June 01, 2020

New J-1 Waiver Option for Primary Care Physicians Now Available at Department of Health and Human Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recently expanded its J-1 waiver program. Now private employers can request a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement for qualified J-1 physicians from the DHHS clinical care waiver program.

The DHHS accepts requests from employers in all 50 states. Unlike the Conrad 30 state waiver program, the DHHS has no limit on the number of waivers it can recommend.  Applications are accepted any time of the year and typical processing time is 90 to 120 days.

To qualify, the physician must practice in a primary care specialty, i.e. family medicine, general internal medicine, general pediatrics, obstetrics & gynecology, or general psychiatry.  In addition, the practice must be in a health professional shortage area (HPSA) score of 07 or higher.  To find out your practice location HPSA score, enter the address at data.hrsa.gov.

Other requirements for this J-1 waiver program include:

  • Employer agreement to treat all patients regardless of their ability to pay, accept Medicare, Medicaid, and S-CHIP assignment, and use a sliding fee scale
  • Three letters of community support
  • State health department support/acknowledgment letter
  • Three-year employment contract (cannot contain a non-compete clause or restrictive covenant)
  • Evidence of employer’s regional and national recruitment efforts

For the best chance of starting work on time, it is recommended that you submit your J-1 waiver application at least nine months before your expected start date.

This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances.  For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to call me at 214-494-8033, complete my contact form