To qualify as a “person of extraordinary ability” and obtain an immigrant visa (green card), a foreign born physician must meet requirements similar to those for the O-1 visa. Or, in other words, he must prove that he is “one of the few who has risen to the top of his field,” either nationally or internationally. As a result, he must be the recipient of either (i) a major, internationally recognized award or (ii) at least three of the following distinctions:
- The physician has received nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in his area of expertise;
- The physician belongs to professional associations which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts;
- The physician has been the subject of articles in major media or trade publications relating to his work;
- The physician has participated on a panel or as a judge of the work of others in his area of practice;
- The physician has made original scientific or scholarly contributions of major significance;
- The physician has written scholarly articles that have been published in professional journals or other major media;
- The physician has worked in a critical capacity for an organization with a distinguished reputation in the field of medicine; or
- The physician has commanded a high salary or other compensation.
The chief advantage of qualifying as a person of extraordinary ability is that the physician can “self-sponsor.” In other words, the physician does not need an employer sponsor. The physician need only show that he intends to continue work in the field of his extraordinary ability. Evidence of this intent can include an employment contract, an offer of employment, or simply an expressed intent to engage in self-employment.
However, most physicians do not qualify as persons of extraordinary ability. To do so, a physician must produce extensive documentation and the support of medical experts to show that the physician has “risen to the top of the field.”
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