President Trump’s executive order on immigration has already had dramatic effects, and promises many more.
Health care relies heavily on visa-holders: As many as 25 percent of physicians practicing in the US were born in another country.
But thousands of scientists, students, trainees, and even patients are likewise reliant on visas to work, study, and receive health care in the US.
Here’s a primer on some of the most common kinds of non-immigrant visas that health care professionals and patients might use.
Overseas patients: B-2 visa
The B-2 is a tourist visa — and also what patients who come to the US for medical treatment need to enter the country.
In 2015, 1,779 citizens of the seven countries barred from traveling in Friday’s executive order received for a B-2 visa, according to the State Department.
Academics attending a conference: B-1 visa
A B-1 visa is what you get when you need to come to the United States for business — which, the State Department notes, can include academics visiting for a conference. In 2015, 659 people from Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen received this visa.
Few visas are issued as just a B-1 or B-2; more often, tourist visas are issued as a blended B-1,2 visa. In 2015, 54,875 people who were citizens of the seven countries listed in Trump’s executive order received one of these blended visas.
Medical students: F-1 visa
Foreign medical students, like other foreign students in the United States, have an F-1 visa. In 2015, 5,725 citizens of the seven countries in Friday’s executive order received an F-1 visa; over 1,500 dependent spouses or children came with them.
Postdocs, medical residents, and some medical students: J-1 visa
According to the American Medical Assocation, a J-1 visa is the most common type of visa carried by international medical graduates completing a residency in the United States. These visas are called “exchange visitor” visas, a name that makes more sense in light of the other professions that fall under a J-1 visa: au pairs, short-term scholars, interns, and camp counselors.
In 2015, 2,021 citizens of the seven countries included in Friday’s executive order received a J-1 visa; 824 other people came in as a J-1 visa holder’s spouse or dependent child.
Medical students may also qualify for a J-1 visa, according to Chicago-based immigration attorney Ronald Shapiro.
Doctors and scientists: H-1B visa
Maybe the best-known visa class for temporary workers, this category includes people who want to work in a “specialty occupation” in the United States.
The visa may be most strongly associated with the tech sector, but about 15,000 health care workers received an H-1B visa in 2014 — including over 7,000 doctors and surgeons.
(A labor condition application is just the first step an employer goes through to get an H-1B visa, so not all these applications will result in a visa.)
Residents and postdocs could also fit under this category. Department of Labor data show that several hospitals have applied to sponsor foreigners under an H-1B visa.
Very few H-1B visas — just 254 — went to citizens of Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen in 2015.
Some Chilean, Singaporean, and Australian doctors and scientists can also apply under nationality-specific classes that are similar to an H-1B; some health care professionals from Canada and Mexico might also be eligible for a separate visa class created by NAFTA.
Superstars: O-1 visa
This visa class is usually used for athletes and performing artists — think Pelé or Psy of “Gangnam Style” — but scientists can also apply. Nobel Prize winners could be eligible, as would people who can prove their scientific chops with scholarly articles, society fellowships, or other prizes.
Iran sent 24 people to the United States on an O-1 visa in 2015; two Sudanese citizens, one Iraqi citizen, and one Syrian citizen also received O-1 visas that year.