J Waivers for Physicians

J Waivers for Physicians J waivers for physicians are available for doctors who agree to work in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) or Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs) for a minimum of 3 years. Generally, International Medical Graduates who do medical residency and fellowship programs in the U.S. must return to their home countries for 2 years after completing their programs unless they receive J waivers.

J waivers are also available if a doctor can demonstrate that his spouse and children who are either U.S. citizens or green card holders would suffer “exceptional hardship” if he were forced to return to his/her home country for 2 years. Finally, J waivers  can be granted if the doctor can demonstrate that he would be persecuted if forced to return his home country.

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) must pass the the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), complete a medical residency in the U.S. and become licensed in a particular state in order to qualify to practice medicine in the United States.  Often, IMGs obtain J-1 visas to come to the U.S. to do their residencies and fellowships.  If so, they are compelled to return to their countries for a minimum of two years once their training is complete.

J waivers for physicians are generally sponsored by an Interested Government Agency (IGA), either a state Conrad 30 program or a Federal agency.  A smaller number of J waivers are obtained if it can be shown that the physician would be persecuted if he had to return to his home country or that his spouse and children (U.S. citizen or lawful permanent residents) would suffer “exceptional hardship” if the physician were forced to return home.

In the near future, physicians will be able to seek J waivers from a newly-designated federal agency, the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission.

This page explains the procedures by which J waivers for physicians can be granted by the U.S. government.


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“I work with Merritt Hawkins, the largest physician search firm in the United States. For over 20 years, we have partnered with The Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, which assists us in obtaining visas for the many international physicians we recruit. Mr. Shusterman and his staff have been an indispensable resource of expertise, allowing us to recruit international doctors in the most efficient manner possible on behalf of our clients.”

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J-1 Waivers For Physicians is divided into the following subtopics:




Each state has the ability to sponsor up to 30 physicians each year for J waivers. Almost all states sponsor primary care physicians, and a rapidly increasing number of states sponsor specialists. Most states post their criteria for sponsoring J waivers for physicians online. Click on the name of the states listed below to access this information.

Conrad 30 Web Sites:





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