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Green Card Through a Physician National Interest Waiver (NIW)

The second-preference employment category (EB-2) allows individuals of exceptional ability and individuals who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees to get a green card (permanent residence). 

For EB-2s a job offer and a labor certification is generally required. This requirement can be waived if the petitioner demonstrates that granting the EB-2 petition would be in the national interest of the United States.

One reason USCIS may grant the national interest waiver is because a physician agrees to work for a period of time in a designated underserved area.

Eligibility Criteria

  • You must agree to work full-time in a clinical practice. For most physician NIW cases, the required period of service is 5 years
  • You must work in a primary care (such as a general practitioner, family practice petitioner, general internist, pediatrician, obstetrician/gynecologist, or psychiatrist) or be a specialty physician
  • You must serve either in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), Mental Health Professional Area (MHPSA – for psychiatrists only), a Medically Underserved Area (MUA), or a Veterans Affairs facility, or for specialists in a Physician Scarcity Area (PSA)
  • You must obtain a statement from a federal agency or a state department of health that has knowledge of your qualifications as a physician and that states your work is in the public interest (This statement is known as an attestation)

Application Process

To apply for a green card you will need to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Supporting Evidence for Form I-485

The following evidence should be submitted with Form I-485:

  • Two passport-style photos
  • Form G-325A, Biographic Information, if you are between 14 and 79 years of age
  • Copy of approval notice for Form I-612, Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (under Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended)
  • Copy of Form I-797, Approval notice for I-140
  • Copy of birth certificate or other records of your birth
  • Copies of all passport pages with non-immigrant visas
  • Evidence of final compliance with the 3 or 5 years service requirement to be submitted no later than 120 days after the completion of the service requirement (Evidence of compliance must be submitted at intervals while the I-485 is pending)
  • Form I-693, Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
  • Photocopy of the Form I-797 Approval Notices for all extensions and changes of status
  • Photocopy of the Form I-20 or IAP 66 school records (front and back, including all school annotations)
  • Applicable fees
  • Form G-28, if you have an attorney representing your case 
Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/02/2009