March 21, 2016

Getting a Green Card through the National Interest Waiver Just Got Easier for Specialist Physicians

For many foreign-born physicians, especially those born in India, the national interest waiver (NIW) application is the easiest and fastest way to get into the green card queue. Since 2007, NIW green cards have been available to both primary care and specialists physicians.

But for specialist physicians, the government only approved NIW applications of those who worked in designated physician scarcity area (PSA). The problem is that few PSAs exist, especially because the agency responsible for publishing PSA data actually discontinued maintaining and updating the data in 2008!

Even so, the USCIS insisted upon using PSAs as a qualifier for specialists and denied applicants who were working only in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or medically underserved area/population (MUA/P).

Until now.

Fortunately, one physician successfully appealed the denial of his application (Matter of H-V-P, Adopted Decision 2016-01) (AAO Feb.9, 2016). As a result, the government no longer restricts specialist NIW applicants to PSAs. Instead, just like primary care physicians, specialists are eligible for NIW green cards as long as they work in a HPSA or MUA/P.

USCIS policy now clearly says:

In addition to primary care physicians, medical specialists who agree to practice in any area designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as having a shortage of health care professionals may be eligible for the physician national interest waiver under section 203(b)(2)(B)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

To learn more about the national interest waiver application rules for physicians in clinical practice, read my previous article.

If you are a physician interested in a green card, you are invited to contact us.