2023-2024 J-1 Visa Waiver Program is Open

As of January 1, 2024, the Conrad 30 program received 24 applications. The Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Program has 6 application slots available.

Program Updates

Effective immediately the California Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) is changing the way it receives applications for the J-1 Visa Waiver Program.  Applications for the Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program, the HHS J-1 Visa Waiver Program, and the NIW Program will only be accepted in PDF format via email.  All applications must be sent to J1VisaWaiverProgram@hcai.ca.gov. Inquiries regarding this change can be directed to J1VisaWaiverProgram@hcai.ca.gov.

A recent change for the Conrad 30 J-1 Visa Waiver program impacted facilities that were located in an MUA/MUP.  For the current application cycle a grace period will be provided for applicants who can prove they accepted a job prior to us announcing the J-1 Visa Waiver program changes on August 23, 2023

Changes to the application period for Conrad 30 Visa Waiver applications:

· All applications (primary care and specialists) will be accepted from February 1, 2024, through February 29, 2024.  Additional application cycles will open until July 1, 2024, or until all slots are filled.

· Applications will be reviewed in order of receipt and priority will be given to rural practice sites.

· The Conrad J-1 Visa Program will open additional cycles until the 30 allocated slots are filled (remaining 6 slots).

· To be eligible under a MUA/MUP designation the “Last Update Date” for the designation must be within the last four years.

Changes in requirements:

· Employers may only submit up to three applications per organization or practice site each year. If slots remain available after the first application cycles (October 1 through October 31, 2023, and December 1 through 31, 2023), employers who have exceeded the three-application limit may apply for additional waivers starting February 1, 2024.

· Employers must show evidence of six months of recruitment attempts for that vacant position.

· To be eligible under a MUA/MUP designation the “Last Update Date” for the designation must be within the last four years.

For more information, view the J-1 Visa Webinar Program Updates Presentation.

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 Cycles:
    October 1, 2023 – October 31, 2023, December 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023, and February 1, 2024 – February 29, 2024.
    Additional application cycles will open if all slots are not filled.

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

  • All applications will be accepted during the application period(s) and will be reviewed in order of receipt. Priority will be given to rural practice sites. Please review the “About the Program” section above for application cycle dates.
  • The physician must practice 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)

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.).

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) in California.

See NIW Program Guidelines here.

Application Requirements

Program Contacts

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

E-mail
J1VisaWaiverProgram@hcai.ca.gov