How to Move to the USA as a Veterinarian

Are you a veterinarian dreaming of practicing in the United States? The prospect of moving to a new country can be daunting, but with careful planning and knowledge of the visa process, your dream can become a reality. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to make your transition smoother.


To begin this journey, veterinarians hailing from countries beyond the borders of the USA must ascertain their compliance with the educational and professional standards stipulated by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) as well as individual state licensing boards. The AVMA oversees the assessment of international veterinary school programs via a procedure referred to as the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG). This entails submitting transcripts, outlining curriculum specifics, and undertaking mandated examinations. Meeting these prerequisites serves to validate that the veterinarian’s education aligns with the standards expected of a U.S. based counterpart.


There are certain accredited veterinary schools and universities outside the United States that are recognized by the AVMA for their high standards of education. Graduates from these institutions are deemed to have equivalent training to American universities, which means they can pursue veterinary careers in the U.S. without additional certification hurdles.


To see a list of these accredited veterinary colleges, check out the AVMA’s comprehensive guide. This resource can help you understand the global landscape of veterinary education and ensure you are making informed decisions about your career path in veterinary medicine.


Understanding visa options


  1. H-1B visa:

The H-1B visa is a popular choice for professionals, including veterinarians, seeking employment in the United States. The H-1B visa is a ballot that opens for applications each march, you must have secured a job offer and your employer will file a petition on your behalf to try and secure you a visa.

Following the initial application process, applicants enter a lottery system. Those fortunate enough to be selected receive a visa, granting them entry into the United States. However, for those not chosen, the process must be repeated annually, or they must explore alternative visa options. These alternatives typically require meeting stringent criteria, such as involvement in clinical research, earning at the highest tier of the industry, and demonstrating a substantial portfolio of publications to bolster their application.


  1. TN visa:

If you’re a citizen of Canada or Mexico, the TN visa might be a viable option for you. This visa is available under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in certain professional occupations in the United States, including veterinary medicine. The process is relatively straightforward, requiring a job offer from a U.S. employer and proof of your qualifications.


  1. E-3 visa:

Australian veterinarians have the option to apply for an E-3 visa, which is like the H-1B visa but exclusive to Australian citizens. Like the H-1B, you’ll need a job offer from a U.S. employer, and the position must be in a specialty occupation that requires your expertise. The E-3 visa will be processed in less than 2 weeks usually and is valid for 2 years and has unlimited renewals. Australian citizens can apply for this visa at any time of the year and unlike a lottery-based system, there is no seasonal limit, and the quota is seldom filled. This means that the chances of securing the right to work are significantly higher for Australian citizens


Steps to take


  1. Research licensing requirements:

Before making any plans, it is essential to research the licensing requirements for veterinarians in the state where you plan to practice. Each state has its own licensing board, and requirements may vary. Some states might even demand additional exams or documentation therefore ensuring compliance with these prerequisites is paramount for a successful transition.

The North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) is a requirement for licensure to practice veterinary medicine in all licensing jurisdictions in the US and Canada.


  1. Secure a job offer:

As a leading veterinary recruitment company, we have established relationships with veterinary clinics and hospitals across the USA. By choosing to work with us, you will gain access to a broader range of job opportunities that may not be advertised elsewhere, significantly enhancing your chances of finding the perfect fit for your career aspirations. A solid job offer is not just beneficial for your career but also crucial for securing your visa


  1. Gather required documentation:

We collaborate closely with both independent and corporate practices, with extensive knowledge in international placements that provides comprehensive visa assistance, ensuring all requirements are met, and deadlines are adhered to, thereby minimizing potential delays and complications.

Work closely with your prospective employer to gather the necessary documentation for your visa application. This may include your degree, transcripts, proof of licensure, and any other relevant certificates. Ensuring meticulous preparation of your documentation is vital to expedite the visa application process.


  1. Prepare your visa application & attend the interview:

Depending on the visa category you’re applying for, you’ll need to complete the appropriate forms and submit them along with the required documentation to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It’s essential to double-check all the requirements and ensure that your application is accurate and complete to avoid delays.

If your visa application is approved by the USCIS, you’ll need to schedule and attend a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. Be prepared to answer questions about your qualifications, job offer, and intentions in the United States.


  1. Plan your move:

Once you’ve obtained your visa, it’s time to start planning your move to the USA. This includes arranging housing, obtaining health insurance, and familiarizing yourself with the local area. The practices that we work with can offer personalized support tailored to your specific needs, alleviating much of the stress associated with the move and allowing you to focus on your professional transition seamlessly.



It can be beneficial to join professional organisations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and local veterinary associations to connect with fellow professionals and access valuable resources and continuing education opportunities.


Moving to the USA as a veterinarian is a significant milestone in your career journey and by understanding the visa process and leveraging the expertise and support of a reputable recruitment company like Global Talent Partners, you can navigate the complexities with confidence and ease. With the right guidance and assistance, your dream of practicing veterinary medicine in the USA can soon become a rewarding reality.


If you’re looking for help finding a veterinarian job, please do not hesitate to call us on +1 (984) 3898440 or you can email us at [email protected] or please browse all our veterinarian jobs by state.