Clinical physicians seeking H-1B nonimmigrant visas typically must show that they have earned an MD or foreign medical degree; passing USMLE scores; ECFMG certification or English language competency; and a medical license in the state of intended employment. Physicians of “national or international renown,” however, are exempt from the USMLE requirement. As a practical matter, only Canadian-trained physicians qualify for the international renown exemption, as all except for Canadian-trained physicians must pass the USMLE in order to obtain a state medical license.

A physician of “national or international renown” is defined by USCIS as a physician “who is widely acclaimed and highly honored in the field of medicine within one or more countries.” In order to guard against different standards for different physicians depending on the size and resources of the qualifying nation, the definition includes the caveat that “achievements leading to national renown are comparable to that which would result in national renown in the United States.”

USCIS provides a non-exhaustive list of evidence that may be submitted to demonstrate qualification under the national or international renown standard.  USCIS has not defined the quantity or quality of the kind of evidence that is required, but provides the below list as a guideline for the kind of evidence it will consider when presented with this type of case:

  • Documentation of the beneficiary’s receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards in the field of medicine;
  • Evidence of the beneficiary’s authorship of scientific or scholarly articles in the field of medicine published in professional journals, major trade publications, or other major media;
  • Published material about the beneficiary’s work in the medical field that appears in professional journals, major trade publications, or other major media (which includes the title, date, and author of such material);
  • Evidence that the beneficiary has been employed in a critical, leading, or essential capacity for organizations or establishments that have distinguished reputations in the field of medicine;
  • Evidence of the beneficiary serving as a speaker or panelist at medical conferences;
  • Evidence of the beneficiary’s participation as a judge of the work of others in the medical field;
  • Documentation of the beneficiary’s membership in medical associations, which require significant achievements of their members, as judged by recognized experts in the field of medicine;
  • Evidence that the beneficiary has received recognition for his/her achievements or contributions from recognized authorities in the field of medicine; and
  • Any other evidence demonstrating the beneficiary’s achievements, contributions, and/or acclaim in the medical field.