The National Interest Waiver EB-2 immigration option provided initially under the Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT90) is a valuable immigration option for foreign national physicians seeking lawful permanent residence or “green card.” This option can be of particular value for physicians from India and China due to extended delays in obtaining permanent residence otherwise. The basic premise is that by serving in an underserved area, the physician’s service warrants waiver of the typical labor certification process.
The basic requirements are that a primary care physician or specialist (see USCIS Interoffice Memorandum, Michael Aytes, January 23, 2007, http://www.uscis.gov/files/pressrelease/SchneiderIntrm012307.pdf, “Schneider Memo”) must serve full time for five years “in aggregate” in a federally-designated MUA (medically underserved area), HPSA (health professional shortage area), MHPSA (mental health professional shortage area), or at a Veteran’s facility; additionally, the state department of health or federal agency must provide a letter acknowledging the critical nature of the physician’s service. 8 C.F.R. 204.12, 245.18. Case law provides for aggregating of the physicians service in the underserved area, pursuant to Schneider v. Chertoff, 450 F.3d 944 (9th Cir. 2006). But remember: the approved petitioner has numerous critical ongoing maintenance / compliance requirements to meet, such as periodic reporting, so as to maintain status.