International Medical Graduates


International Medical Graduates who seek entry into U.S. programs of Graduate Medical Education (GME) must obtain a visa that allows clinical training to provide medical services.  The most common visa for international medical graduates to obtain is the J-1 visa.  To apply for a J-1 visa, an IMG must meet specific criteria, including having a valid ECFMG Certificate and contract or official letter of offer for a position in a program of Graduate Medical Education or training with a medical school.  After completing training in the United States, J-1 visa holders must return to their home country for a period of two years.  An individual must fulfill this obligation before becoming eligible for adjustment of status or a change of visa status to visas such as L-Intra-company transferee or H-temporary worker.

The only exception to the two-year home residence requirement of the J-1 visa program is to receive a waiver.  The law offices of John J. Hykel can help you determine whether you meet the circumstances necessary for such a waiver and will help you obtain one. Under the law, the following three circumstances can provide a waiver of the two-year residency requirement:

  • The waiver applicant can demonstrate that he or she will suffer from persecution in his or her home country or country of last legal permanent residence.
  • Fulfillment of the residency requirement would bring proven exceptional hardship to the applicant’s spouse and/or children who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • The applicant is sponsored by an Interested Governmental Agency (IGA) that is interested in the physician’s continued employment in the United States.

There are basically four (4) types of waiver, including extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen family, persecution, U.S. Government favorable recommendation and the Conrad 20 waivers. Mr. Hykel has helped countless international medical graduates obtain these waivers and obtain legal permanent residence in the United States. Please call or email the law offices of John Hykel and arrange for a consultation regarding your eligibility to obtain a waiver of the home residence requirement.