Disclaimer: This FREE self-help guide is not a legal opinion/advice. Just a personal opinion and experience. Consult an attorney if you have any doubts. thank Kidsdoc, Hashitoxicosis, J1victim for their input.
NIW (National Interest Waiver) for Physicians in Underserved Areas
(EB2-NIW for physicians working in underserved areas)
under Section 203(b)(2)(B)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Once you are about to start the J1 waiver job on H1 visa (or directly start an H-1 job without ever being on J-1 visa), in an HPSA/MUA/MUP/VA, there are three ways to adjust your status to a green card:-
i) Employment based (Labor Cert) filed by your employer for you.
It involves: Labor Cert > I-140 > adjustment of status (AOS) or Consular processing (CP).
LC (1-2 yrs) + I-140 (9 months) + CP (4 mths) / AOS (2 yrs)
ii) EB1-EA or EB2- NIW (Outstanding researcher) SELF filed If you have lots of papers. Good option for specialists doing specialist waiver jobs. No need for LC! GC in 1-2 yrs.
I-140 + CP / AOS
iii) EB2-NIW for physicians working in underserved areas: Self filed, No need for LC. Can be filed even before you start the job! (After you get the INS approval of your J1 waiver job). Good option for people doing H1 residency and fellowship, who is near the end of their 6 yr term. For primary care jobs only (family or general medicine, pediatrics, general internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and psychiatry. If your job will be in a VA, then it can be any specialty).
I-140 + CP / AOS
This is the main subject of this article.
I-140 is needed for all 3 of them. From then on, process is similar.
There are 2 ways to file your NIW (for Physicians in Underserved areas):
A). I-140 (opt for Status change) + I-485 (for GC) + I-765 (for EAD) + I-131 (for AP) >> you get NIW(I-140) approval, EAD and AP immediately, but your I-485 will be approved after 5 years. You may file all forms together OR just file I-140 initially. (as of Sept 2003, the probable wait time is: I-140 alone – 9 months; I-140+I-485+I-765+I-131 – 2 months).
B). I-140 (opt for Consulate Processing CP) > go to a US Consulate outside US to get your GC. This also is after 5 years of service in an MUA/HPSA/VA. U do not need to file I485/765/131.
* Start the process ASAP, because for H1B NIW (not the J-1 to H-1B NIW), the 5 year period is counted from the date of approval of NIW, not the date of filing or start of job.
* It is advised that you opt for Status Change (i.e. step A), but it’s your decision.
* You can file I-140, I-485, I-765, I-131 anytime, even before starting you job (J-1 waiver or a direct H1), as soon as you get the National Interest Letter from an IGA like the State Dept of Health/ARC/VA/HHS + BCIS approved J-1 waiver letter if you were a J-1.
* DO NOT USE STAPLE. use paper clips instead
Write a very good, detailed covering letter on your packet. The BCIS examiner may not know what this medical field is all about. So you need to explain what you are filing and what you want.
1. NIW I-140 Form: a). Filling the I-140 form: b). Documents needed
a). Filling the I-140 form: important things in the form -
Part 2. Petition type:
check the option (h) An alien applying for a national interest waiver (who IS a member ……)
Part 4. Processing Information. check the option “Alien is in the United …..
Part 5. Additional Information about the petitioner
Type of petitioner: Self
Occupation: Primary Care Physician
Part 6. Basic Information about proposed employment:
Job title: primary care physician SOC Code: 29-1062 (Family and General Practitioner
(these r examples for the title and code)
Non technical description of job: Diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases and injuries that commonly occur in the general population. (taken from the online wage library definition
Address where the …..
Is this a full time position: Yes No
Is this a permanent position: Yes No Is this a new position: Yes No
(should be Yes for first 2, and yes/no depending on your job)
b.) Documents needed with I-140 form: listed on the BCIS website at:
also on the BCIS website > Forms and Fees > I-140 page > bottom under *Special Instructions*
1. for 1 > employment contract for 5 years ((dated within 6 months)
2. for 2 > if you do not have step 1, then you can write your own practice plan.
