Emergency Visa Services for Medical Professionals During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

Eliza Grinberg's picture

On April 8, 2020, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) published a short update regarding emergency visa services for those seeking to enter the United States as immigrants or nonimmigrants as medical professionals [PDF version].

Although the DOS is no longer performing routine visa services due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak [see blog], it advises medical professionals with approved nonimmigrant or immigrant visa petitions with a current priority date or similar to review the website of their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for information about how to request an emergency visa appointment. The DOS extended the same advice to those with a certificate of eligibility in an approved exchange visitor program (DS-2019). Aliens seeking entry as immigrants to work as doctors and nurses are generally exempt from the restrictions on entry by aliens seeking entry as immigrants under President Donald Trump's April 22, 2020, Presidential Proclamation [see article].

The DOS provided additional guidance for J1 alien physicians already in the United States as medical residents. The DOS stated that J1 medical residents may consult with their program sponsor to extend their programs in the United States. J1 medical residents may generally have their program extended one year at a time for up to seven years. Requests for extensions of stay are adjudicated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Emergency Visa Services for Medical Professionals During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak