Immigration Under the National Interest Waiver for Physicians in Underserved Areas
On September 6, 2000, the Immigration and Naturalization Service issued a final
rule on this matter. The information provided below is meant
to help people understand and comply with these regulations.
The national interest waiver for
physicians in underserved areas relieves the petitioner
only from the labor certification process. If you are:
- A petitioner requesting a national
interest waiver on behalf of a qualified alien physician, or
- An alien physician self-petitioning
for second preference classification,
based on medical service in a
Health and Human Services Department (HHS)-designated underserved
area or a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility, you still
must meet all eligibility requirements for this immigrant classification
in order to be eligible for the national interest waiver.
Petition Document Requirements
The petitioner or self-petitioner
must submit the following evidence with a Petition for Alien Worker to support the request for a national interest waiver.
For physicians planning to divide the practice of full-time clinical
medicine between more than one underserved area, the following
evidence must be submitted for each area of intended practice:
- If the physician will be an
employee; a full-time employment contract (issued and dated within
6 months prior to the date the petition is filed) for the required
period of clinical medical practice, or an employment commitment
letter from a VA facility.
- If the physician will establish
his or her own practice, the physicians sworn statement
committing to the full-time practice of clinical medicine for
the required period, and describing the steps the physician has
taken or intends to actually take to establish the practice.
- Evidence that the physician
will provide full-time clinical medical service:
- In a geographical area
or areas designated by the Secretary of HHS as having a shortage
of health care professionals and in a medical specialty that
is within the scope of the Secretary's designation for the geographical
area or areas; or
- In a facility under the jurisdiction
of the Secretary of VA.
- A letter (issued and dated within
6 months prior to the date on which the petition is filed) from
a Federal agency or the department of public health (or equivalent)
of a State (including territories of the United States and the
District of Columbia) attesting that the alien physicians
work is or will be in the public interest
- Any attestation from
a Federal agency must reflect the agencys knowledge of
the aliens qualifications and the agencys background
in making determinations on matters involving medical affairs
so as to substantiate the finding that the aliens work
is or will be in the public interest.
- An attestation from the public
health department of a State, United States territory, or the
District of Columbia must reflect that the agency has jurisdiction
over the place where the alien physician intends to practice
clinical medicine. If the alien physician intends to practice
clinical medicine in more than one underserved area, attestations
from each intended area of practice must be included. Attestations
from the public health department of a State, United States territory,
or the District of Columbia that does not have jurisdiction over
the place in which the alien physician intends to practice clinical
medicine will not be accepted.
- Evidence that the alien physician
meets the admissibility requirements established by section
212(a)(5)(B) of the Act.
- If applicable, evidence of the
Service-issued waivers of the requirements of section
212(e) of the Act, if the alien physician has been a J-1
nonimmigrant receiving medical training within the United States.
Time Limit for Required Service
- If the physician already has authorization to accept employment (other than as a J-1 exchange alien), the beneficiary physician must complete an aggregate 5 years of qualifying full-time clinical practice during the 6-year period beginning on the date of approval of the Form I-140.
- If the physician must obtain authorization to accept employment before the physician may lawfully begin working, the physician must complete the aggregate 5 years of qualifying full-time clinical practice during the 6-year period beginning on the date the Service issues the necessary employment authorization document.
More information regarding immigration under the national interest waiver for physician in underserved areas and eligibility for adjustment of status following completion of required service may be found in sec. 204.12 and sec. 245.18 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Additionally, a memorandum of the subject is available. Open National Interest Waivers for Second Preference Employment-Based Immigrant Physicians Serving in Medically Underserved Areas or at Veterans Affairs Facilities and Section 214(l)(2)(B) of the Act for further information or contact The Law Office of Paul B. Christensen, P.A.