UAB is a world-class academic medical center with over 94 accredited residency and subspecialty programs across our five medical campuses. The international office is here to help departments and international medical graduates navigate the immigration process.

At UAB, departments and programs are quite decentralized and consider immigration statuses in consultation with the international office. The majority of UAB’s international residents and fellows come to UAB in J-1 status sponsored by ECFMG, and this is the institutionally preferred route. However, some residents and fellows may be ineligible for J-1 status and need to, or have the option to, come to UAB in another immigration status, such as H-1B, O-1, or even on a USCIS-issued work authorization card (“EAD”).

Your hiring department will work with the international office to begin the immigration process for you. Please see below for important information concerning the next steps.

The J-1 Physician Waiver Process

If you are in your last year of J-1 medical training and will need J-1 waiver sponsorship in order to obtain H-1B work authorization to begin a clinical faculty position with us, please note that UAB and HSF participate in the Conrad 30 J-1 waiver program through the Alabama Department of Public Health. Department requests for J-1 waiver sponsorship go through an internal review process at the institution before being submitted to an outside attorney for the waiver application process. First, the ADPH and the Department of State must each issue favorable waiver recommendations, and then US Citizenship and Immigration Services must make the final waiver approval so that you can change immigration status to H-1B.

In parallel, the ISSS office will work with you and the hiring department to assemble all of the documentation necessary to have the H-1B petition ready to file as soon as the USCIS Vermont Service Center approves the waiver application. The exact timing can be unpredictable, so we strongly advise you to work with ECFMG and your current medical training institution to extend your DS-2019 through the summer for boards so that you can remain in the US in valid J-1 status until the H-1B petition is approved.

H-1B Processing – New Hire/First H-1B with UAB

What documents do I need to provide?

Our office must receive all of the following information from you to begin the H-1B process. Please read the list carefully and submit pdf copies of ALL of the following documents. Please do not send pictures or screen shots. We need clear, legible copies to file with USCIS. We cannot file the H-1B petition without ALL necessary documents. Please send all attachments in one email or via Dropbox/Box.

  • Information Sheet
  • Current CV
  • Diploma and transcript of medical degree (all documents in a language other than English, including Latin, must be accompanied by a notarized translation)
  • Education equivalency evaluation for medical degree earned outside the US*
  • Step 1, 2 CS, 2 CK, and 3 USMLE Score Reports (or USMLE Transcript of Scores)
  • ECFMG Certificate (unless you attended a Canadian medical school)
  • Certificate(s) of completion of residency and any fellowship(s)
  • Alabama medical license**
  • Biographical/identification page of your valid passport and all expired passports
  • All US visa stamps in valid passport and all expired passports (not entry/exit ink stamps—just the physical visa stamps)
  • Most recent Form I-94
  • All prior immigration documents covering entire period of stay and work authorization in the US in any immigration status (e.g., Forms I-20, DS-2019, I-797, I-612 waiver approval, I-140 approval notice, I-485 receipt notice, and all EAD cards for OPT, H-4, J-2, DACA, TPS, etc.)
  • Three most recent pay statements (if currently employed in the US)

Education Equivalency Evaluation

The federal immigration regulations governing the H-1B process [8 CFR § 212.4(h)(4)(iii)(C)(2)] require an education equivalency evaluation for all degrees earned outside the US. Education equivalency (confirmation that your international degree is equivalent to obtaining a certain degree as awarded by a US institution) is not the same as education verification (which merely confirms that you received a certain degree). It is UAB policy to include an education equivalency evaluation with every H-1B petition in order to avoid a delay in adjudiction in the event that USCIS issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) asking for the evaluation. Please begin the process of obtaining an education equivalency evaluation as soon as possible to avoid delays in filing your petition. USCIS routinely accepts evaluations provided by members of NACES and Lisano International.

When can I start working at UAB?

All H-1B petitions in the School of Medicine are premium processed for adjudication within 15 calendar days.

H-1B Processing – Current Physicians Extending H-1B Status

What documents do I need to provide?

