Physicians may qualify for a Physician National Interest Waivers (PNIW) while international medical graduates (IMGs) are precluded from entering the United States. However, the ground of inadmissibility does not apply in these situations:
- Applicant possesses a certificate from the Educational Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates, is competent in English, and passed the clinical skills assessment examination. 8 CFR §214.2(h)(viii)(B)
- Doctor of international or national renown
- Not entering the United States to become a doctor, including professors, persons entering under another preference category, or when he or she enters as an asylee.
Under INA §203(b)(2)(B)(ii), if the physician is entering the US under an offer of employment, the physician must obtain a labor certification or a national interest waiver. Some physicians may work in an underserved area to overcome the J-2 two-years requirement. To obtain this benefit, the physician must show the following as per 8 CFR §214.2(a)-(c):
- He or she must work in a health shortage area or for the VA
- A federal or state agency must determine that the employment would be in the national interest
- He or she must work in the area for five years before he or she becomes eligible for adjustment of status or immigrant visa
A foreign medical graduate may also apply under the regular labor certification process, as indicated in 8 CFR §214.2(a)-(c).