2022-2023 Program Application Status: OPEN
As of May 9, 2023, 20 of the 30 slots have been filled for the Conrad 30 Program.
About the Program
Federal law requires that foreign physicians seeking to pursue graduate education or training in the United States must obtain a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa. Upon completion of their studies, physicians must return to their home country for at least two years before they can return to the U.S. Physicians who are subject to the two year home country residence requirement may apply for a waiver of that requirement with a recommendation from an interested state health department.
Housed within the Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI), the California J-1 Visa Waiver Program oversees the following three waiver programs:
I. Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program (Conrad 30)
- Application Cycle for primary care physicians: October 1, 2022 through September 30, 2023
- Application Cycle for specialists: July 1, 2023 through September 30, 2023
II. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) J-1 Visa Waiver Program
- Application Cycle: July 1st through June 30th
III. National Interest Waiver Program (NIW)
- Application Cycle: July 1st through June 30th
The California J-1 Visa Waiver Program does not grant waivers. Recommendations to approve a waiver request are sent to the Department of State (DOS). DOS will submit its approval recommendation to the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Service (USCIS) for final determination.
Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program
- Effective October 1 – June 30 each Federal Fiscal Year, the California J-1 Visa Waiver Program prioritizes primary care physicians who have completed a U.S. residency training program in one of the following practice areas: Family Medicine, General Pediatrics, and General Obstetrics/Gynecology, General Internal Medicine or General Psychiatry.
- The primary care physician must practice primary care medicine full-time at a health facility that is located in a geographic area or areas that are designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), Medically Underserved Area (MUA), Medically Underserved Population (MUP) or psychiatric care in a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area (MHPSA)
- Effective July 1-September 30, applications from specialists will be accepted if slots remain available. All applications will be prioritized in the following order:
- primary care physicians working in a rural clinic located in a HPSA, MUA, MUP, or MHPSA
- primary care physicians working in an urban clinic located in a HPSA, MUA, MUP, or MHPSA
- cardiologist, gerontologist, or pediatric subspecialist working in a HPSA, MUA, or MUP
- other specialists working in a HPSA, MUA, or MUP.
Note: Sponsoring employers must document the need for a proposed specialty using population-based data relevant to the proposed specialty (morbidity, mortality, population/physician ratio etc.).
Conrad 30 applications must be received by September 15, 2023 for review. FLEX slots are not available.
See Conrad 30 Guidelines here.
HHS J-1 Visa Waiver Program
HHS is responsible for managing the U.S. Exchange Visitor Program and accepts applications to request a waiver of the 2-year foreign residency requirement related to clinical care waivers.
The California J-1 Visa Waiver Program receives applications and provides HHS J-1 support/acknowledgment letters throughout the year for primary care physicians (family medicine, general internal medicine, general pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, or general psychiatry). Physicians must agree to deliver health care services for three years in a primary care or mental health HPSA.
See HHS Program Guidelines here.
Foreign national physicians seeking a Green Card via the second-preference employment category (EB-2) requires a job offer and labor certification. This requirement can be waived if the physician demonstrates that granting the EB-2 petition would be in the national interest of the United States. Physicians can apply for a NIW and must agree to work full-time in a medically underserved area.
The California J-1 Visa Waiver Program receives applications and provides NIW attestation letters throughout the year for primary care physicians (family medicine, general internal medicine, general pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, or general psychiatry). Physician must agree to a 5-year, full-time service obligation in either in a HPSA, MUA, MUP, or MHPSA (for psychiatrists) in California.
See NIW Program Guidelines here.
- Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Application Requirements
- HHS J-1 Visa Waiver Application Requirements
- J-1 Visa Waiver Authorization for Release of Information Form
- NIW Application Requirements
- NIW Authorization for Release of Information Form
For more information, contact the J-1 Visa Waiver Coordinator.
Healthcare Workforce Development Division
Attention: J-1 Visa Waiver Coordinator
2020 W El Camino Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95833