Physician National Interest Waiver: Green Card Process and Changing Jobs

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Adjustment of Status for Physicians on the National Interest Waiver. Can I change employers while my adjustment of status application is pending?
 
A National Interest Waiver (NIW) exempts the immigrant visa applicant from having to go through the labor certification process and the requirement of a job offer normally required in an employment-based immigrant visa application. In these instances, the government deems it beneficial to waive these requirements as the applicant will be working in a medically underserved area or in a Veterans Affairs (VA) facility.
 
Foreign physicians (doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy) with immigrant visa petitions (Form I-140) are granted a national interest waiver if they can show: 1) full-time employment in a clinical practice; 2) in a medically underserved area or VA facility; 3) for an aggregate of 5 years; and 4) that a Federal agency or the State department of public health has previously determined that their work in that location is in the public interest. For more information on the NIW, follow the link to our blog post, What is the National Interest Waiver for Physicians?
 
How do I adjust status to become a Green Card holder?
Physicians with an approved I-140 and NIW may apply for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident (Green Card holder) and for employment authorization. However, USCIS will not approve the adjustment of status until the physician submits evidence documenting that the they have completed the period of required service.
 
What evidence do I need to submit? 
Generally, the applicant must submit the following documentation around the two-year anniversary of the approval of the Form I-140 and at the end of the 5-year period to evidence completion of required period of service:

  • Individual Federal income tax returns, including copies of the alien's W-2 forms
  • Documentation from the employer attesting to the full-time medical service rendered during the required period, including breaks in employment (other than routine breaks such as paid vacations).
  • If physician established their own practice, documents noting the actual establishment of the practice, including incorporation of the medical practice (if incorporated), business license, and business tax returns & tax withholding documents.

 
Can I change employers while my application is pending?
Yes. Physicians in receipt of an approved Form I-140 with a national interest waiver based on full-time clinical practice in a designated shortage area and a pending adjustment of status application may apply to USCIS if the physician is offered new employment to practice full-time or intends to establish own practice in another underserved area of the United States.
 
In this instance, the new employer (or physician, if they established their own practice) must submit a new Form I-140 (with fee) with all the evidence required. If approved, the new petition will be matched with the pending adjustment of status application, allowing the original priority date to be retained.
 
Are you a foreign physician thinking of changing jobs or starting your own practice? Please contact us to find out how we can assist you. We are here to help!


Rasoulpour Torregoza is the law firm for immigrants, by immigrants. We are founded on the motto of LegalEase: we do away with the legal jargon and make law easy to understand, so you can focus on what’s important to you – going for your American Dream.
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