Physicians working in medically underserved areas are able to qualify for permanent residence without labor certification through a revised national interest waiver classification. To obtain this benefit, the physician must satisfy the following:

  • Agree to work full-time in a clinical practice for a period of five years within a designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), Mental Health Professional Shortage Area (MHPSA) (for Psychiatrists only), a Medically Underserved Area (MUA), or a Veterans Affairs facility.
  • Work in one of the following medical specialties: family or general medicine, pediatrics, general internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, or psychology.
  • Obtain a determination from a federal agency or state department of health – that has knowledge of the physician’s qualifications – stating that the physician’s work is in the public interest.
  • Fulfill the period of service within a six-year period from the time the person is employment authorized or, if already employment authorized, from the time of the approval of the immigrant petition.

Foreign national physicians may submit their immigrant petitions and adjustment of status applications before completing the five-year period of service, but USCIS will not grant permanent resident status until the period of service is completed.