On October 6, 2000 the USCIS implemented regulations that permit primary care physicians working in Health Professional Shortage Areas to apply for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) and in so doing obtain a green card without the need for labor certification. This is an excellent opportunity for a primary care physician to obtain a green card without having to navigate through the lengthy and uncertain labor certification process.
The documentation required to successfully complete the National Interest Waiver application is as follows:
- Evidence that the physician will work as a primary care physician in a designated shortage area or a Veterans Administration facility.
- An attestation letter from an interested government agency supporting the request for a NIW.
- Proof the physician is qualified to work in the State of intended employment as a primary care physician.
- A commitment from an employer in a shortage area stating that the physician will be employed as a primary care physician for a five-year period.
Establishing the above criteria will result in approval of a national interest waiver application. Along with the filing of a national interest waiver the physician may also apply for adjustment of status. Once in adjustment of status the physician will be issued an employment authorization document (EAD) and a travel document, which will replace the physician’s H-1B visa. The physician will remain in adjustment of status, renewing the EAD and travel documents annually, until such time as the physician has completed 5 years of required employment in an underserved area. Any time spent working in an underserved area after being issued a J-1 waiver will count towards the 5-year requirement, even if this employment occurs before the filing of the NIW. Once the required 5 years of employment has been established to the USCIS the physician will be issued a green card.
If you would like to learn more about the immigration options available to foreign physicians please send a request to us at:
Leibl and Kirkwood PC
12625 High Bluff Drive
San Diego, CA 92130
Tel. (858) 481-5211
Fax. (858) 481-7271