The Physician Immigration Handbook, Fourth Edition

A Guide to the U.S. Immigration System
for International Medical Graduates,
Recruiters, and Employers


Nearly 10,000 international medical graduates (IMGs) receive certification yearly from the U.S. Educational Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), eventually leading to admittance to U.S. graduate medical training programs. American physician training is considered a “gold standard,” which has led to hospitals around the world recruiting physicians who possess U.S. academic credentials. How physicians jump through the necessary legal hoops to get to the United States and how they remain in the United States to pursue their careers is covered in The Physician Immigration Handbook, now in its fourth edition, written by renowned immigration attorneys Greg Siskind and Elissa Taub. Released March 2019, The Physician Immigration Handbook (4th Ed.) simplifies the U.S. visa process and explains what foreign physicians need to know to apply for graduate medical training at teaching hospitals in the United States, and how they can remain in the United States as permanent residents.


“The vast majority of IMGs come to the United States initially for graduate medical training,” says Greg Siskind, an accomplished author and one of the best-known immigration attorneys in America. “Indeed, most states require such American medical training to get a license. The Physician Immigration Handbook follows that path.”


Because Greg and Elissa have represented foreign physicians and medical institutions for many years, they are able to break down the complexities of the visa process in a straightforward and easy-to-read, Q&A format. First, The Physician Immigration Handbook reviews the application process through which physicians receive ECFMG certification. Then it discusses the two major immigration pathways open to IMGs who want to come to the United States for graduate medical training—the J-1 visa and the H-1B visa. The Handbook walks the IMG through training to post-training work, then on to permanent residency—the “green-card” process—and ultimately to U.S. citizenship. It even delves into employment issues, such as layoffs, mergers, and acquisitions, while also discussing special benefits available to foreign physicians in the U.S. military.


Greg and Elissa have written this Handbook as a guide for IMGs, but it also can be used by attorneys, recruiters, human resource professionals, and even government officials who need to know how the U.S. immigration system works in regard to foreign physicians and the special rules applied to physicians within that framework.


The Physician Immigration Handbook contains detailed answers to the most common questions about the process of applying for medical training in the United States, such as:


  • What is an ECFMG certificate and why do I need it?
  • What types of graduate medical training programs are available in the United States?
  • What is the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)?
  • What is “the Match”?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the J-1 and H-1B visas?
  • Why does a foreign physician need a visitor visa to pursue graduate medical training in the United States?
  • What documentation does ECFMG expect from a physician applying for J-1 sponsorship?
  • What is the home-residency requirement?
  • What are the most important factors a physician must consider when seeking employment on an H-1B visa?

How does a foreign physician start the nonimmigrant visa application process?

To preview the table of contents, click here.

Sign up here to receive any updates published between editions of the book. In addition, you may also download certain appendices from the book for FREE. Go to Supplemental Appendices to download: App. D: Immigration Questionnaire for Physician Candidate; App. E: Immigration Questionnaire for Physician Employer; App. F: Flowchart for J-1 Basic Interested Government Agency Physician Waiver; App. G: Flowchart for Physicians on Training H-1Bs.


! The Physician Immigration Handbook is available online at the following retailers:


Media Contact:
Andrew Bagley
Siskind Susser PC