Immigration Issues for Canadian Physicians

Immigration matters are a concern for Canadian physicians. Canadians do need visas to the United States despite the fact that Canadian physicians have a good deal of access to the United States and overlap culturally from the standpoint of training and education. Nevertheless, Canadians need immigration permission to come to the United States. But unlike foreign nationals of other countries, Canadians do not need visa stamps in their passports. Rather, Canadians need to receive permission to come to the United States and then present themselves for entry right at the border. That is a major benefit in terms of speeding up the immigration process.

What are the special considerations when it comes to the immigration prospects of Canadian physicians for gaining immigration status?

H-1B Visa

H-1B is a temporary, non-immigrant visa status. It is good for up to 6 years. In order for a Canadian to obtain H-1B status, a Canadian physician needs to have passed all 3 steps of the USMLE. Unfortunately, the LMCC is not an appropriate or recognized test credential for H-1B purposes. The LMCC is recognized by all state jurisdictions in terms of granting a license; but nevertheless, U.S. immigration laws require that a Canadian physician have passed all 3 steps of the USMLE in order to gain H-1B status. Certainly one big advantage of H-1B is that it can normally be obtained in a relatively short leave time.

Permanent Residence

Canadian medical education and Canadian medical training are fully recognized by U.S. immigration laws for green card or permanent resident purposes. So this means that for permanent residents, a Canadian does not need to take any further test credentials. The problem, though, is that permanent residence can often times take a significant period of time - sometimes amounting to years. Therefore, in terms of creating a smooth transition for a Canadian to come to the United States, a Canadian physician will need to sit and pass all three steps of the USMLE, thereby gaining eligibility for H-1B status and that in turn creates a very good platform for thereafter proceeding forward toward permanent residence.

This article is included to inform you, in general, about U.S. immigration law. The information contained herein is not intended to provide solutions to individual problems. Thus, it cannot be relied on as legal advice. We caution you to not attempt to solve individual problems on the basis of this information and advise you to seek competent legal counsel to address your specific issues.

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