We represented a physician working for a healthcare network within several counties of a Medically Underserved Area (MUA). Initially, we submitted the required documents, but the tricky issue was the division of the physician’s service over several counties. The approval in this case required that we work closely with officials from the State Health Department to provide proper documentation and verification of the full-time nature of the job, albeit across several areas and proof of physician shortage within each area. At the I-140 stage of the NIW, USCIS issued a relatively minor Request for Evidence requesting a recently dated full-time employment contract listing the full, required period of service.
National Interest Waiver Sample Cases
These are some sample cases from our files. It is impossible for us to present all have done past over 15 years of our practice. But these were some cases that came to mind when we started writing this column 2-3 years ago.
We represented a physician working for a veteran’s facility within a medically underserved area. The NIW was approved. Before completing her waiver time, she needed to move from the approved location to another location AND switch from a MUA to the Veterans Administration. Unfortunately, the law and the procedures involved in moving MUA’s and moving from a MUA to another NIW mode are very poorly documented. Some of the legal territories are just not well defined. Nevertheless, we filed the appropriate petition,submitting what we believed were the required documents. To meet the total five-year requirement, we also submitted employers’ letters to capture all prior service at other medical facilities within underserved areas while the applicant was on valid H-1B.
USCIS acknowledged the prior service, approved the case, and assigned the original priority date to our client.
Our client recently received his green card after a long journey with USCIS. He approached us following a denial of his I-140 (NIW, physician in medically underserved area). The applicant had filed the I-140 and I-485 and then moved to a different state while the applications were pending. There had been no action on the file for 2 years. He submitted a service request with USCIS requesting a status update. USCIS issued a Request for Evidence shortly after the applicant’s move, which was sent to the original address and ultimately returned undelivered. USCIS issued the denial based on the applicant’s employment in a new medically underserved area not identified in the initial petition. Applicant had submitted Form AR11 with USCIS noting his move to another state.
We submitted an MTR/Appeal explaining the law and noting that the applicant had moved following his completion of his J-1 waiver 3-year requirement and had a valid Employment Authorization Document to work for the new employer. We also submitted an Amended I-140 Petition, which reflected employment with the new employer. We provided verification of his completion of 3 years of medical service (J1 period) and documentation to show current full-time employmet We provided verification of his completion of 3 years of medical service (J1 period) plus documentation to show current full-time employment with several rural clinics as well as a private practice. The MTR was granted and the Amended I-140 was approved following a Request for Evidence. USCIS asked for further verification of the health professional shortage area of the various clinics as they were located in several different counties. Due to the unique employment arrangement of the applicant as a contractor for the clinics, USCIS required additional employment verification. Ultimately the I-140 was approved. Following that, his green card (I-485) was also approved.
We have recently won a case for a physician working in several rural clinics as well as his private practice within a medically underserved area. We were retained following a denial of the I-140 petition for NIW. We filed an appeal as well as an amended (new) I-140 application to show that the physician had met the 5-year service requirements for an NIW. The applicant had moved from one medically underserved area to another while the original I-140 was pending. The issue was whether an “amendment” could have been filed in this case to notify USCIS of the move without an approved I-140. USCIS issued a request for evidence, but acknowledged the applicant’s prior medical service and credited him the time towards his 5-year requirement. Upon receipt of the request for evidence we responded with additional documentation to show the relationship between the physician (medical service provider) and the rural clinics (contractor). We supplied attestation letters from each of the contractors as well as an affidavit from the applicant indicating a commitment to complete his 5-years of medical service in the underserved area. In order to show “full-time” employment, we provided documentation that described the combined service at each rural clinic as well as time spent with patients at his private practice, which more than met the 40-hour requirement. We also offered a letter from the previous employer to document prior medical service.
We won a case for a physician who provided a contract for services for 5 years in a medically underserved area. This applicant also submitted copies of his degree, medical license, medical degree equivalency evaluation, USMLE Step 1, 2 and 3, status paperwork, letter from potential employer stating need, documentation of statistical data on medically underserved area and a letter from Bureau of Health Care Services.
This applicant provided a 5-year contract for services in a medically underserved area, a copy of his J-1 residency requirement waiver, letters from the Health and Human Services office in his area requesting his services, documentation to reflect the statistics of the health professional shortage in his employment area as well as copies of his license to practice medicine.
We won a National Interest Waiver case for an applicant holding an M.D., Ph.D. and MSE in Biomedical Engineering, and a B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering. This applicant had an extraordinary background. His degrees were received from the most prestigious institutes in the world, notably Harvard, MIT and Johns Hopkins University . His pioneering work has lead others in the field to a better understanding of what causes sudden cardiac death through fatal arrhythmias. His work was quoted as "revolutionizing health care."
We won a National Interest Waiver case for a Molecular Biologist holding a Ph.D. having over ten years of research experience. We argued that her qualifications were unique as compared to others in the field and that she was noted as one of the few in her field that has achieved the highest level of success. She had remarkable contributions to the field, most notably her significant discoveries in cardiovascular research. This applicant had an extensive publication list as well as a book chapter.
We won both an EB1 Alien of Extraordinary Ability case and a National Interest Waiver for this applicant. He was noted as being an exceptionally qualified, brilliant and outstanding researcher amongst an international peer group. We provided copies of his substantial publication record as well as evidence of his numerous "invited" presentations. This applicant had patented material which was identified as innovative and pioneering in the field and admired by top researchers.
We won this case as the applicant was noted to be a critical component to the success of various projects and had a very large impact on the research program. Referees described this applicant's talents to be rare and difficult to replace by U.S. workers. Her original and pioneering research made her uniquely qualified to further this intrinsically important research which greatly effected the nation as a whole.