The North Carolina Office of Rural Health (ORH) is the government agency designated to implement the J-1 Visa waiver provision for foreign medical graduates. ORH recently released new guidelines for the J-1 visa waiver (“Conrad 30”) program. The ORH will begin accepting J-1 visa waiver applications from foreign medical graduates on October 1, 2019.
The State of North Carolina is committed to improving access to quality, affordable health care for persons residing in the state's rural and underserved areas. To increase the number of physicians practicing in these areas, the North Carolina Office of Rural Health (ORH) is serving as the "interested government agency" to implement the waiver provision for foreign medical graduates provided by Section 220 of Public Law 103-416. To this end, ORH is reviewing and processing waiver applications for physicians admitted to the United States under a J-1 visa before, on, or after the date of enactment of the law and before June 1, 1996.
Annually, on October 1, the State of North Carolina receives 30 J-1 Visa Waiver slots. To ensure North Carolina’s primary care needs are met, twenty (20) of the thirty (30) slots are reserved for Family Practice, General Internal Medicine, General Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology, or Psychiatry physicians practicing in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Physicians practicing as hospitalists in Family Practice, General Internal Medicine, General Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology, or Psychiatry will also be considered. The remaining ten (10) slots may be used for flex or specialist positions. Flex slots do not require the physician to be working in a HPSA and are not limited to Family Practice, General Internal Medicine, General Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology, or Psychiatry. If specialist applications exceed the number of available flex/specialty slots, specialist applicants practicing in a HPSA will be placed on a waiting list. Beginning April 1, ORH may consider utilizing unallocated primary care slots for specialists on the waiting list.
Visit the North Carolina Office of Rural Health's programs page here for additional resources and more information about the J-1 Visa Waiver Program and National Interest Waiver Program.
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