3. for 3 > evidence of full time practice in HPSA/MUA in appropriate medical specialty
* full time practice ----- letter from your employer indicating full time practice
* evidence that practice is in -
* appropriate medical specialty: (for HHS – HPSA/MUA/MUP - family or general medicine, pediatrics, general internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and psychiatry. For VA - it can be any specialty).
As per: Federal Register: September 6, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 173) (Rules and Regulations) Page: 53890
also see USCIS rule: 8 CFR 204.12; 8 CFR 245.18 at http://www.uscis.gov/propub/ProPubVA...31086cb140e31c
4. IGA letter (dated within 6 months).
5. evidence of admissibility requirements fulfillment:
State license, Board exam certificate, ECFMG Certificate, USMLE Step 1/2/3 certificates, H-1B approval notice (I 797), I-94, H-1B Visa or J-Visa with IAP-66 copies
( ** BCIS is now asking for ETA-750A and ETA-750B also, so it’s better to send them earlier).
6. evidence of the Service-issued waivers ….
BCIS/INS letter stating that your J-1 waiver is approved (if you are a J1)
[[[ETA-750A: 14> degree: M.D. or foreign equiv. Degree; major field: Medicine; 15> Have or be able to obtain State Medical License. 21> This application is for National Interest Waiver (NIW) for Primary care Physician (Family and General Medicine/Int Med etc), working in a Medically Underserved area under Section 203(b)(2)(B)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
ETA-750B: 12> Alien is Board Certified in ……; 13> state med license; 14> State Medical License, Board Certificate, Residency Certificate, ECFMG Certificate, USMLE Step (1,2 & 3) certificates, Medical Degree.]]]
2. NIW I-485 Form
Stuff you need: standard for any I-485 application. taken a list from the web and modified/ commented it. comments in italics. But BCIS could send an RFE.
* Photos without any ornaments (Can take pictures from digital camera, resized it to the right dimensions, printed at Walgreens digital photo printer. 20 copies for 5 bucks!)
Write name with pencil on the backside of each photo
* 485 forms
* Biographic Information G325 A
* EAD form I-765
* Advanced Parole I-131
* Birth Certificates (If none: Birth Certificates affidavit Original 2 elders)
* Marriage certificate
* Passport copy without blank pages (u may submit all pages of passport separately in
* H-1B Current
* Hi-B previous
* H1b extension receipt
In bold are the documents showing your current status. If you were never in H1 status before applying for NIW, then submit copies of all IAP-66 and current I-94, to show your legal status.
CARDINAL RULE: Never assume that BCIS will have all previous information. Everything they need for your current application should be in the application bundle.
* Checks payable to BCIS : Use personal checks. If you can arrange the bank to give you
cancelled checks, the BCIS receipt number is printed in the back. Valuable when you
don’t even get the receipt from BCIS!
* I-94 copy back to back
* Summary List of all document attached
* None and N/a all blank lines
* Ensure all mails are submitted to BCIS on TUE, wed, Thu
What you don’t need
- Medical examination
- Affidavit of support for spouse
- BCIS is not supposed to ask for finger printing till the 5 yrs are over, but they still may.
How to fill the the forms: you can use Acrobat (not the reader) or any other PDF writer like the Paperport. Lets you fill forms and save for the future. Also, you can modify the standard field sizes etc, helping you get your abnormally long names in!
1. it is preferable that you maintain your H1B for atleast 3 years and DO NOT use your EAD for the first 3 years.
(i am not clear why u should do so, but after speaking to some lawyers, this is what i got. may be the J1 waiver law that states "you must spend 3 years in H-1B status to get waiver of HRR (home residency requirement)".
so while your spouse may use the EAD during the first 3 years, you, the primary J1 holder, should continue in H1B status. The moment you use your EAD, your H1 status is gone and you are counted as being on EAD.
2. compliance reporting for NIW to USCIS:
here is what INS notice says in Fedreal Register: page 53891, column 3.
""""""""""" The interim rule establishes two points where the alien physician must submit evidence noting his or her practice of medicine in an underserved area. First, physicians with the 5-year
service requirement must make an initial submission of evidence no later than 120 days after the second anniversary of the approval of the immigrant petition, From I–140. The physician must document at least 12 months of qualifying employment during the first 2-year period. If a physician has not worked at least one year of this 2-year period, requirement. ..................... read the original """"""""""""""""""