Physicians: Hardship and Persecution Waivers

Immigration Attorney Carl Shusterman (Former INS Attorney 1976-82) explains how International Medical Graduates (IMGs) and Canadian physicians can obtain J waivers through by demonstrating exceptional hardship or persecution if they were forced to return to their home countries for two years.

A hardship waiver should be submitted to the USCIS if the physician can demonstrate that his spouse and children would suffer “exceptional hardship” if he were forced to return to his country for two years. The hardship can be economic, emotional, physical, employment-related, etc.

The physician can apply for a persecution waiver if he can demonstrate that he would be persecuted due to race, religion, or political opinion if he returned to his home country. The burden of proof for a persecution waiver is higher than that for asylum.


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“I work with Merritt Hawkins, the largest physician search firm in the United States. For over 20 years, we have partnered with The Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, which assists us in obtaining visas for the many international physicians we recruit. Mr. Shusterman and his staff have been an indispensable resource of expertise, allowing us to recruit international doctors in the most efficient manner possible on behalf of our clients.”

- Phil Miller, Merritt Hawkins, Dallas, Texas
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Our law firm has assisted over 2,000 IMGs and Canadian physicians in obtaining J waivers and green cards over the past 30 years.

Further information is available on our J Waivers for Physicians page.

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