As an international medical graduate, you will need a visa to work in the United States. This step is don e after you have matched. This is because your program’s institution needs to sponsor your visa. There are two types of visas, a J-1 and an H-1b. Most institutions will offer a J-1 though some may offer both. A J-1 visa is an educational visa, while an H-1b is a working visa. Residency is training and working, so both visas may be accepted.
The J-1 is an educational exchange visa, it is the most commonly issued and is cheaper to attain. This visa allows professionals to train in the U.S. for up to 7 years. When training is completed the resident must leave the U.S. for a period of two years before they can to return and work under an H-1b visa. These two years can be waived if the visa holder agrees to work in a medically underserved area (which is a majority of the country- see below).
The H-1b visa is a 6 year working visa, and is more difficult and more expensive to attain. If possible, it is recommended over the J-1 visa if you plan to work in the U.S. after residency. There are two primary benefits. First, no waiver is required to continue working in the States after completion of residency. Second, you can apply for a green card or permanent residency while you are here on your H-1b visa.
Image credit: http://news.psu.edu/photo/352544/2015/04/10/underserved-medical-areas