J-1 Visa Waivers for Physicians to Work in Medically Underserved Areas

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A J-1 exchange visa holder who received graduate medical education or training in the U.S. (a J-1 medical doctor) is generally ineligible to apply for a Green Card or nonimmigrant visa unless he or she resides in his or her home country for at least two years upon completion of the J-1 exchange visitor program.  This requirement of returning to home country (to be more precise, the country of last permanent residence at the time of obtaining the J-1 classification/visa) is referred to as “Home Residency Requirement,” (“HRR,”) and is also known as the 212(e) requirement, based upon the section of the law that contains it.

This two-year HRR can be waived through four methods [three for Foreign Medical Graduates (“FMG’s”)].  We are highlighting here the most commonly used waiver options used by FMG’s. 

The most commonly used waiver options rely upon an FMG’s undertaking to serve a certain amount of time in a designated medical facility or area.  Information on each state’s programs is below.

Here is general information about the J-1 Visa program:

http://www.immigration.com/visa/j-1j-2-visa

The applying physician must begin the process with the U.S. Department of State and obtain a case number.  Here is the website for beginning the process and obtaining a case number:

https://j1visawaiverrecommendation.state.gov/

The applying physician needs to have employment lined up to participate in the program and agree to begin employment at the health care facility within 90 days of receipt of the waiver, not the date his or her J-1 visa expires.  The employment offer needs to be for full-time employment in H-1B nonimmigrant status at a health care facility located in an area designated by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), Medically Underserved Area (MUA), or Medically Underserved Population (MUP). 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a database of openings in shortage areas:

http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/shortage/shortageareas/index.html

In addition, there is another national database of available placements for this and similar programs, the 3RNet website, from which those interested should check “Search Only Health Professional Shortage Areas – HPSAs” in order to search rural areas that are eligible for the program:

https://www.3rnet.org/opportunities/

The applicant must obtain a “no objection” letter from his or her home country if the home government funded his or her exchange program.

The four most commonly used programs are as follows:

1)     The largest program is the Conrad-30 J-1 Waiver program.  Each state is entitled to 30 waivers per year.  Below are links to each state’s Conrad-30 program. 

 

2)     The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) manages health the research and clinical care portion of the U.S. Exchange Visitor Program.  This program accepts applications for two types of waivers--research performed in an area of priority or significant interest to the agency, and

health care services needed in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) in the United States.  Here is more information about this program:

 

http://www.globalhealth.gov/global-programs-and-initiatives/exchange-visitor-program/index.html

 

3)     The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is administered in the 13 states in the Appalachian region.  The ARC includes all of West Virginia and parts of 12 other states:  Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.  The links below for each state provide information about that state’s program.  Here is general information:

http://www.arc.gov/j1visawaiver

4)     The Delta Doctors program is administered in parts of eight states:  Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.  Information about most of these state programs is in the links below.  Here is general information about the Delta Doctors program:

 

http://www.dra.gov/delta-doctors/default.aspx

 

Below is a link for each state, including individual state contact information.  In addition, the U.S. State Department maintains a list of state contacts.  Should the state website not be clear about the contact person for that state, you may wish to consult this list:

 

http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1292.html

STATE BY STATE SUMMARY OF J-1 Waiver Programs

Alabama

Alabama has two main J-1 Waiver programs, the Conrad State 30 program and the Appalachian Regional Commission.  Alabama also participates in the Delta Regional Authority’s Delta Doctors program.  Here is information on Alabama’s programs:

http://adph.org/ruralhealth/index.asp?id=882 

Alaska

Here is information on Alaska’s Conrad-30 program:

http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dhcs/Healthplanning/workforce/assets/akPandP.pdf

Arizona

The 2012 deadline for applications for Arizona’s Conrad-30 program was June 15, 2012.  Here is information for next year’s program:

http://azdhs.gov/hsd/visa_waiver.htm

Arkansas

The deadline for Arkansas’s Conrad-30 program is September 15, 2012.  Here is information:

http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programsServices/hsLicensingRegulation/HealthFacilityServices/Pages/J-1WaiverProgram.aspxansas   

