The federal National Interest Waiver (NIW) program allows certain foreign workers with advanced degrees, including foreign physicians (MDs), or exceptional abilities to work in the United States. A national interest waiver granted to a foreign physician by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security exempts the foreign physician from the labor certification process administered by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Under the federal NIW program, a state health department may support with an attestation letter a request for a national interest waiver for a foreign physician. The foreign physician must agree to provide primary care services full time in a federally designated primary health professional shortage area (HPSA), medically underserved area (MUA), medically underserved population (MUP), or mental health professional shortage area (MHPSA) for an aggregate of five years.
A state public health department's participation in the NIW program is discretionary. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has determined that participation in the NIW program will promote the effective use of health manpower and facilities in this state as required by A.R.S. § 36-104(16). The ADHS' participation in the NIW program will increase access to health care for the underserved residents of this state.
Foreign physicians who obtain a national interest waiver from the USCIS based on an ADHS NIW attestation letter must provide services in qualifying service sites or rural
areas; serve the uninsured and under-insured, regardless of ability to pay; must accept Medicaid (AHCCCS) and Medicare assignment; and must use a sliding fee schedule. For more information refer to the Arizona National Interest Waiver Program Guidelines.
To determine if a site or an area is designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P), visit the Shortage Designation Advisor website.
AZ National Interest Waiver Program Guideline
AZ National Interest Waiver Program Provider Application
The Arizona Department of Health Services requests that physicians who have received support for their National Interest Waiver submit an Encounter Form quarterly.
AZ National Interest Waiver Program Encounter Form