Green Cards (Common)
National Interest Waivers
Professors & Researchers
Executives & Managers
PERM Labor Certification
Investors (EB-5 visas)
Family (Spouse, etc.)
Work Visas (Common)
O-1 Extraordinary Ability
TN Canadians & Mexicans
J-1 Visa Holders
Nurses & Physical Therapists
Frequently Asked Questions about J-1 Waivers for Physicians
Waivers for Practicing in Underserved Areas
What is considered an "underserved" area?
Underserved areas are places designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as experiencing a shortage of physicians. This means a Mental Health or Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or a federally designated Medically Underserved Area (MUA) or Medically Underserved Population (MUP). While the HPSA designation is universally accepted, certain states do not recognize the MUA/MUP designation. Both HPSA and MUA/MUP areas are designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
How can I obtain an application for a waiver?
You can download the Application for Waiver of the Two-year Foreign Residence Requirement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.
Which U.S. Government agencies can apply for the waiver on behalf of foreign medical graduates?
Appalachian Regional Commission, Department of Agriculture, Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Interior for Indian Reservations. Foreign medical graduates may also apply through an individual State's department of health that participates in the Conrad State 30 program.
If I am an exchange visitor physician and I plan to work in an underserved area in the United States, what must be presented to obtain a waiver based on an interested U.S. Government agency application?
You will need to provide the following:
The interested U.S. Government agency will need to gather and send directly to the Waiver Review Division the following:
Waivers for Veteran Administration Hospitals
I am a physician in J-1 status and I plan to work in a Veteran Administration hospital. What must be presented to obtain a waiver of the home residency requirement?
You can receive a waiver based on an Interested Government Agency from the Department of Veterans Affairs if you agree to serve in a VA hospital. VA hospitals do not have to be in an underserved area. You must the information above, but include a memorandum of agreement between you and the hospital in lieu of a three-year contract.
State Health Agency Requests
How do I apply for a waiver based on a request from a State health agency?
You must provide the following documents to apply for a waiver based on a request from a State health agency:
The designated official of the State health agency must prepare a letter stating that it is in the "public interest" that you remain in the United States. This letter must be sent directly to the State Department's Waiver Review Division, and include the following:
You must also include:
For quicker processing, the State health agency may submit both its and the
applicant's required documentation together to the
State Department's Waiver