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National Interest Waiver Program

National Interest Waiver Program
 
The National Interest Waiver Program (NIW) was established in 1999 under the Nurse Reinvestment Act. The program allows professionals of exceptional ability to request a waiver of the U.S. Immigration labor certification requirements, based on a letter of recommendation from the state health department. The health department provides an official letter to the U.S. Department of State stating that the work of the professional is in the public interest.
 
Physicians applying for a National Interest Waiver Program are required to work full-time for five years, providing primary care in a designated underserved area (HPSA or MUA). Time spent in H1-B status to fulfill J-1 Visa Waiver requirements may be counted towards the five year term. National Interest Waivers are an effective way for foreign physicians to obtain permanent residency status in the U.S. There are no limits to the number of recommendations a state may make as there are in the J-1 program.
 
The application process for a NIW is similar to that for a J-1 Visa Waiver, unless the physician is already practicing in Colorado. In that instance, the application process is modified to require only the submission of updated information. The application process takes from two to four months from the date of receipt in the Primary Care Office.
 
An application review fee will be assessed for all applications submitted to the Primary Care Office.
 
 
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