It is important that physicians who are considering applying for a green card remember that there are certain circumstances under which they may not have to first pass USMLE. There are certain exempt categories. For example, if a physician qualifies as an alien of extraordinary ability or as an outstanding professor or researcher, passage of the USMLE exam is not necessary. Of course, whether the USCIS requires that the physician have passed USMLE is a separate requirement from the requirements imposed by State licensing authorities.
Second, the USMLE requirement only applies if the physician will be involved in patient care. "Researchers, teachers, etc. are not subject to this requirement." Third, the USMLE requirement does not apply if the physician was fully and permanently licensed to practice medicine in a State of the U.S. on January 9, 1978, and was practicing medicine in a State of the U.S. on that date.