United States Visa Guide for USMLE, Electives and Residency

United States Visa Guide for USMLE, Electives and Residency

VISA B1/B2- When Should Be Applied & with What Perspectives:

Article by : Waqas Nawaz MD

There are three points where visa can be applied . Each point has it's own positives and negatives :

1. On the basis of Electives : 

Visa can be applied on the basis of electives. The success chance is 60-70 percent and if gets visa one can go to USA either in final year summer vacation or immediately after final year.
If visa obtained , one should not only do the electives but also do CS on same trip as Cs does not depend on Step 1and 2 . One can pass CS even before step 1 and 2.

2- On basis of USMLE Step 2 CS after taking USMLE Step 1 :
Second point where visa can be applied is after step 1 and before step 2. Success chance is 70-80 percent as they may ask you to do step 2 first and then apply for visa . ( I applied visa after step 1 and fortunately got it ) . You should get registered for CS and take a date of CS before applying visa. That date can be postponed later on once you get visa . Advantage is that you can go to USA early and while doing your rotations , you can prepare for step 2 that may save time if you are late for match . I adopted this way and prepared for step 2 while doing rotations as I was late for match . You can take step 2 ck in USA and then take cs and step 3 in same trip

3-On Basis of USMLE Step 2 CS After USMLE Step 1 and 2 :

Third point where visa can be applied is after step 1 and step 2 on basis of Cs. Success chance is 80-90 (highest) percent and this is point where most of IMGs apply visa. One should be registered for CS before visa application.
One can apply visa at any of these points depending on his circumstances . Remember if refused once, it does not mean that you can not get visa . There are examples when after getting refused even 4 times people got visa . Moreover , externships or observerships don't promise visa as much as electives . Rather observerships / externships decrease chance of visa if u apply visa solely on the basis of them instead of CS. I applied visa on basis of both Cs and externships . I was told to show cancellation of externship because they thought that I would get some pay for externship that is not legal on visit visa . After showing cancellation , I was given visa ( although I still did externships). So don't think that mentioning observership / externship will help u getting visa . Instead Cs is more helpful in getting visa as you have solid proof why u wanna go there .

Other factors which help / support in getting visit visa are : >strong bank statement
> working status in Pakistan ( another thing that makes house Job imp )
>Travel history
> married status


Chance VISE: visa at Point 3> point 1> point 2

Advantage Vise: Visa at point 1> point 2>point 3

Any questions will be appreciated !

J-1 Visa

Explained by Dr. Irfan Ahsan

 J-1 visa is a Student Exchange program. 
A) If you are getting visa through ECFMG to begin your US Residency then you are subject to following 2 clauses:
1) Rule 212E applies to you means---- you are subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, also known as the foreign residence requirement under U.S. law.
2) You can't change your visa status before fulfilling this home residency physical presence requirement or completing a waive job. 

B) If you are given J-1 Research Scholar visa directly through program then it depends on source of funding that is given to you. There are 3 points to be noted in this regard.

i : If your funding is from USA government (NIH)
ii: If your funding is from your own home country government.
iii: Your country is in the Skills list subject to rule 212 E.( Pakistan is not in the skills list).

If any of these three apply to you when you get paid research spot in USA sponsored by program then you are subject to 2 year home residency physical presence requirement/Waiver job within USA (if you don't wanna go back). In this case you CANNOT CHANGE YOUR VISA STATUS FROM J-1 TO ANY OTHER VISA LIKE H1b/GREEN CARD. 

If all the above three point don't apply on you then you can change your visa status from J-1 to H1b. 

References can be found here:



JazakAllah Khair.


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