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
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