J-1 Waivers for Physicians

Two Year Home Residency Requirement

Most doctors who enter the U.S. on a J-1 visa to participate in a residency program are subject to the two year home residency requirement (INA Section 212(e)). The two year home residency requirement requires the doctor to return to their home country for two years. Doctors may overcome returning to their home country by obtaining a waiver. Please visit our J1 Visa Waiver Resource Center for Doctors at http://j1visawaiver.net for more information pertaining to J1 waivers.

For news and articles, please visit our Immigration Blog for Physicians and Scientists.

Doctors are eligible for any of the following waivers set forth below.

Interested U.S. Government Agency Waiver

An IGA waiver is available, if it is demonstrated that the grant of this waiver is in the public interest of the U.S. The J1 exchange visitor must be able to show why it would be detrimental to the agency if the exchange visitor were required to return home upon completion of the J1 exchange program. The designated official or head of the interested government agency must submit the request directly to the Waiver Review Division.

For your convenience, we have included a list of US Government agencies that are authorized to submit waiver requests on behalf of exchange visitors.

Persecution Waiver

Persecution waivers are based on the J1 exchange visitor’s belief that he or she would suffer persecution based on race, religion, or political opinion if he or she were to return to his or her home country. The exchange visitor must initially submit this request to the USCIS, which will then notify the Waiver Review Division of its determination.

Exceptional Hardship Waiver

The J1 exchange visitor may request a waiver based on the exceptional hardship his or her U.S. citizen (or lawful permanent resident) spouse or child would suffer if the exchange visitor were required to leave the United States. Exceptional hardship does not include family separation caused by the exchange visitor’s departure from the U.S. An exchange visitor may not simultaneously apply for a persecution and hardship waiver.

Conrad 30 Waivers – State Health Department Waiver

Out of all of the waivers, most foreign medical doctors seek this waiver. Most state public health departments are allowed to request 30 waivers per federal fiscal year. The J1 Conrad 30 Waiver require that the doctor: 1) have an offer of full-time employment at a health care facility in a designated health care professional shortage area or at a health care facility which serves patients from such a designated area; 2) agree to work 40 hours per week and for three years or longer at a health care facility; and 3) begin employment within 90 days of receiving the Conrad 30 waiver.

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