The National Interest Waiver for Physicians

Physicians who are working full-time in an area designated as having a shortage of health care professionals — or at a health care facility under the jurisdiction of Veterans Affairs — may seek a waiver of the labor certification requirement by asking a federal agency or department of public health in the State of employment to determine that the IMG physician’s work is in the public interest.

To be eligible for the National Interest Waiver (NIW) under this provision, physicians must:

  • Agree to work full-time in a clinical practice for a period of five years;
  • Work in a primary care practice or as a specialty physician
  • Serve in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), Mental Health Professional Shortage Area (for psychiatrists only), a Medically Underserved Area (MUA), a Veterans Affairs facility, or (for specialists) a Physician Scarcity Area (PSA).

The final requirement is to obtain a statement from a federal agency or a state department of health having knowledge of the physician’s qualifications that the work of that physician is in the public interest.

If the priority date is current within the second preference category for employment-based petitions, the physician may file the I-485 adjustment of status to permanent residency application concurrently with the I-140, however the I-485 will not be approved until the physician provides evidence of having completed five years of services as required under this law.

U.S. Immigration Assistance for International Medical Graduate Physicians

Read more here about immigration options for physicians. If you are an IMG physician or employer in need of assistance with immigration issues, we welcome you to contact an immigration attorney at Sivaraman Immigration Law to request a consultation.