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Immigration Issues/Questions regarding green card for Physical Therapist


QUESTION: Hi Ramasamy,
I am an International physical therapist student in S.U. N.Y. Upstate Medical University. I am expecting to graduate in May 2009. I have several questions regarding O.P.T as well as green card for Physical therapist.

When is the best time for me to start my O.P.T.?   and when is the best time for me to apply for H1 Visa, and green card?

I was looking at some websites, it said that Physical Therapist is qualified for Schedule A. I was wondering what is the requirement & procedure for applying green card on Schedule A?
    1. Do I have to work under H1-visa before I apply for green card or can I apply for the green card while I work under O.P.T.?
    2. How long will it take for the processing of green card on Schedule A?
    3. What is the best way for me to obtain green card in your opinion?
I look forward to your reply.
Thank you so much for your time.

The best time for you to apply for OPT would be 3-5 months prior to your graduation. Contact your international student advisor, they are usually knowledgeable about the OPT processing times.
Physical Therapist do qualify for Schedule A but currently there are no Schedule A visas available. Since there are no visa numbers available you would need to work on H-1B visa. Hopefully, before you graduate (2009) they pass laws to increase the number of Schedule A visas as there is a shortage of nurses and therapists.

Ramasamy Krishnan

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Ramasamy,
Thanks for your reply, I have several questions here:

You mentioned that currently there are no visa available under Schedule A, does that mean that the Immigration issue a certain number of visas for Schedule A each year? or do they completely eliminate this Schedule A green card application?

If you meant the Visas under Schedule A has "run-out", how many do they issue each year under Schedule A?

How long does it normally take to get a green card on Schedule?

Thanks again

It is not available every year, Congress passed laws specifically granting Schedule A visas and there is none available. You would need to apply under the regular employment-based categories which are oversubscribed at this moment.
To answer "How long does it normally take to get a green card on Schedule?" I am unable to give you an exact time period but I would estimate it to take couple of years or longer. You need to check the document called visa bulletin.(google this)

Ramasamy Krishnan  

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Ramasamy Krishnan


Immigration particularly business immigration and National Interest Waivers.


I have over 7 years of experience in all facets of immigration law. Specifically focusing on filing of National Interest Waivers (NIW), Alien of Extraordinary Ability and Outstanding Researchers/Professors petitions for Ph.D's and other advanced degree professionals. I have also assisted clients in numerous PERM, H-1b, L and other nonimmigrant visa applications. I am a partner at the law firm Ashley & Krishnan,

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