Healthcare providers should consider using the Conrad State 30 Program to recruit foreign physicians who can provide care in high-need areas. 

The Conrad State 30 Program is now processing J-1 visa waiver requests for foreign medical graduates who came to the United States to complete a residency/fellowship training program. J-1 visas normally require that the physician return to his/her home country for two years before practicing medicine in the United States. The J-1 visa waiver eliminates this two-year cooling off period.

There will be six slots reserved for specialist physicians from October 1 through March 31. As of April 1, any remaining slots will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and will be available to primary care physicians. In almost all cases, J-1 waiver recipients go on to qualify for H-1B visas.

The term “primary care physician” includes doctors who practice in pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, internal medicine and family practice. The term “specialist physician” includes doctors who practice in specialties that are not within the primary care designation. In all cases, to qualify for a J-1 waiver, the doctor must practice in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).

Because there is a lack of healthcare professionals providing care in shortage areas, hospitals, primary healthcare facilities, group practices and mental health facilities should consider meeting their healthcare provider labor needs through the Conrad State 30 Program.