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PostSubject: Visa for Residency   Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:06 pm

I’ve tried to compile a set of FAQs from various sources (including a few threads from our US visa forum). Forgive me for the plagiarism cos its for the larger good.. icon_smile.gif

Please add any relevant information you find, so that we could build a substantial information database for our own RxPG community

Q. On what visas can an IMG do his/her residency?
A. J1 (commonly) and H1 are the visas given to the IMGs who are admitted to the residency programs in the US.

Q. So most people have advised me to try and go on an H1B visa. Why is it so?
A. Well H1 is definitely preferred but since, it is offered by few programs, it limits the number of programs you can apply for. It has the advantage that the mandatory requirement of coming back to home country for 2 years (as in J1) is not a headache. Plus getting a green card

Q. Is H1B more difficult to get as everyone wants it?
A. Yes, beacause its given only by 20-30% programs, majority of which are community hospitals. Many of these programs don’t declare in advance their willingness to give H1. They sometimes consider sponsoring it if they find the candidate suitable enough.

The reason for their reluctance is that acco to the law, it’s the employer who has to bear the cost of sponsoring H1 visa, which includes lot of paperwork and attorney costs. So at times they agree if the candidate agrees to bear the expenses which hover around $1000.

Q. With J1, IMG is obligated to return to his country after completing his residency program. Is it possible to change J1 visa, during residency program, to the other tipe of visas or some other residency status?
A. Not during your residency. Following training, include fellowship here, you will need to find an employer who will sponsor you for permanent residency or your green card (which are now pink). But it is following the training. You should start looking for the waiver position about half way through your training, giving about 18 months to 2 years to complete the paperwork process.

You are correct, with H1B, the visa holder has no obligation of returning to your home country. You still have to find an employer who will sponsor the change of the H1B to the green card - don't assume that it is the hospital that gives you the H visa. The hospital that I work for will sponsor an H1B visa, but will not sponsor to change it to permanent residency. Also, you should know that most fellowships will not sponsor an H1B visa - so if you want to subspecialize, you would be better off getting your J1 visa and looking for a waiver prior to finishing your fellowship.

Q. What requirements should the IMG satisfy in order to obtain this visa?
A. To obtain a H1B visa, you must have USMLE Steps 1, 2 and 3. You must have current ECFMG certification. And you must have the training license for the state that you will be working in. And you must have all this in your hands prior to submitting a complete application.

Q. Is it difficult to change this visa later to permanent resident status ?
A. Not if you find an employer willing to sponsor you.

Q. How large are costs of issuing this visa for IMG?
A. The J1 visa will cost you about $130 dollars. This doesn't count the cost of the exams and the CSA. The H1B doesn't cost as much - but most programs will strongly encourage you to pay for the premium processing. And it does work. And, a little known fact, it is written into the rules of the H1B visa, that the employer must pay for the fees for this visa.

Q. I heard that the rejection rate for J1 is very high?
A. Absolutely not. This visa is sponsored by ECFMG. It is a fairly straight forward situation.

Q. I heard that even H1B requires a stay outside US for 1 year?
A. Well H1B can be extended to 6 years maximum except under certain rare circumstances. After that if you need H1 again you need to stay outside US for at least 1 year (not necessarily home country, as in J1). That applies even if your H1 expires and you have to reapply for a fresh visa.

Q. Is it easy to bring your spouse along on H1/J1 visa?
A. You can take your own family -- spouse and children as dependents under H-4 or its equivalent in J1 category. Parents can visit on B-2.

Q. I am suppose to leave that sort of impression on the person who is taking my interview such that he is convinced that i will come back to india, so in which all ways can i leave such impressions ?
A. The US visa officer can be convinced by you proving your financial ties, including that of your parents, in India wherein you have a claim. This shows that you will not leave such an opportunity and run away to the US. You must put together your liquid and fixed assets and show your net worth to the visa officer.

Q. For students going for further studies, what is considered conclusive proof that they are coming back? How much assets or liquid cash on hand should be shown?
A. There is no fixed amount of assets or liquid cash specified in the US immigration law. The law that operates is that the US consul who interviews you should be convinced you are a bona fide student, genuinely wanting to pursue higher studies in America. He should also be convinced you plan to return to India after your education and apply your knowledge here.

The ties shown by you should involve your economic attraction to India after graduation and the social roots to which you would return rather than stay in the US.

Statistics in the past have shown that seven to eight out of 10 students from India do not return. Therefore, consulates in India are very careful while granting student visas.

Q. Do consulate considers emergency cases?
A. Since the terrorist attack of 9/11, procedures have been tightened by the US authorities for security and safety. The consulate does consider emergency cases relating to accidents and deaths only.

Q. What does 221g mean?
A. 221g means visa is not given due to insufficient documents. The visa officer would want more details from you and, when available, you could go again. No new fees have to be paid in this case.

Q. How many attempts are allowed if a visa is denied?
A. You can apply any number of times after visa refusal but, each time you reapply, you have to pay the visa fees (Rs 4,600 + Rs 276 as service charge), fill fresh application forms and show 'new evidence' compared to the documents you presented when your visa application was rejected.

The new evidence should reveal changed circumstances with regard to your financial ties that will prove you are not an intending immigrant.
Visas are often denied due to the applicant's inability to prove he/she is not an intending immigrant and sometimes also because he/ she do not communicate well enough ie deliver answers to-the-point.

Also, if you have two refusals in a period of the last six months, you will have to wait in the normal queue for a visa appointment. You will not get a priority appointment to meet a university deadline if you have been refused a visa twice.

Q. I have applied for B1 visa. I am from north india and just and just a month back I’ve shifted to Bangalore. I had applied via Delhi consulate. Does it create a problem?
A. You need to alert the US Embassy in Delhi and the American consulate in Chennai about your change of location and approach the Chennai consulate accordingly. Chennai has the longest waiting period for appointments and your application will definitely be delayed.

Q. Will it be a problem during Visa stamping if my first name and last name are interchanged in passport. (provided I ensure that it will remained in the same way in all documents H1b papers, DS156,157)?
A. Take whatever documents you have to prove that although your name is written differently in different documents, you are the same person. That should satisfy the Consul.

Q. Do visas for students get rejected if the applicants have brothers and sisters in America?
This is an individual situation. The decision depends on a case-by-case basis.
If the US consul feels you are trying to get into the US in the guise of a student, with the possible support of your siblings in America, your application may be rejected. Likewise, if your brother or sister had gone to the US on an NIV (Non Immigrant Visa) and adjusted that status to permanent visa, you become a 'risk candidate'. It will then be left to the judgment of the interviewing officer to decide.

Q. Will having a relative in the US affect my visa application?
If you have a close relative like a parent or a spouse who is a US citizen or a permanent resident in the US, the consul may presume you are going there to join your family and will not return to India.
While the law does not prohibit the issuance of student visas to applicants who have close relatives in the US, it puts an additional burden on the applicant to prove his/ her non-immigrant intent.

In any case, it is extremely important to provide such information truthfully on your application. You must prove your financial ties, ie a substantial financial stake in your family property by showing property papers, etc. You must also express strong social ties with your parents or with your spouse and kids in India.
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