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Foreign Physicians Applying for Green
Card in National Interest Waiver or Labor Certification

Hi William,

I am a physician caming to U.S. on a J-1, and I have Medical degree from my home country. After my medical residency program in a large hospital, I started work on H-1B visa under the Conrad State 30 program. My question for you is: should I apply for a National Interest Waiver or do a Labor Certification case, to obtain my U.S. Permanent Residency?


For foreign physicians, the National Interest Waiver (NIW) is the special Green Card application type for physicians in underserved areas, and you are required to remain in the position for five years. Additionally, unless the position is through the Veteran's Administration, the physician under NIW is only available for pediatricians, general internal medicine, family or general medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and psychiatry. 

For the Labor Certification, you may have more flexibility with regard to future options. However, many physicians who have committed to work in an underserved area do use the NIW as an avenue to obtain a Green Card. 

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