Physicians who seek permanent residency may apply for PERM labor certification or pursue a National Interest Waiver application. Physicians who file for labor certification may only apply for adjustment of status after the PERM petition is approved and the 3-year waiver service is completed. National Interest Waiver applicants may submit green card petitions, along with requests for work authorizations for their dependents at the time of filing the national interest waiver petition so long as visa numbers are available. However, NIW green card applications are only approved after the 5 year service is complete.
With PERM labor certification, the physician’s employer must show evidence that it unsuccessfully sought to hire U.S. workers for the position. The NIW application does not require such extensive recruitment. While FMGs who obtained a J-1 visa Waiver may apply for labor certification during the waiver service, they may only apply for adjustment of status after 3 years of service in an Underserved Area. However, National Interest Waiver applicants may submit an application for adjustment of status for themselves and their dependents before completing the 3-year waiver service.