J1 Waivers and Green Card options - J1 Visa Waivers
Green Cards j1 and j2 Waivers Work Visas

J1 Waivers and Green Card options

Many of my physician clients, after obtaining their J1 Waiver and H1B visa, ask about their green card options.  Below is a discussion of the two most popular green card options for doctors.

Physicians who have obtained a J1 Waiver can file PERM/labor certification through an employer or apply for a National Interest Waiver (NIW). Doctors seeking a National Interest Waiver (NIW) can also self-petition. See the fourth paragraph to learn more about this option.  Doctors can file for NIW and have a PERM application pending at the same time

PERM/labor certification is the most popular vehicle for obtaining an employment based green card.  Part of the PERM process involves certifying that the job cannot be filled by a qualified, willing, and able United States worker who is interested in the position.

After the PERM application is certified the employer can file an I-140, Immigrant Petition for the doctor. The third step is for the applicant to file I-485, to Adjust Status. Before getting a J1 waiver, applicants can have an employer submit an application for labor certification through PERM. However, under this process applicants cannot file for the I-485 until the J-1 Waiver applicant has fulfilled their J1 Conrad 30 requirements (if the physician is participating in the Conrad 30 program). In certain cases, an applicant can file the I-140 at the same time as the I-485 if the priority dates are current. This is called concurrent filing.

A doctor seeking a NIW can self-petition and simultaneously file the I-140. A doctor can only file for a NIW if he or she is practicing and licensed, and has agreed to serve in a health professional shortage area, a mental health professional area, a medically underserved area, or a U.S. Veterans Affairs facility. A doctor must work for a total of five years in one of the areas listed above to be eligible for permanent residence. As stated above a doctor not seeking a NIW can have his or her employer file a PERM application.  Contact our office at 415-986-6186 to learn more about your green card options.

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