Physicians Seeking National Interest Waiver

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Physicians Seeking National Interest Waiver (NIW)

Legislation enacted in 1999 makes it easier for certain foreign physicians seeking permanent residence in the second employment-based preference to qualify for National Interest Waiver (NIW). Under the 1999 legislation, the USCIS must grant a National Interest Waiver (NIW) if:

  1. The physician agrees to work full time in a field designated by the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) as a health professional shortage area or in a Veterans Administration (VA) hospital, and
  2. a federal agency or a state department of public health has determined that the physician's work is in the public interest.

Five-Year Aggregated Service: The physician, however, is not eligible for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status until such time as he or she has worked full time as a physician in a shortage area or VA hospital for an aggregated five years. Time in J-1 status cannot be counted towards the five-year period.

The USCIS rules clarify that the physician must agree to practice full-time in a HHS-designated Primary Medical Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSAs). Alternatively, a physician must serve at a Veterans Affairs health facility. The rules also specify that only physicians who will practice in the following fields of medicine are eligible for waivers under the 1999 law: family/general medicine, pediatrics, general internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and psychiatry.

If you have any further questions regarding National Interest Waiver (NIW), please contact us. If you are interested in the services of National Interest Waiver (NIW) by North America Immigration Law Group, please refer to the processing flow of National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition.