J-1 Waiver FAQs
When a physician on a J-1 waiver is concerned about the stability of the center, what can s/he do?
Answer: If a physician is on the Conrad 30 program, he or she must demonstrate extenuating circumstances before changing employers. Extenuating circumstances include the facility closing or hardship to a spouse. Having a concern about whether a facility would close does not rise to the standard of extenuating circumstances.
I am a J-1 physician and I have completed residency. However, I left the U.S. to reside in my home country. May I return to the U.S. if I have a job offer?
Answer: The physician would need to obtain an employment based visa before entering the U.S. If the physician has resided in her home country (and it is her home country) for less than 2 years, she must apply for a J-1 waiver. Of course, if she has resided in her home country for more than 2 years, she would not need to apply for a waiver.
How long does it take to obtain a J-1 waiver?
Answer: Processing times can vary month to month, and will usually depend on the case load of the different agencies involved. Currently, it is taking between three to eight months to complete adjudication of a J-1 Conrad 30 waiver. Physicians should commence the J-1 conrad 30 process early to ensure that s/he will obtain one of the Conrad 30 slots.
Do residents need a waiver to work at a health care facility?
Answer: If a resident is in the U.S. in J-1 status, he or she would need to change status to H-1B to work at a health care facility. However, to be able to change status, the J-1 resident needs to obtain a waiver. If a resident is in the U.S. in H-1B status, he or she would not need a waiver to work for a health care facility. The physician would need to request a change of employer.
How far in advance do J-1 residents need to apply for a J-1 waiver?
Answer: I recommend that you apply for your J-1 waiver at least 6 to 12 months before you complete your residency program.