Our office must receive all of the following information from you to begin the H-1B process. Please read the list carefully and submit pdf copies of ALL of the following documents. Please do not send pictures or screen shots. We need clear, legible copies to file with USCIS. We cannot file the H-1B petition without ALL necessary documents. Please send all attachments in one email or via Dropbox/Box.

  • Information Sheet
  • Current CV
  • Alabama medical license
  • Biographical/identification page of your valid passport (if renewed since last H-1B filing)
  • Any new US visa stamps received since last filing (not entry/exit ink stamps—just the physical visa stamps)
  • Most recent Form I-94
  • All new immigration documents received since last filing (e.g., I-140 receipt or approval notice, I-485 receipt notice, etc.)
  • Three most recent pay statements from both UAB and HSF (if dually-appointed)

Do I need to wait until the extension is approved to continue working?

No. Once an extension petition is filed with USCIS, you are authorized to work for up to 240 days beyond the end date of your current H-1B. You cannot travel internationally while the extension is pending. All H-1B petitions in the School of Medicine are premium processed for adjudication within 15 calendar days. Current USCIS processing time is 7 months. If you must travel internationally after the extension is filed, we will need a check for $1,410 to request premium processing so that you will have an approval notice in hand before you leave the US. You must take the original, hard copy USCIS Form I-797 approval notice with you to your visa interview at a US consulate/embassy abroad.

Dual Appointments/Dual Funding

As employees at an academic medical institution, most residents, fellows, and clinical faculty will receive a salary from two separate entities: the University of Alabama at Birmingham (“UAB”) and the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation, PC (“HSF”). The funding split is determined at the department level and not by the international office. UAB and HSF are separate, but affiliated, entities with separate federal tax IDs. If you receive a salary from both entities, the international office must file two separate H-1B petitions for you, and you will receive two separate USCIS approval notices.

To view your pay statements from UAB:

To view your pay statements from HSF:

  • Go to the Lawson system.
  • Enter your LAWSON ID and password (which may be different than your UAB Blazer ID and password).
    • Generally speaking, your ID is your first initial and then your last name.
    • Generally speaking, your password is: hashtag, first and last initials, the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number, hashtag
    • Example: 
      Your nameJohn Smith
      ID - jsmith
      Password - #jsxxxx# (with the x’s representing the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number)
  • Once you have logged in, click on “Bookmarks” at the top left of the screen to access the drop-down menu. Next, place your cursor on “Employee Self-Service” in the drop-down menu. Then move your cursor over “Pay” and click on “Pay Checks.”

Credentialing and Alabama Medical Licensure

The UAB Medical and Dental Staff Office (MDSO) processes the paperwork necessary for you to obtain permission to work as a physician in UAB and HSF clinical spaces. This process runs in parallel with the H-1B process to the extent possible, but at the very least we must have proof that you have applied for an Alabama medical license before we can file an H-1B petition. If this is your first time in the US, you will not be able to receive an Alabama medical license until you arrive here and obtain a Social Security number. This is an Alabama rule, not a UAB, USCIS, or ISSS rule.

If you hold a restricted or special Alabama license, we can extend the H-1B only one year at a time; once you hold an unrestricted license, we can extend the H-1B for a full three years.

Filing Fees

All H-1B petitions (new and extensions) are filed using the USCIS premium processing option to obtain approval within 15 calendar days. If you are dually-appointed (concurrently employed), we will generally file only one of the petitions with premium processing and file the other, concurrent one via standard processing. You are responsible for the USCIS filing and biometric fees for any dependents (spouse and children) who will need to obtain or extend their H-4 status.

Final Housekeeping

You must update USCIS with your new residential address within 10 days of any move. You can do so by filing Form AR-11 online. Please notify your department administrator and ISSS also at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) allows a 60-day grace period for driving on out-of-state or expired licenses in Alabama. You can take your Form I-797 Notice of Approval or Notice of Receipt to the DMV at any time 30 days before or 60 days after your license expires in order to renew it.

To apply for a Social Security number, please take your offer letter from UAB/HSF, your Form I-94, Form SS-5, and your passport to the Birmingham Social Security Administration building at 1200 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35285.