H1b visa question

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5+ Year Member
May 13, 2011
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So it is my understanding that one needs to have taken the Step 3 to be eligible for H1b visa, but when the med student is in 4th year interviewing for residency spots that will hopefully sponsor a h1b visa, the applicant is still at least one year away from getting the Step 3 score?

I hope my question is clear thanks


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15+ Year Member
Oct 11, 2006
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Basically, yes.

In order to get an H, you need Step 3. There are exceptions for international students on F visas at US medical schools.

In order to take Step 3, you must have passed steps 1 and 2, graduated from medical school, and IMG's must be ECFMG certified. Some international schools graduate in December rather than June -- in that case you could graduate in December, register and take Step 3, and then theoretically start in July on an H. But realistically this is not a likely plan -- you can't register for Step 3 until you are ECFMG certified, that can take a few weeks after you graduate, then there is a delay until you can take Step 3, then until you get your score back. And you can't apply for the visa until you have your Step 3. So fitting that all in from Dec to June and starting on time is unlikely. Plus, many programs that offer H visas won't interview you without ECFMG certification and Step 3 complete, for this exact reason.

So, many IMG's getting H visas have a 1 year gap from school to residency.
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