Arkansas also participates in the Delta Doctors Program of the Delta Regional Authority:

http://www.dra.gov/delta-doctors/apply.aspx?print=true

California

The deadline for Conrad-30 applications to California is September 30, 2012.  Here is information:

http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/rural/Pages/J-1VisaWaiver.aspx

Colorado

Colorado accepts Conrad-30 applications until it has filled the 30 slots.  Here is information:

http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/pp/primarycare/img/j1.html

Connecticut

The Connecticut Conrad-30 deadline of April 1 is extended if all 30 slots have not been filled.  Here is information:

http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3121&q=453806

Delaware

Delaware’s Conrad-30 June 30 deadline is extended if all 30 slots have not been filled.  Here is information:

http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/hsm/j1visahome.html

Florida

Florida’s Conrad-30 deadline for fiscal year 2013, which starts October 1, 2013, is November, 2012.  Here is information:

http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Workforce/recruit1/Waivers.html

Georgia

Georgia’s administers two programs, the Conrad-30 and the Appalachian Regional Commission programs.  Both receive applications year-round.  Here is information:

http://dch.georgia.gov/00/article/0,2086,31446711_40949889_154114565,00.htm

Hawaii

Here is information about Hawaii’s Conrad-30 program:

http://hawaii.gov/health/family-child-health/rural-health/j1visa.html

Idaho

Here is information on Idaho’s Conrad-30 program:

http://www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Health/RuralHealthandPrimaryCare/J1VisaWaiverNationalInterestWaiver/tabid/413/Default.aspx

Illinois

Here is information about the Illinois Conrad-30 program:

http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/rural_health/rural_home.htm

Indiana

The Indiana Conrad-30 program is closed for 2012.  Here is information for next year:

http://www.indianapca.org/programs/j1waiver.html

Iowa

Iowa receives Conrad-30 applications until the program is full.  Here is information:

http://www.idph.state.ia.us/hpcdp/primary_care.asp

Kansas

As of July, Kansas had several Conrad-30 slots still available.  Here is information:

http://www.kdheks.gov/olrh/j-1visa_waiver_overview.htm

Kentucky

Kentucky participates in three programs—the Conrad-30, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Delta Regional Authority programs.  Here is information:

http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/info/dpqi/ky+j1+visa+waiver+program.htm

Louisiana

Louisiana receives Conrad-30 applications until all slots are full.  Here is information:

http://new.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/page/792

Maine

Here is information on Maine’s Conrad-30 program:

http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/local-public-health/orhpc/j1.shtml

Maryland

Maryland has filled its Conrad-30 slots for 2012, but is compiling a waiting list.  Here is information:

http://fha.dhmh.maryland.gov/ohpp/SitePages/pco-j1visa.aspx

Massachusetts

Here is information on the Massachusetts program:

http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/provider/guidelines-resources/services-planning/workforce-development/workforce-help/j1/

Michigan

Michigan is sending out Conrad-30 applications for next year:

http://www.mimom.org/mi_conrad_30.php

Minnesota

Here is information on Minnesota’s Conrad-30 program:

http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/workforce/j1/index.html

Mississippi

Mississippi has a Conrad-30 program, an Appalachian Regional Commission program, and a Delta Regional
Authority program.  Here is information:

http://www.msdh.state.ms.us/msdhsite/_static/44,0,112,181.html

Missouri

Here is information on Missouri’s Conrad-30 program:

http://health.mo.gov/living/families/primarycare/j1visa/index.php

Missouri is also a member of the Delta Regional Authority, which administers the Delta Doctor program:

http://www.dra.gov/delta-doctors/

Montana

Here is information on Montana’s Conrad 30 program:

http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/primarycare/

Nebraska

Here is information on Nebraska’s Conrad 30 program:

http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/hew_orh_j1.aspx

Nevada

Here is information on Nevada’s Conrad 30 program:

http://health.nv.gov/PrimaryCare_Conrad_J-1.htm

New Hampshire

Here is information on New Hampshire’s Conrad 30 program:

