A Brief Introduction to the National Interest Waiver for Physicians

A job offer is often a compelling reason for immigrants to come to the United States. However, what if you know your talent and skill are so advanced and needed that you must work in the U.S. even if you don’t have a firm offer? While it might sound arbitrary, this is often the case for foreign physicians. Rather than going through a formal process of applying for and receiving a job, the National Interest Waiver (NIW) can bypass the usual routes for immigrating to the U.S. The waiver has specific guidelines and qualifications, allowing it to be utilized only for those who truly deserve it.

What kind of professionals can obtain an NIW?

The National Interest Waiver is reserved specifically for professionals who hold advanced degrees and/or have exceptional abilities in their field. While occupational fields aren’t spelled out in the guidelines, most often physicians are the ones who utilize the NIW. Ultimately, it must be documented that allowing the individual to work in the U.S. will positively affect the nation in a large way. For example, an exceptional researcher who is one step away from finding a cure for cancer could be granted an NIW because of how important their contribution would be to the country.

How specific is the criteria?

In order to be eligible for the National Interest Waiver, you must meet three of the following criteria:

  • You hold membership in a professional organization
  • You have at least 10 years of experience in your field
  • You have a license to practice your profession
  • You have received awards or grants for your work, either by those in your field or the community you work in
  • You have historically been paid for the work you do
  • You possess an advanced degree in your line of work

What does the application process look like?

The NIW is also referred to as the EB-2 visa, and your current employer must fill out a form petitioning for your right to work and live permanently in the United States. There are also several other petitions to complete, as well as a letter describing why you should receive the NIW. After filing your forms and providing your documentation, it can take up to 9 months for a decision to be made. In most cases, you are allowed to bring your spouse and children with you.

Immigrating to the United States under a National Interest Waiver can be a long and complex process, so let the team at FordMurray Law assist you. Your work is important and we want to make every effort to help your NIW to be processed correctly.