The National Interest Waiver Program (NIW) allows professionals of exceptional ability to request a waiver of the US Immigration labor certification requirements, based on a letter of recommendation from the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). The DHSS provides an official letter to the US Department of State stating the work of the professional is in the public interest.
Physicians applying for a NIW are required to work full-time for five years in a health professional shortage area (HPSA). 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 attain permanent residency status in the U.S.
The application process for a NIW is similar to the J-1 Visa Waiver, unless the physician is already practicing in MIssouri. In this instance, the application process is modified to only require the submission of updated information. For application procedures, please see rules established by CSR 10-4.030.