Aliens Holding Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability

(A) In General

Visas shall be made available, not exceeding 28.6 percent of the worldwide level, plus any visas not required for the classes specified in paragraph (1), to qualified immigrants who are either members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent, or possess exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. These individuals must demonstrate their potential to substantially benefit the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States, and their services in these fields are sought by an employer in the United States.

(B) Waiver of Job Offer

(i) National Interest Waiver
The Attorney General may, in the national interest, waive the requirements of subparagraph (A) that an alien's services be sought by an employer in the United States.
(ii) Physicians Working in Shortage Areas or Veterans Facilities
(I) In General
The Attorney General shall grant a national interest waiver for any alien physician, who has filed a preference classification petition under subparagraph (A), if:

  • (aa) the alien physician agrees to work full time in an area designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as having a shortage of health care professionals or at a health care facility under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and

(II) Prohibition
No permanent resident visa may be issued to such alien physicians until they have worked full time for an aggregate of 5 years (excluding time served in a nonimmigrant status described in section 1101(a)(15)(J)), in designated shortage areas or at facilities under the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

(III) Statutory Construction
This provision does not prevent the filing of a petition for classification under section 1154(a) or an application for adjustment of status under section 1255 by an alien physician described above before completing the required service period.

(IV) Effective Date
The requirements in this subsection do not affect waivers granted for alien physicians under subsection (b)(2)(B) before the enactment date. For physicians with waiver applications filed before November 1, 1998, the Attorney General shall grant a national interest waiver, with a requirement of 3 years of full-time work as a physician, before a visa can be issued or status adjusted.

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