What are the Different Forms of Immigration Status in the United States?

Foreign physicians looking to become permanent residents in the United States have several options. Most options will involve extensive paperwork and a number of hurdles, but it can be well worth it to gain your U.S. green card. Let’s take a look at some of the options that foreign physicians have in order to obtain permanent resident status in the U.S.

Permanent Residence Options for Physicians

One path a foreign physician may use to obtain U.S. permanent resident status is to have a U.S. employer apply for permanent resident status on the foreign physician’s behalf through the labor certification process. During this process, the sponsoring employer must take the steps necessary to show the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that there are no other qualified, ready, and willing U.S. doctors available to take the job that the foreign physician intends to fill. To show this, the employer must comply with specific methods of advertising the job and reviewing applications submitted. The employer must detail these recruitment methods and show the DOL that there are no other U.S. physicians qualified, ready and able to take the job.

The employer then submits the labor certification application to the DOL and, once this has been certified, will file an I-140 Petition with USCIS. Upon Petition approval, it is likely that there will be a waiting period for a visa number to become available. If available immediately, the physician as well as his or her family can go through an adjustment of status to become permanent residents or, if outside of the U.S., can go through the immigrant visa process at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad.

A foreign physician may also try to pursue a national interest waiver which would allow for the circumvention of the labor certification process. A national interest waiver (NIW) may be an option for a physician who intends to work a minimum of five years in a medically underserved area (MUA) or at a facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs. There is no requirement that a national interest waiver applicant have a permanent job offer. Upon approval of a national interest waiver, the physician must serve those five years in a medically underserved area and, within 120 days of completing the five years of service, must submit documentation of these five years of service, such as W-2 forms, to USCIS. Once received, USCIS will proceed with scheduling a fingerprinting appointment and, unless waived, an adjustment of status interview.

Alternatively, a foreign physician may be able to obtain permanent resident status through filing an EB-1A petition as an “alien of extraordinary ability.” This achievement-based permanent resident option requires evidence that the physician has become recognized as a standout in his or her field. In order to support this assertion, thorough documentation is usually required. Proof of recognition in the physician’s field may be supported by evidence such as documentation of notable awards, publication, or other proof of scientific contributions.

Immigration Law Attorneys

If you have questions or want to access additional information about US or Canadian Immigration and Nationality Laws, please feel free to get in touch with the immigration and nationality lawyers at the NPZ Law Group. If you have more questions about how these laws in the US may impact you or your family, contact the lawyers specialized in US Immigration and Nationality laws at VISASERVE. You can also send us an email at info@visaserve.com or you can call us at 201-670-0006 (x104). In addition to that, we invite you to find more information on our website at www.visaserve.com