USCIS Policy Update: Streamlining Physician National Interest Waiver Green Card Requirements

Posted by Ann Badmus | Sep 15, 2023 | 0 Comments

In a recent policy update, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has simplified for many the process of obtaining a national interest waiver (NIW) for physicians interested in pursuing a green card through this route. This update is particularly relevant to physicians working in underserved areas or at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities.

Here's a concise breakdown of how this policy affects physicians seeking an NIW green card:

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) allows employers to file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers (Form I-140) for individuals with exceptional ability or advanced degrees. Typically, employers must go through the rigorous process of obtaining a permanent labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. However, the INA provides a valuable waiver of the job offer requirement if it is in the national interest. This is where physicians working in underserved areas or at VA facilities come into play. 

For physicians who have already been working or have agreed to work full-time for five years in regions designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as lacking sufficient healthcare professionals or at healthcare facilities under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, there's an exception to the usual requirement of needing a job offer and obtaining permanent labor certification. However, there's a condition attached to this exception: a federal agency or a state department of public health must confirm that the physician's work serves the public interest.

Now, USCIS is providing updated guidance to make things clearer for physicians pursuing this special permission. Specifically, if you haven't commenced your employment yet, it's essential that the contracts and public health letters indicating your job offer and the public interest nature of your work are dated within 6 months before your I-140 petition filing date. However, there's a crucial exemption: if you've already initiated or completed your job before filing your petition, you don't need to adhere to the 6-month timeframe requirement.  This is very helpful for physicians who have partially or fully completed the five year service requirement.

As a physician considering a national interest waiver, it's vital to ensure that your employment contracts and public health letters align with this new 6-month requirement if you haven't started your service yet. This policy clarification simplifies the documentation process for eligible physicians, making it more straightforward to demonstrate your commitment to serving in underserved areas or at VA facilities.

In navigating the complexities of immigration policies and the application process, it's crucial for physicians to have the right guidance and support. To ensure that your journey towards securing a national interest waiver or any other immigration-related matter proceeds smoothly, it's highly advisable to seek the expertise of a qualified immigration attorney. Professionals like Badmus & Associates focus on  immigration law for medical professionals and have a deep understanding of the intricate procedures and requirements involved. They can provide tailored advice, assist in compiling the necessary documentation, and offer you the best possible legal representation. Don't hesitate to reach out to  Badmus & Associates to maximize your chances of success in achieving your immigration goals. Your future in the United States is too important to leave up to chance.

This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances.  For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to call us at 214-494-8033 or complete our contact form.

About the Author

Ann Badmus

Principal and Managing Attorney

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