Foreign doctors in the United States on a J-1 visa are generally required to depart the country upon the completion of their program. But, a J-1 visa waiver for physicians can help you stay and work in the United States. Physicians must fulfill the two-year home-country physical presence requirement. However, if the physician receives a job offer to work in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs) or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for three or more years, these requirements can be waived.
Let’s take a look at each of the programs and waivers.
The Conrad 30 program is in place for J-1 physicians who wish to work as a medical professional in underserved areas. The physician can apply to waive the two-year home residency requirement upon the completion of their J-1 program.
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, J-1 physicians must meet each of the following requirements:
Another important component to the Conrad 30 process is supplying proof of non-immigrant intent. Meaning,the foreign physician must demonstrate concrete plans of returning to his or her country of origin upon the completion or fulfillment of their employment tenure.
Such documents include, but are not limited to the following:
To apply for the Conrad 30, applications must be submitted to the state’s healthcare agency. Though each state has its own deadlines, the time frames are usually between August and January.
The Conrad 30 program is state specific, wherein each state is authorized to accept up to 30 medical students each year.
HHS waivers are in place for primary care physicians only. Furthermore, the medical facility must have an HPSA score of 7. Unlike the Conrad 30 waiver, there is no limit on HHS applications per year. Additional information about clinical care waiver requirements, physician and program eligibility, as well as information for employers can be found on the HHS website.
The Appalachian region spans across 13 states, from Mississippi to New York. If the foreign physician lives/serves in the below states, there is a high probability he or she can apply for the ARC. The states are as follows:
There are eight DRA states, comprised mostly of Southern States. Each of which has its own unique landscape and is complete with diversity, culture and history. Equally as important is the opportunity boasted in each of these states. They are the following:
More information about opportunities according to state can be found on the DRA website.
Similarly, The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is also authorized to request home residency waivers for foreign physicians - with the caveat that the VA facility must be able to demonstrate an overwhelming need for healthcare providers.
Unlike many other programs, physicians working in a VA facility are not required to work in medically underserved areas.
An alternative could also be either of the following scenarios:
Lastly, J-1 waivers for home-country residence requirements for physicians can be based on a foreseeable, sustained hardship or persecution.
Physicians with J-1 visas who have moved to the U.S. to participate in clinical training programs are responsible for satisfying all of the J-1 Exchange Visitor agreements. This includes leaving the U.S. promptly upon program completion. So as to remain and continue working in the medical profession, doctors can petition for a J-1 visa waiver.
These waivers are specifically for the home residency requirement J-1 visa holders must typically satisfy after their training ends. There are many opportunities in medically underserved and shortage areas, which gives international medical graduates a chance to stay and work in their profession, in the United States.
It is important to note that these waivers are usually sponsored by interested government agencies, which include state Conrad 30 programs or United States federal agencies.
The following list are the programs, agencies or options J-1 physicians may consider:
Unfortunately the majority of J-1 waiver programs do not give waivers to employers. Though it is not entirely impossible.
J-1 program sponsors typically inform J-1 visa holders. However, the physician will most likely have this requirement if he or she is in a government-funded exchange program, has a specialized knowledge or skill, or is a graduate student in medical training/education.
No. Out of the 30 J-1 waiver slots, each state health department can use up to five of them for non-medically underserved areas. The condition is that the patients living in MUAs must be treated by the J-1 physician.
No. J-1 physicians cannot be granted this type of grace period.