Rule # 7 . . . . Green Card (Permanent Residency) Options
There are several permanent residence options available for physicians if qualified. The most commonly used option is the labor certification (PERM) process for permanent residence. The PERM process requires:
- Employer must show no available and qualified U.S. citizen or permanent resident physician through specified recruitment steps.
- Employer must show ability to pay prevailing wage.
- Physician must be qualified for the position at the time of filing of labor certification.
Rule # 8 . . . . National Interest Waiver
The national interest waiver is another option for physicians. There are two types of national interest waiver applications.
- General – physician's research work is in national interest
- Physician – 5 years medical care in an underserved area (HPSA or MUA)
Other options include:
- EB -1 extraordinary ability (self-sponsored)
- Family sponsorship (spouse, parents, children)
Rule # 9 . . . . Green Card Process: Timing Is Everything!
Timing is everything! The green card process can take several years. On the other hand, in some cases, the process can be as short as one to two years. It all depends upon the government's resources and ability to process applications and the availability of immigrant visas (green card) in any given year. The sooner you start the process, however, the less likely you will be subject to changes in law that can negatively affect your ability to get a green card. Always start the immigration (“green card”) process as soon as you have a qualifying job. For J-1 waiver physicians, it is a mistake to assume that you must complete the J-1 waiver 3 years of service requirement before starting the green card process. Start as soon as you and/or your employer is able.