This post is to give a general outline about the J1 Visa waiver jobs and other waivers. It's a sort of an introduction for the International Medical Graduate about the topic.
Why do we need a waiver?
If you are on a J1 Visa and are subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement
, you may not change your status to that of H, L, or K, or to immigrant or legal permanent status until you have fulfilled the two-year foreign residence requirement by going back to your home country or receiving a waiver of this requirement. Most foreign Medical Graduates prefer not to go back to their country for those two years after they receive their training in USA (residency and/or fellowship) and therefore they look for a waiver.
How to get a Waiver?
There are 5 ways that you can get a waiver:
1) No Objection Statement:
This means that your home country's government says it's OK we don't want you back. This option is no longer available for IMGs after January 10, 1977.
2) Request by an interested government agency (IGA):
This means that a US federal agency comes and says hey we don't want that person to leave the country for 2 years, it will be harmful and not in the interest for the general public! As you can see it's almost impossible to get an IGA on your side specially if you are like most of us a regular IMG.
3) Exceptional Hardship:
This means that you prove that if you go back to your country for two year there will be an great impact on your significant other (spouse, children, ..etc) and these should be either US citizens or green card holders. Note that they will not buy it if you just tell them that you will be leaving your spouse and children. There should be a great impact such as for example your spouse in facing a terminal illness and you are the only one caring for the children.
This means if you convince the CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services) department that if you return to your country you will face persecution based on your ethnicity, race, religion, or political opinion then in that case the CIS can file for you the waiver.
5) State Department of Public Health (Under-served Rural Areas or Populations):
This is the option that most IMGs go for. It's also called CONRAD and commonly known among IMGs as J1 Waiver Jobs
It means that a specific State Health Department says that there are areas in that state which are under-served and we need this IMG to provide health care to cover that shortage.
There two types of HPSAs
, which means medically under-served areas
, which means the people (not the area) are under-served
Each State Department can file 30 shortage jobs each year (25 MUA + 5 MUP).
You are not eligible for this waiver job unless you provide a proof that you will be joining the job within 90 days from your waiver and that you will be working not less than 40 hours per week for not less than 3 years.
What is the official government agency to decide on waivers?
It's the Waiver Review Division
of the Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Waiver Review Division
P.O. Box 952137
St. Louis, MO 63195-2137
So in number three above you need to contact them directly. But in option number 5 the state department of health should contact them, not you.
More Information about J1 Visa Waivers
Check the official web page http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1296.html
Where to get J1 Visa Waiver Jobs?
There are many online services that have specialized in this.
You can also search for yourself what are the current HPSAs in each State and County and here's the link http://hpsafind.hrsa.gov/