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Independent Government Agency Request for Physicians

Medical doctors may apply for the Physicians J-1 Waiver in underserved areas. A foreign medical graduate who has been offered full-time employment in a health care facility in an area wherethere is a shortage of professional health care, agrees to begin working within 90 days of receiving the waiver, and signs a contract to work at the facility for a total of 40 hours per week, for no less than three years is eligible to apply for this waiver. It is possible for physicians to obtain this type of waiver through an Independent Government Agency or a State health agency.

Mentally Underserved Areas (MUAs) are defined as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas (MHPSAs), Medically Underserved Areas or Population (MUA/P) and Physician Scarcity Areas (PSAs). The current MUA/P can be obtained from the HPSA web page.

The procedure for obtaining an Independent Government Agency sponsorshipfor physicians is discussed below. For the procedure for a State Health Agency sponsorship, please click here:

Step 1: Complete the Online J Visa Waiver Recommendation Application

Complete the application, Form DS-3035, available on the J Visa Waiver Online web page. No other version except the online version of Form DS-3035 willlbe accepted.

Step 2: Mail your Waiver Application and Fee Payment

Mail the following items to one of the two addressed below, depending on the mailing method you choose.

  • Your completed online application, Form DS-3035, with barcode that you printed;
  • Legible copies of ever Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status) and IAP-66 ever issued to you;
  • Two self-addressed, stamped legal-size envelopes; and
  • The $215 application fee.

(Courier Service)
US Department of State
Waiver Review Division
Box 952137
1005 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101-1200

(Regular Service)
US Department of State
Waiver Review Division
P. O. Box 952137
St. Louis, MO 63195-2137

IMPORTANT NOTICE: You must submit your completed online application with barcode and fee payment together. If you send one of these items without the other, it will be returned and the application will not be processed.

Step 3: Submit Supporting Documents

Depending on which waiver you are applying for, supporting documents in addition to what were submitted in Step 2 are required. For an Interested Government Agency Request on behalf of a foreign physician who agrees to serve in a medically under-served area, the following is required:

  • Your curriculum vitae;
  • A statement signed and dated by you that reads exactly as follows:
    “I,(name of exchange visitor) hereby declare and certify, under penalty of the provisions of 18USC.1101, that: (1) I have sought or obtained the cooperation of (enter name of U.S. Government agency which will submit/is submitting an IGA request on behalf of the exchange visitor to obtain a waiver of the two-year home residence requirement); and (2) I do not now have pending nor will I submit another request to any U.S. Government department or agency or its equivalent, to act on my behalf in any matter relating to a waiver of my two-year home residence requirement."
  • A letter of request from the head of the agency, or a designated official, stating why it is in the public interest that you be granted a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement.
  • A signed contract for no less than three years and 40 hours a week between you and the facility where you will work;
  • Evidence that the clinic/facility is located in a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designated HPSA or MUA;
  • A statement signed by the head of the facility at which you will be employed stating the facility is located in a designated HPSA or MUA and provides medical care to both Medicaid and Medicare- eligible patients, and indigent uninsured patients. The statement should also include the Federal Information Processing Standards county code and census tract or block numbering area number (assigned by the Bureau of Census) or the 9 digit zip code of the area where the facility is located;
  • Evidence that unsuccessful efforts were made to recruit a U.S. citizen physician for the position (for example, medical journal advertisements; labor certification; or a language in a cover letter stating efforts to recruit a U.S. citizen physician have been unsuccessful); and
  • Form G-28 or a letter from a law office, if you designated an attorney to represent you.

Step 4- Check your Waiver Request Status and Update your Contact Information

Once you have submitted your waiver application and copies of DS-2019/IAP-66 forms, paid the fee (Step 2), and ensured that supporting documents were submitted (Step 3), The Waiver Review Division will consider your application to be complete, and you may check on the status of your waiver application by visiting the J Visa Waiver Online webpage and selecting “Check the status.” After you have entered your case number, the system will indicate if your DS-3035 online application and fee payment (Step 2 of the Instructions) and supporting documents (Step 3 of the Instructions) have been received. The system will also inform you if any required documents are missing. You should allow approximately one month from the time all documents were submitted before checking your status online. If you notice an error regarding your waiver case, you should contact Visa Services’ Public Inquiries Division at (202) 663-1225. Do not contact the Waiver Review Division.

If your contact information (address, phone number, or email address) changes while your request is being processed, you must update your information through the J Visa Waiver Online webpage by selecting “Inform the Department of State of a change to personal data.” The DOS will not be able to contact you in case they need additional information to process your waiver request unless they have your accurate contact information.

Step 5- If the Waiver Review Division Needs More Information from You

If the Waiver Review Division needs further information or additional documents from you, they will contact you using the contact information you provided on your online Form DS-3035.

If they request further information or additional documents from you, you should use the following address to send it to them:

U.S. Department of State
Visa Services
Waiver Review Division
2401 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20522-0106

Do not use this address when you are first submitting your waiver application and fee payment (Step 2).

At the conclusion of the review process, the Department of State, Waiver Review Division will forward its recommendation directly to USCIS. You will receive a copy of that recommendation at the address you listed on your online Form DS-3035, or the most current address they have for you if you reported a change of address.

If the DOS do not recommend to USCIS that you be granted a waiver, you will be sent a copy of the unfavorable waiver recommendation that is sent to USCIS.

The USCIS makes the final determination on your waiver request. USCIS will decide whether your waiver application is approved or denied and will notify you directly at the address you provided. After the Waiver Review Division has sent its recommendation to USCIS, you must contact USCIS if you would like to know the status of your case.

For more information on how to apply for a J-1 waiver, follow the links below or visit the DOS web page.

For more information about J-1 visa, please refer to the following links:

J-1 General Issues

Specific Information on J-1 Waivers