2021-2022 Program Application Status

The application cycle for the 2021-22 fiscal year is October 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022. We are currently accepting applications for the 2021-22 fiscal year. Please check the site periodically for future changes.

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, the 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 1st through September 30th
  • Application Cycle for specialists: July 1st through September 30th

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.

Program Guidelines

Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program

  • Effective October 1 – June 30 each Federal Fiscal Year, the California J-1 Visa Waiver program targets 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 specialist will be accepted if slots remain available. All applications will be held for a 30 day period and prioritized in the following order:
    1. primary care physicians working in a rural clinic located in a HPSA, MUA, MUP, MHPSA
    2. primary care physicians working in an urban clinic located in a HPSA, MUA, MUP, or MHPSA designation
    3. cardiologist, gerontologist, or pediatric subspecialist working in a HPSA, MUA, MUP
    4. other specialist working in a HPSA, MUA, or MUP. 

Please 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.)

Should slots remain available on September 15, this patient threshold requirement will drop for the remainder of the cycle. 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.

NIW Program

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).

See NIW Program Guidelines here.

Application Requirements

Program Contacts

For more information, contact the J-1 Visa Waiver Coordinator.

Email
J1VisaWaiverProgram@hcai.ca.gov

Mail
Healthcare Workforce Development Division
Attention: J-1 Visa Waiver Coordinator
2020 W El Camino Ave
Sacramento, CA 95833

To Check Application Status:
https://j1visawaiverstatus.state.gov/