Strategies For The Physician Approaching The Six-Year Limit

There are a number of important strategies for physicians who are approaching the six-year limit of their H-1 eligibility.

The Immigration Act provides that those who have a labor certification pending for more than one year when their sixth year of eligibility completes, one-year status extensions of the H-1B visa are available on an annual basis until there is a final solution of the immigration based upon their respective labor certification. The labor certification may be petitioned for by an employer different from the one petitioning the H-1. The labor certification petitioner may include either a present employer or a future prospective employer who might like to employ the individual in the future when the beneficiary's permanent residence is granted.

The second important strategy for dealing with physicians who approach the sixth-year eligibility is to obtain another non-immigrant status such as TN, O-1, or E-1.

The third strategy is for the beneficiary to adjust status to legal permanent resident based upon simultaneous filing of an extraordinary ability EB-1/NIW or NIW/HPSA.

Finally, certain circumstances of the six-year eligibility may be reclaimed if, for example, the beneficiary enters the U.S. for the first time after the original petition is approved or during the six years has spent time outside of the U.S. which has been "meaningful interruption" of status."