There is still time to obtain a J-1 waiver. Many states such as California that normally receive a large number of J-1 waiver applications are far from reaching their quota: California has only received eight applications, Washington has received 4 applications, but Texas does not have any availability for their Conrad 30 Program. (It is interesting to note that this year, Texas, one of the most popular Conrad 30 programs, did not fill all of their Conrad 30 slots on the first day, as they normally do).
There has been a significant decline in J-1 Waiver Conrad 30 applications this year due to the overall decline in the J-1 visa program. In 2007 approximately 850 J-1 waiver applications were granted. In contrast, in 2006 approximately 1000 J-1 waiver applications were granted. The Wall Street Journal reports that “the number of foreign physicians with J-1 visas has decreased from 11,000 in 1995-1996 to 6,000 in 2005-2006” (Jordan, Wall Street Journal, 2/16). The popularity of the H-1B visa as an alterniative to the J-1 visa, and without the two year home residency requirement, is one of primary reasons that the popularity of the J-1 visa is in its decline.
However, the decline in J-1 waiver applications is a boon to physicians who have not applied for their J-1 waiver this year.
More information on the Conrad 30 Waiver page.