J-1 Waiver Options

The most common route to a J-1 waiver for IMG physicians is through the Conrad 30 program. Conrad 30 waivers are available to physicians who agree to work full-time for at least three years in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area (MUA). The Department of Health in every state has the ability to grant 30 waiver slots each fiscal year to qualifying facilities. Each state has its own application process and eligibility criteria for the Conrad 30 program, but all states require at least a three-year commitment from the physician, and require the facility to be located in a HPSA or MUA. For more information about Conrad 30 J-1 visa requirements, please see our interactive Conrad 30 Map.

Are there any other options?

In addition to the Conrad 30 program, there are also federal agencies that sponsor J-1 waivers. For example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can sponsor J-1 waivers for physicians practicing primary care or general psychiatry in a HPSA or mental health HPSA. This program is a common default for facilities located in states that use up their Conrad 30 waiver slots within the first few weeks or months of the fiscal year. In addition, the Delta Regional Authority and Appalachian Regional Commission are two separate programs that cover many states in the southeast. Finally, there is a limited waiver category available to physicians who can demonstrate that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or child would suffer “extreme hardship” if the physician were required to fulfill the home residency requirement.

If you have any questions about how to obtain a J-1 waiver, please call or e-mail.

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