US: Emergency visa for medical professionals with approved H, J petitions

US Embassy in South Africa

The United States Embassy in Nigeria says the recent emergency visa appointment for medical professionals is only for individuals with approved H or J petition.

On Thursday, the United States asked “medical professionals seeking to work in the United States on a work or exchange visitor, particularly those working to treat or mitigate the effects of COVID-19, to reach out to the nearest embassy or consulate to request a visa appointment”.

This led to a backlash from many Nigerians who said the US would only make such a call when things are getting out of hand due to COVID19.

In response to this, the US Embassy in Nigeria issued a clarification that the call was not to recruit medical professionals but “only individuals with an approved H or J petition”.

The U.S. Mission wishes to clarify that the U.S. is not recruiting foreign medical professionals to assist in the COVID-19 response. Only individuals with an approved H or J petition will receive an emergency visa appointment.

— U.S. Mission Nigeria (@USEmbassyAbuja) March 27, 2020

H and J visas are non-immigrant visas for professionals who skilled across different spheres of life.

The H-1B visa allows US companies to employ graduate-level workers in specialty occupations that require expertise in specialized fields such as in IT, finance, and medicine.

According to Robin Lerner, deputy assistant secretary of state for private-sector exchange, J-1 visas are for “bright, motivated, and leaders in their home countries and they return home to do great things all while keeping in touch with their American friends”.

They “experience American society as students, teachers, young professionals, and scholars. While in the United States they enrich all kinds of American institutions, as well as American families and businesses”.

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