in his field of anesthesiology for cases of full body casts for the treatment of scoliosis in pediatric patients he is definitely the best (and possibly the only physician with such a dedication) in Barbados and he is probably one of the best internationally in his VERY limited field. Felipe must also meet the other O1 visa requirements discussed below.
To obtain an O1 visa, the doctor will have to submit evidence of a major, internationally-recognized, award OR evidence of at least (3) three of the following events related to his career:
- Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the doctor’s field;
- Membership in associations in the doctor’s field which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the doctor’s field;
- Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the doctor and the doctor’s work in the doctor’s field;
- Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the doctor’s field;
- Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the doctor’s field;
- A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence;
- Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to the doctor’s field;
- Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.
The doctor may also submit comparable evidence in order to establish eligibility by arguing the above standards do not apply to the doctor’s unique field. This opens the door for Felipe, from the above hypothetical, to submit other comparable evidence from his very specific field.
The application for the O1 visa must also be accompanied by the following:
- A written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person designated by the group with expertise in the doctor’s area of ability. If Felipe, from the above hypothetical, demonstrates that an appropriate peer group, including a labor organization, does not exist in his field the decision will be based on the other evidence of record.
- A contract between the doctor and a medical facility or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the doctor will be employed. Such evidence may include but is not limited to: emails between the doctor and the medical facility, a written summation of the terms of the agreement, or any other evidence which demonstrates that an oral agreement was created. The summary does not have to be signed. However, it must document the terms of the employment offered and that the doctor has agreed to the offer.
- An itinerary or explanation of the work the doctor will be completing in the U.S. with beginning and ending dates. For example, in Felipe’s case the itinerary would probably be a more detailed version of the following “January 2014 – January 2017: Anesthetize pediatric patients needing full body casts for the treatment of scoliosis at ABC Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, California. ABC Children’s Hospital typically has X number of these cases per year.”
- Evidence regarding the wage offered, but note that unlike with the H1B there is no prevailing wage requirement. Furthermore, no particular wage structure is required. A detailed description of the wage offered or fee structure and that the wage offered/ fee structure was agreed upon may satisfy this requirement.
Why you should apply for an O1 Visa
The O1 visa is for an initial stay up to three years, and can be extended in one year periods indefinitely as needed! This is a major advantage of the O1 visa.
Like with the H1B, the doctor can pursue lawful permanent residency (a greencard) while in O1 status if the doctor so decides.
Contact us today to discuss the possibility of an O1 visa
Although I recommend that you start the PERM process as soon as possible you can wait to apply for your PERM application. I would recommend that you start the PERM green card process early because the entire green card process usually takes more than one year. You can extend your H1B beyond the six year limit if your PERM application has been pending for more than one year. Additionally, if your I-140 is approved but you are unable to apply for your I-485 green card you could extend your H1B in three year increments. If you wait until your 5th year in H1B status you may not have enough time to take advantage of these benefits while maintaining legal status in the U.S.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established. Privacy Notice