National Interest Waiver Program

National Interest Waiver Application and Guidelines


Shortage Designations in Virginia

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The National Interest Waiver is a waiver of the job offer requirement for foreign nationals who would like to obtain permanent residence in the United States in the employment based second preference category.


The waiver is available to individuals who meet the following requirements:

  • Are members of the professions holding advanced degrees and individuals of exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, and business
  • Have a job offer and the employer must obtain an approved “Labor Certification” from the Department of Labor

The National Interest Waiver relieves the petitioner only from the Labor Certification process. A petitioner requesting a National Interest Waiver on behalf of a qualified alien physician, or an alien physician self-petitioning for second preference classification, still must meet all eligibility requirements for this immigrant classification in order to be eligible for the National Interest Waiver.


The Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) at 8 CFR Parts 204 and 245 provide provisions of public law and regulations under which framework that a second-preference immigrant physicians may petition for a National Interest Waiver.


The National Interest Waiver requires physicians to provide service either in an area designated as a Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA), or Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas (MPSA) or at a Virginia facility.


In either case the alien physician must also obtain a determination from Health and Human Services Department (HHS), Virginia, or State Department of Health that the physician’s work in such an area or facility is in the public interest.

An attestation from a Federal agency must reflect the agency’s knowledge of:

  • The alien’s qualifications;
  • The agency’s background in making determinations on matters involving medical affairs so as to substantiate the finding that the alien’s work is or will be in the public interest.
  • An attestation from the public health department of a state must reflect that the agency has jurisdiction over the place where the alien physician intends to practice clinical medicine. If the alien physician intends to practice in more than one undeserved area, attestations from each intended area of practice must be included.

A physician requesting an attestation letter from the Virginia Office of Minority Health and Health Equity must comply with the National Interest Waiver Guidelines and submit the required documentation to the address below.


Virginia Health Department, Office of  Health Equity
109 Governor Street, 7th Floor, 714 West Office
Richmond, Virginia 23219

If you have any questions related to the program, please contact Valencia Hines, Health Workforce Coordinator, at  or call (804) 659-3861 or Olivette Burroughs, Statewide Health Workforce Manager, by calling (804) 864-7431 or by emailing Olivette Burroughs