What is the J-1 Visa Waiver Program?

The Conrad 30 J-1 Waiver Program is a nationwide initiative that allows J-1 foreign medical graduates (FMGs) to apply for a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement upon completion of the J-1 exchange visitor program.

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National Guidelines 

Although each state has developed its own application rules and guidelines, the following program requirements apply to all J-1 foreign medical graduates.

The J-1 foreign medical graduate must:

  • Have been admitted to the United States under section 101(a)(15)(J) of the INA to receive graduate medical training;
  • Enter into a bona fide, full-time employment contract to practice medicine in H-1B nonimmigrant status for at least 3 years at a health care facility located in an area designated by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), Medically Underserved Area (MUA), or Medically Underserved Population (MUP) or serving patients who reside in a HPSA, MUA, or MUP.
  • Obtain a “no objection” statement in writing from their home country if they are contractually obligated to return to their home country upon completion of the exchange program.
  • Agree to begin employment at the health care facility, specified in the waiver application, within 90 days of receipt of the waiver, not the date their J-1 visa expires.

Visit the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services page for further information

Indiana's J-1 Waiver Program - Quick Facts

  • Allows up to 30 Waiver Requests per state for physicians on J-1 Visas that agree to practice in an underserved area for at least 3 years. 
  • Indiana accepts all specialties, but primary care is given priority.
  • Indiana Primary Health Care Association does initial review of application. Indiana State Department of Health does a secondary review and makes the recommendation decision. The application is then sent to US Department of State for processing.
  • Cycle begins the first business day of September, closes to specialists when we have received over 30 applications. Closes to primary care when we have over 30 applications, or the last business day of the year, whichever comes later.
  • Indiana has filled all 30 slots for 10 consecutive years.
  • Typically have less than half primary care applications.
  • All Federally Qualified Health Centers are eligible for the program.
  • Site is required to be located in a primary care HPSA or MUA, score is not taken into consideration.
  • Will need to begin looking for employment early, as the contract must be in place before application can be submitted.
  • Application is comprised of 16 components, from both health care site and physician.
  • Must have all 3 US Medical Licensing Examination Step scores before submitting J-1 Visa Waiver application.
  • Must have applied for Indiana license before submitting J-1 Visa Waiver application. License can be pending, does not have to be approved for application to move forward.

Indiana J-1 Visa Waiver 2021 Cycle Update
(February 26, 2021)

The 2021 Cycle of the Indiana J-1 Visa Waiver Program closed December 31st, 2020 with a total of 40 applications for the year.

Indiana opened the 2021 J-1 Visa Waiver Cycle September 1st, accepting all applications but giving priority to primary care. Applications were prioritized based on notification of carrier pickup time, not time of arrival at the IPHCA office as in years past.

We received 38 applications for the 2021 cycle, along with 2 rollover bringing us to 40 applications for the year. Of those 40, 13 were primary care, which is consistent with the past few years.

The applications have been submitted to IDOH for further review and recommendation decision. Any changes to the guidelines for the 2022 Cycle will be announced before we begin accepting this fall.

For more information about Indiana's J-1 Visa Waiver process, please contact:
Natalie Morrison, MPH