Foreign-born physicians who wish to stay in the U.S. to practice medicine may first be required to to serve for a number of years in a physician shortage area like a federally-designated medically-underserved area (MUA), a health professional shortage area (HPSA) or for a Medically Underserved Population (MUP).
Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) are designations that indicate health care provider shortages in primary care, dental health; or mental health. These shortages may be geographic-, population-, or facility-based.
Medically-Underserved Areas/Populations are areas or populations designated by Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA) as having too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty or a high elderly population.
An International Medical Graduate (IMG) or a Canadian physician completing a medical residency or fellowship on a J-1 visa usually needs to serve in a physician shortage area for 3 years in order to obtain a waiver of the 2-year home residency requirement. A foreign-born doctor who wishes to obtain a green cards using National Interest Waiver (NIW) must practice in physician shortage areas for 5 years before being granted permanent residence.
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Resources – Physician Shortage Areas
- Physician Shortage Areas (PSAs)
- Find Shortage Areas: HPSA & MUA/P by Address
- Find Shortage Areas: HPSA by State & County
- How to Apply for HPSA Designation
- Frequently Asked Questions
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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