The Conrad 30 Waiver program allows J-1 medical doctors to apply for a waiver for the 2-year residence requirement upon completion of the J-1 exchange visitor program. The program addresses the shortage of qualified doctors in medically underserved areas.
Although each state has developed its own application rules and guidelines, the following program requirements apply to all J-1 medical doctors.
The J-1 medical doctor must:
- Agree to be employed full-time in H-1B nonimmigrant status at a health care facility located in an area designated by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), Medically Underserved Area (MUA), or Medically Underserved Population (MUP).
- Obtain a contract from the health care facility located in an area designated by HHS as a HPSA, MUA, or MUP
- Obtain a “no objection” letter from his or her home country if the home government funded his or her exchange program
- Agree to begin employment at the health care facility within 90 days of receipt of the waiver, not the date his or her J-1 visa expires
See your state’s public health department website for specific details.
To apply for a waiver, a J-1 medical doctor must:
- Obtain the sponsorship of a state health department
- Complete the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Form DS-3035, J-1 Visa Waiver Review Application
The state public health department that agreed to sponsor the J-1 medical doctor for a waiver must then send the waiver application to the DOS Waiver Review Division (DOS-WRD) for a recommendation.
After DOS Makes a Recommendation
DOS-WRD will notify USCIS electronically of its recommendation. DOS will notify the J-1 medical doctor, attorney of record (if applicable), and the state agency that requested the waiver by mail.
USCIS will make a final determination on whether to approve the waiver application. Upon a favorable recommendation by DOS-WRD, USCIS will generally grant the waiver as long as there are no underlying concerns. USCIS will provide written notice of its decision to the J-1 medical doctor and his or her representative (if applicable).
Responsibilities After Being Granted a Waiver
If USCIS grants the waiver:
- The petitioner must submit a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, along with the DOS-WRD favorable recommendation letter, in order to request a change of the J-1 medical doctor’s nonimmigrant status to H-1B.
- The spouse and/or child of the waiver recipient must submit Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, in order to change status from J-2 to H-4 nonimmigrant status.
- The J-1 medical doctor must practice medicine for at least three years in an area designated by HHS as a HPSA, MUA, or MUP.
Once the Conrad 30 waiver recipient has fulfilled all of the terms and conditions imposed on the waiver, including the 3-year period of employment with the health care facility, he or she (and his or her spouse and/or child) will become eligible to apply for:
- An immigrant visa
- Permanent residence
- H or L nonimmigrant visa
If waiver recipient fails to fulfill the terms and conditions imposed on the waiver, he or she (and his or her spouse and/or child) will once again become subject to the 2-year foreign residence requirement under section 212(e) of the INA