10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 22, 2008
Resident [Any Field]
I'm a China citizen currently enrolled in a medical school (Peking University MD program) in China. And I'm pursuing pratice medicine in US. As far as I know, two types of visa are available for international medical graduate (IMG): J1 and H1-B.

To get a J1 visa, a statement of need from the ministry of health of my home country is required. Unfortunately, China ministry of health refuse to provide this letter.

Therefore, applying for H1-B may be more practical for Chinese medical graduates. To my knowledge, however, almost all Chinese medical graduates get green card before matching for US residency program. But it takes years to get green card, so most of them graduate from medical school for more than 10 years before matching. However, most programs require that applicants should be within 5 years after graduation. So opportunity for them are greatly reduced.

An additional problem is that even if I'm willing to wait for green card as my predecessors, it becomes more difficult for IMG to enter US these days, let alone get a green card. In the past, CMG (Chinese medical graduate) enter USA by getting into an American PhD program, so their living expense is covered by financial aid. And they wait for years for green card. But it become much more difficult to get financial aid these days (probably because of economic depression),especially for medical student, since medical student do not have much experience in lab research.But my family and I cannot afford the tuition fee. Another way to get into US is applying for a postdoctor position in basic science research, but it is likewise difficult for medical student since we don't have research experience.

Now it seems that my only choice is to apply for H1-B visa. But I have to pass all steps of USMLE, while step 2 CS and step 3 are only available in US. Therefore, what I should do is to pass step 1 and step 2 CK and then apply for a B visa (someone told me that) to enter US and then take the rest of USMLE. What's the chances of getting this B visa (I've heard someone are rejected)? And since I'll have to stay in US for a period of time to finish all exams and matching for resident position, I will be responsible for all living expense and application fee during this period of time and I'm not sure if I can afford it.

I've heard that IMGs from many countries have successfully match into US resident programs with H1-B. So are there any IMGs on this site who have such experience? Could you tell me about your experience? How do you manage to get into US? by B visa? If so, what's the chances of getting B visa? How long does it take from getting into US to beginning resident training? And does B visa cover this period of time? And what's the total expense during this period of time?

Thanks for any reponses in advance!!!:)


10+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2006
Far away
Medical Student
I can't see why you're so worried about getting the B visa. All what you have to do, IMHO, is to take Step 1 and CK in china, then apply for B visa to take Step 2 CS in the states. Your B visa may be valid by the time you are certified and want to take Step 3. Apply for programs that offer H visa and hope for the best.

There's always a chance that your B visa will be rejected or delayed. How long it takes to be processed? hours to years. Nobody can make a guess about how your B visa will be processed. You may refer to the US embassy's website in your country. When I applied, they said 80% of applicants get the visa within a short period of time.