Under U.S. immigration law, talented foreign doctors are eligible to come to the United States to engage in graduate-level residency training in specialized areas such as pediatrics, family medicine, and obstetrics. These foreign doctors typically are issued J-1 (Exchange Visitor) visas to complete residency training and are, by U.S. law, required to return to their country of citizenship or last residence to live for at least two years before they can change to H-1B (professional worker), L-1 (intracompany transferee) or U.S. permanent resident status.
The Conrad State 30 program created 30 waivers of the J-1 two-year foreign return requirement for each State per year to exempt these J-1 physicians to provide critically needed medical services to people lacking adequate medical care. The physicians eligible for a waiver must practice within specific medical specialties and must commit to practicing in the subject medically underserved areas for a specific period of time. This valuable waiver program has recently been extended for five years.