A move is underfoot to expand the Conrad 30 program, which offers 30 J-1 visas per state to foreign physicians. Currently, Florida, New York, Texas, and California are among the most popular states. These states fill up fast, often within days. Each state has different requirements. Many states begin to accept applications in the fall, particularly with the start of the fiscal year in October.
Each state asks applicants to submit unique application materials. These are separate from those required by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of State. Applicants should contact their state’s department of public health or department of health care services for specific details. Rules and fees for state programs may change. The Texas Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Waiver rules are set to be amended in 2013.
States have different preferences for types of physicians. California has a critical need for primary care physicians, which include internist, family practice, pediatrician, psychiatrist, and OB/GYN. The California J-1 Visa Waiver Program does not accept applications from specialists.
Since the Conrad 30 program’s inception in 1994, the program has proved a success and received widespread bipartisan support. Across the country, particularly in states with aging rural populations, foreign physicians have helped alleviate the growing medical shortage. In addition, the larger number of medical professionals has allowed U.S.-trained physicians to pursue specializations.
In May 2012, President Obama signed a bill to extend the Conrad 30 program for three years to 2015. Yet S. 1979, the Conrad State 30 Improvement Act, a bill introduced in December 2011, would do far more. Both the American Hospital Association and American Medical Association have voiced support for the Improvement Act. This bill would make the Conrad 30 program permanent. It would also allow state health departments to fill 30 more slots per year if they could demonstrate that populations in need were being underserved. In addition, the bill would open the program to physicians on H-1B visas, improve employment contract terms, and excuse physicians who complete their service requirement of three years from H-1B visa caps and six-year limits. Contact our office at 916-613-3553 to learn more about the Conrad 30 program.