J-1 Veteran’s Administration Waiver - J1 Visa Waivers

J-1 Veteran’s Administration Waiver

Interested U.S. Government Agencies (IGA) – Veterans Administration J1 Waiver

Veterans Administration J1 Waivers for Physicians

two-doc-one-nurse.jpgThe Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is authorized to request waiver of the two-year home residency requirements for J1 foreign medical graduates (FMG) when a VA facility can demonstrate overwhelming need.

This particular waiver option is appealing to J1 FMGs with specialized training, as a sponsoring VA facility may request a waiver for the J1 FMG to be employed in patient care, research or teaching. Moreover, physicians are not required to work in a medically underserved area.

The VA has very specific requirements for its program. As a result, there are certain actions that are required of both the J1 FMG interested in the VA program and the sponsoring VA facility.
Sponsor Requirements – The sponsoring facility must demonstrate that there is no US citizen or lawful permanent resident physician able and willing to assume this position.

  • Similar to labor certification requirements, the sponsoring facility must demonstrate that it has taken good faith recruitment steps to find a qualified US citizen or lawful permanent resident physician to fill the position. The facility must engage in specific recruitment steps, which must be documented:
    • Advertisements must be placed in professional journals within six months of filing a request for a waiver. The ads must be placed in nationally recognized journals appropriate to the specialty and have nationwide circulation.
      • The ads must also include specific information regarding the job opportunity.
      • Interested applicants must be found unqualified for the position.
    • Other recruitment activities should be used in conjunction with journal advertising. These other activities may include local advertising, announcements at professional meetings, and recruitment activities at selected universities.
  • The facility must also request a list of candidates from the Health Care Staff Development and Retention Office.
  • The facility must submit a report of the recruitment process, outlining in detail the evaluation process for all applicants who were not accepted for the position. It is important that the facility take and document prompt actions taken in response to applicants’ inquiries.
  • The employment opportunity must be at least 5/8 of full-time employment with the VHA. In such a situation, the remaining portion of the employment must be a joint appointment with the VHA affiliate.

Other Requirements – The physician must also sign a written agreement, confirming that upon approval of the waiver, he or she will begin employment within 90 days and will work for the VA facility for at least 3 years.


  1. File an application with the Department of State (DOS) and pay the appropriate processing fee.
  2. The facility demonstrates that it has complied with the recruitment requirements, and the Director drafts a letter meeting the VA J1 waiver guidelines including an explanation of the need of the J1 physician.
  3. The physician and the VA facility sign an agreement committing the physician to three years of employment at the facility and the facility indicates that they are offering a bona fide offer of employment.
  4. When the waiver package is completed by the facility Director, it is forwarded to the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) Directors. The VISN will review facility waiver requests prior to forwarding the application to the Health Revenue Center (HRC).
  5. The HRC reviews the waiver request and ensures that it meets the submission and documentary requirements, and is in accordance with regulations.
  6. The Forensic Medicine Strategic Health Care Group performs a final review of the waiver recommendation. If the recommendation is approved, the waiver request is approved it is forwarded to DOS.
  7. The DOS will forward the application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for final adjudication if the DOS approves the request, the VA makes a positive recommendation, and the doctor has been sponsored exclusively the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.
  8. USCIS will issue the final approval notice and the VA facility may file an H-1B petition for the doctor to allow him or her to work at the VA facility.

The VA has very specific eligibility requirements and application procedures for J1 waivers. As such, it is advisable that the physician and the prospective sponsor coordinate efforts through an Immigration Attorney from the outset to ensure that all requirements have been satisfied and that the application is proper submitted.

To discuss how we can assist you in securing your J1 waiver contact our office at 415-986-6186 or info@j1visawaiver.net.