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J1 Waiver > Conrad State 30

CONRAD STATE 30 WAIVERS FOR J-1 PHYSICIANS

The CONRAD STATE 30 program was designed to provide each of the fifty U.S. states with 30 waivers for J-1 physicians each fiscal year. Each State has been given some flexibility to implement its own guidelines, but there are some basic requirements that are common to all STATE 30 programs. For physicians who qualify, the STATE 30 program it is an excellent method of obtaining a waiver.

The history of the program, for those who are interested, is set forth below:

Per the Health Professional Educational Act (HPEA) of 1977, foreign physicians have typically come to the United States for residency/fellowship training using the J1 visa. Under HPEA, all J-1 Clinical Physicians, regardless of their country of citizenship, fall subject to the two-year home residence obligation. Under U.S. law – specifically, § 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) – once a J-1 Exchange Visitor becomes subject to the two-year home residence obligation, he/she is rendered ineligible for an H-1B visa and/or permanent residence until the home residence obligation has either been waived or fulfilled. Interestingly, HPEA made physicians the only group of J1 holders who are barred from obtaining waivers of the two-year home residence obligation based upon the issuance by the home country of a “No Objection” letter releasing the physician from an obligation to return home. Instead, for a clinical physician to obtain a waiver, he/she must obtain the recommendation of an Interested Government Agency (IGA), which agrees to sponsor a physician for a waiver as a matter of US public interest. Given that only Federal agencies were authorized to sponsor waivers, a number of agencies initiated waiver sponsorship programs but then backed out of such sponsorship due to monitoring difficulties, including both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Conrad J1 Waiver Program. In 1994, the U.S. Congress passed legislation (sponsored by Senator Kent Conrad – Democrat - North Dakota) that enlarged the scope of government waiver sponsors to include State Departments of Health in each of the 50 U.S. States. The purpose of this legislation was to address the increasing shortage of American physicians willing to work in underserved regions of the country, both rural and urban. During the past 15 years, the Conrad Waiver Program has expanded as follows:

Today, the great majority of J1 physicians applying for waiver are sponsored by the Conrad State 30 Program or through the Veterans Administration (VA Waiver).

Frequently Asked Questions about the Conrad State 30 Waiver

  1. What are the basic requirements for a STATE 30 Waiver? What is the process for obtaining a waiver?

  2. Do all U.S. States have a STATE 30 waiver program?

  3. What is the definition of 'Primary Care' for the purpose of a STATE 30 waiver?

  4. I have completed fellowship/specialty training, though I am qualified to work as a primary care physician. Do I qualify for the STATE 30 program?

  5. I understand that I must sign at least a three (3) year employment contract with the medical facility. Do the contents of this contract must adhere to certain guidelines?

  6. Is there any advantage to applying for the STATE 30 waiver instead of the HHS waiver, which is now available to physicians working in under served areas as well?

  7. How can MDgreencard.com assist me with this process?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

1. What are the basic requirements for obtaining a STATE 30 J-1 Waiver? What is the process for obtaining a waiver.

The main requirements to becoming eligible to applying for a J1 visa waiver through the Conrad 30 program are as follows:

a. An offer of employment as a primary care (or specialist, in certain States) physician in a Federally designated medically underserved area in a particular State for a period of at least three-years;

b. Agreement by the State Health Department in the State of intended employment to serve as an Interested Governmental Agency to sponsor the waiver

The specifics of the process are set forth below:

  • Physician locates job offer in underserved area (or area that serves patients residing in underserved areas);

  • Attorney contacts State Health Dept. to verify that anticipated work location qualifies for waiver consideration;

  • Attorney reviews State J1 waiver guidelines to insure that physician meets eligibility requirements for that particular State

  • Attorney obtains a J-1 Waiver case number for physician from the U.S. Department of State.

  • Attorney works with employer to prepare and file a J-1 Waiver Application with the applicable State Health Department. Usually, J-1 Waiver Applications are accepted beginning on October 1st of any particular year, but each State has its own regulations in this regard.

  • State Health Department reviews application, and if acceptable, forwards the application to the U.S. Dept of State for their recommendation (the Dept of State nearly always issues favorable recommendation in Conrad 30 applications).

  • Dept of State sends file to the US Immigration Service (USCIS) for review and final approval (upon final approval of the J-1 Waiver by the USCIS, the Physician is supposed to agree to begin employment within 90 days of J1 visa waiver approval - please note that the statutory language obligates the physician to agree to begin work rather than to actually show up for employment for the sponsoring employer.

  • The sponsoring employer needs to sponsor the Physician for H-1B visa, which, once granted, provides the alien with employment authorization

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2. Do all U.S. States have a STATE 30 waiver program?

(see our website www.J1waiver.com for the latest J1 visa waiver guidelines for all U.S. States)

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3. What is the definition of 'Primary Care' for the purposes of a STATE 30 waiver?

Unfortunately, there is no universally accepted definition of primary care, and each State may have its own definition.

For example, the State of Maryland defines 'Primary Care' to include only Family Practice and General Pediatrics, while the State of Florida considers primary care physicians to be those practicing Family Practice, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry.

Usually included though are internists, obstetricians/gynecologists, family practitioners, general practitioners, psychiatrists (sometimes) and on rare occasions, general surgeons. Be sure to contact us with specific requests about a particular State's definition of primary care.

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4. I have completed fellowship/specialty training, though I am qualified to work as a primary care physician. Do I qualify for the STATE 30 program?

That depends on the particular State. Some States will deny any waiver request for a physician who has completed any fellowship or specialty training, even though he/she has a job offer as a primary care physician and is qualified to practice primary care. Be sure to contact us with specific questions about a particular State's requirements, as the requirements often change.

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5. I understand that I must sign a three (3) year employment contract with the medical facility. Do the contents of this contract must adhere to certain guidelines?

Yes, each State has its own requirements for specific clauses and language that must be in your contract. For example, many States require that the start date be within 90 days of obtaining the waiver and that the contract not have a non-compete clause. Please be sure to contact us with specific questions about a particular State's requirements.

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6. Is there any advantage to applying for the STATE 30 waiver instead of the HHS waiver, which is now available to physicians working in under served areas as well?

Perhaps. According to the HHS regulations, waiver applications that they receive may be forwarded to the particular State for placement in that State's waiver program, assuming that the 30 positions have not been filled. Therefore, by filing with the State directly, time may be saved in the adjudication process.

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7. How can MDgreencard.com assist me with this application?

The attorneys at our office typically prepare and file more than 50 J1 visa waiver applications each year, in multiple U.S. States.

We have vast experience in dealing with State Health Departments throughout the country.

It is very likely that our law office has filed more waiver applications in the Conrad State waiver program than any other law firm in the country during the past ten (10) years.

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Please visit our website at www.J1waiver.com for more detailed information about waiver processing.

 

 

 

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