J-1 Conrad 30 Waiver
Most doctors who enter the U.S. on a J1 visa to participate in a residency program are subject to the two year home residency requirement under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 212(e).
This means that at the end of the J1 program, the doctor cannot change to a different nonimmigrant status or apply for lawful permanent residence without returning to his or her home country for 2 years. However, a doctor may request a waiver of this requirement on several different grounds.
J1 Conrad 30 Waiver
The Conrad 30 waiver (or State 30 waiver) is a State Department of Health waiver utilized by foreign medical graduate (FMG) physicians. In 1994, Senator Kent Conrad created the “Conrad 20” to address the shortage of physicians in medically underserved areas. In 2003, this legislation was reauthorized, and increased the number of state sponsored waivers to 30 per year. Conrad 30 waivers usually target primary care physicians who have completed a U.S. residency training program in one of the following specialties: Family Medicine, General Obstetrics, General Pediatrics, General Internal Medicine and General Psychiatry.
Each state has specific requirements regarding whether your specialty will qualify for their Conrad J1 waiver program. On December 4, 2004, Congress enacted legislation that affords states the right to substitute five of their 30 slots with licensed and contracted specialty physicians.
What are the Requirements for a J1 Conrad 30 Waiver?
- The physician must work for three years and 40 hours per week providing primary care services.
- The employer must offer the physician a salary that is comparable to other physicians with the same level of experience and training in the clinic’s geographical area.
- The physician must provide evidence and work in a Medically Underserved Area (“MUA”) or in a Health Professional Shortage Area designated by the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”).
- The physician must submit Form DS 3035.
- A letter from the facility that wishes to hire physicians must be submitted.
- A letter from the State health department’s designated official (designated by the state governor) which provides that it is in the “public interest” that the exchange visitor physician remain in the U.S.
Each state also has unique Conrad 30 requirements which may include the following:
- The hospital may need to demonstrate its recruitment efforts to show that it was not possible to obtain a legal permanent resident or US citizen doctor.
- The doctor must be employed at a hospital that accepts Medicaid/Medicare eligible patients.
- The doctor must meet licensure requirements of the state.
- Applications must include the I-94 for the physician and copies of all IAP-66 forms.
There are certain caveats of which the applicant must be aware. First, if the physician’s J1 program was funded by the foreign government, the physician will need to obtain a no-objection letter as part of the Conrad 30 waiver. Second, if the physician does not fulfill the 3-year commitment under the terms as described in the Conrad 30 waiver, the physician will be subject to the two-year home residency requirement.
J1 waiver regulations are complex, and complying with the law is paramount to obtaining 1 of 30 allotted J1 waiver recommendations. Timing is also very important when applying for a J1 Conrad 30 Waiver, as they are granted on a “first come first serve” basis. If you submit a well-prepared application as soon as the filing date becomes available, you will have a higher likelihood of obtaining your J1 Conrad 30 Waiver. Therefore, it is imperative that you find out the MUA and HHS designated areas and the filing deadlines so you can successfully apply for a J1 waiver.
Contact our immigration lawyers at 415-986-6186 or at email@example.com to discuss how we can assist you in securing your J1 waiver and H1B visa.