Physician J-1 Visa Waiver Program Options

Nearly a quarter of active U.S. physicians are International Medical Graduates. In order to avoid the two-year rule and practice in the country after residency or fellowship, a visa waiver must be obtained.

The J-1 visa waiver program is a state and federal partnership that sponsors international medical graduates who agree to practice in an underserved area for a minimum of three years after completing their residency. There are a handful of different programs to choose from:

Conrad 30 Waiver Program
Each state offers 30 waivers every federal fiscal year. These waivers are administered through each designated state public health department and are the most frequently used option for those seeking a J-1 visa waiver. Check to see the number of remaining Conrad 30 spots for each state.

Flex Waivers are awarded to physicians who will not work in an underserved area but who will treat patients who live in underserved areas. States may convert up to 10 of their 30 waivers to be used as flex waivers. Currently, Texas, Arizona, and Indiana do not support flex waivers.

Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)
Waivers specifically for the following states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Delta Regional Authority (DRA)
Waivers specifically for the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.

Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
Limits employers to a few categories: Federally Funded Community Health Centers, Certified Rural Health Clinics, and certain Indian health clinics. These waivers are limited to Primary Care physicians.

Additional J-1 Visa Waiver Assistance:

J-1 Visa Emergency Hotline: (866) 283-9090

Regular communications and questions: jvisas@state.gov

American Medical Association Resources
Practicing Medicine in the U.S. 
Educational Commission Certification 
Residency Program Requirements
Immigration Information 
Licensure Information 
State Licensure Board Requirements

 

DISCLAIMER:

The information provided here is general in nature and should not be relied on for specific situations. In addition to working with an experienced physician recruiter, St. John Associates recommends that all physician visa candidates consult with an experienced immigration attorney to get the right plan for their specific situation.

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