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/bchs/rhpc/visa.htm

New Jersey

Here is information about New Jersey’s Conrad 30 program:

http://www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/j1/index.shtml

New Mexico

Here is information about New Mexico’s Conrad 30 program:

http://nmhealth.org/PHD/OPRH.shtml

New York

This year’s deadline for New York’s Conrad 30 program has passed.  2013 applications are now being accepted.  Here is information:

http://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/j-1_visa_waivers/

North Carolina

For information about North Carolina’s Conrad 30 program, contact the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.  Here is contact information:

http://www.ncdhhs.gov/orhcc/recruitment/medical.htm

North Dakota

Here is information about North Dakota’s Conrad 30 program:

http://www.ndhealth.gov/pco/

Ohio

Here is information on Ohio’s Conrad 30 program:

http://www.odh.ohio.gov/odhPrograms/chss/PCRH_Programs/recruitment/jvisa.aspx

Oklahoma

Here is Oklahoma’s Conrad 30 program contact:

http://www.ok.gov/health/Community_Health/Community_Development_Service/Primary_Care_&_Rural_Health_Development/Oklahoma_Volunteer_Charitable_Healthcare_Provider_Program/index.html

Here is Oklahoma’s Conrad 30 application:

http://www.oumedicine.com/docs/college-of-medicine-workfiles/com-visa_waiver_request.pdf?sfvrsn=2

Oregon

Here is information about Oregon’s Conrad 30 program:

http://www.oregon.gov/OHA/OHPR/PCO/index.shtml#Physician_Visa_Waiver_Program

Pennsylvania

Here is information on Pennsylvania’s Conrad-30 program:

State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program Policy 8-1-11.pdf

Rhode Island

Here is information on Rhode Island’s Conrad-30 program:

http://www.health.ri.gov/programs/physicianvisawaiver/index.php

South Carolina

Here is information on South Carolina’s Conrad-30 program:

http://www.dhec.sc.gov/health/opc/j1.htm

South Dakota

Here is information on South Dakota’s Conrad-30 program:

http://doh.sd.gov/RuralHealth/J1.aspx  

Tennessee

Here is information on Tennessee’s Conrad-30 program:

http://health.state.tn.us/rural/j1visa0.html

Texas

Texas does not have any Conrad-30 slots available this year, but is accepting applications for 2013.  Here is information:

http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/chpr/j1info.shtm

Utah

Here is information on Utah’s Conrad-30 program:

http://health.utah.gov/primarycare/employment.html

Vermont

Here is information on Vermont’s Conrad-30 program:

http://healthvermont.gov/rural/programs.aspx

Virginia

Virginia’s slots in this year’s Conrad-30 program are full, and will begin accepting applications for next year on October 1.  Here is information:

http://www.vdh.state.va.us/healthpolicy/primarycare/incentives/j1visa/index.htm

Washington

The State of Washington may still have slots available for this year’s Conrad-30 program.  Here is information:

http://www.doh.wa.gov/PublicHealthandHealthcareProviders/RuralHealth/HealthProfessionalSupportPrograms/J1VisaWaiverProgram.aspx

West Virginia

West Virginia participates in the Conrad-30 and Appalachian Regional Commission programs.  Here is information:

http://www.wvochs.org/dr/j-1.aspx

Wisconsin

Here is information on Wisconsin’s Conrad-30 program:

http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/health/PrimaryCare/J_1Visa/index.htm

Wyoming

Here is information on Wyoming’s Conrad-30 program:

http://www.health.wyo.gov/rfhd/rural/Primary_Care_Office.html

Nonimmigrant Visas: 
Profession/Occupation: