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Why is a Waiver Needed?

J-1 visa status authorizes an International Medical Graduate (IMG) to do

Graduate Medical Education (GME) in the United States.

All J-1 clinical physicians – no exceptions – need to return for two years to

their home countries following conclusion of GME.

Unless the two-year home residence obligation is waived, a J-1 physician is

ineligible for an H-1B visa and/or permanent residence

Therefore, it is necessary to get a waiver of the two-year home residence

obligation in order to get H-1B eligibility which, in turn, is the visa status that

will enable an IMG to work as a physician in the United States.

About the Conrad 30 Program

States can sponsor waivers in order to get physicians into hard-to-fill

placements where they will be serving the medically undeserved. There has

to be an element of expanding the safety net.

There are 30 waivers per year for each state. The waivers become available

October 1. Some states fill all 30 slots very quickly (a few hours); others

never fill all 30 slots. Consult with the Primary Care Office (PCO) regarding

state-specific details.

Up to 10 waiver numbers can be used for non-medically underserved

placements (Flex waivers). The balance can only be used for placements in

medically designated areas.

Whether the waiver is a Flex or normal waiver, the underlying goal is to show

that the IMG will provide safety-net clinical services – i.e., serve the indigent

and medically underserved and fill gaps in the medical delivery system.

If the J-1 waiver is granted, an IMG has a minimum three-year service

obligation that needs to be fulfilled in H-1B status (could be more by state).

Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program