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Physicians - J1 Visa Waivers

J-1 Visa Waivers For Physicians (FMGs/IMGs)
A waiver of the J-1 2-year foreign residency requirement generally requires a commitment to work full-time in a Medically Underserved Area for at least three years.  The area of service must be designated by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), medically underserved area (MUA), Medically underserved populations (MUP). Some programs only support primary care physicians while others include subspecialists.

Interested US Government Agency (IGA) J-1 Visa Waiver Sponsorship.   The following US federal agencies presently have established J-1 visa waiver programs: the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Delta Regional Authority, the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs, and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Sponsorship
In addition, each state is permitted to grant up to thirty (30) J-1 waivers annually to physicians who work or serve patients in its underserved areas under the Conrad-30 program.  Some states also have J-1 waiver programs for sub-specialists. Applications are generally accepted starting October 1 annually when new spots are issued.   However, each state creates its own guidelines, when applications will be accepted, what happens if the limit of 30 is not reached and whether subspecialties may be sponsored.  Each state has a specific agency or contact that administers the program.

Department of State Application - DS 3035
In addition to the application for a J-1 Visa Waiver, an applicant must also obtain a case number from the U.S. Department of State. The application must be submitted by filing Form DS-3035 along with supporting documentation and fee to the Department of State. This DOS number must be issued and provided to the governmental agency processing the J-1 Visa Waiver application before the waiver application is approved.

Please visit our Physician Information Center   for general information about how foreign medical graduates (FMGs) may obtain temporary and permanent visas to stay and work in the United States.  Our Useful Web Links for physicians also provides important resources for visa applications. To Contact one of our experienced immigration attorneys, use our Contact Us  form or phone at 312 795-9110.

J-1 Waiver Transfer/Change of Wavier Job
In many instances, The USCIS permits physicians unable to complete the 3 or 5 year waiver requirement under the original sponsoring employer to change jobs or start/buy a practice in an medically underserved area to complete the waiver requirement. Sometimes, multiple job changes may be approved so long as the employment remains in an underserved in the same or different state. [Review details of Waiver Transfer].