J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa: Independent Government Agency Waiver Request for Physicians only


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State Health Agency Request (For Physicians in Underserved Areas Only)

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 that there 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.

Thirty waivers are allotted to each state per fiscal year, five of which may be specialists practicing medicine outside of designated health shortage areas.

If a State Health Agency is sponsoring you, the following steps must be taken:

Step 1

Foreign Exchange Visitor must submit the following:

  1. Completed Form DS- 3035 J-1 Visa Waiver Recommendation Application,

  2. All DS-2019/IAP-66 forms,

  3. Curriculum vitae,

  4. “No objection” statement- If you request a waiver under the State Health Agency basis and you also received funding from your home country’s government to participate in the exchange program, your home country’s government must also submit a No Objection statement directly to the Waiver Review Division.

  5. Form G28 or a letter from the law office of an attorney is representing the applicant,

  6. Two self-addressed, stamped, legal-size envelopes (SASE) and a nonrefundable-processing fee of US$215 per application in the form of a cashier's check or money order payable to the U.S. State Department.

The State Health Agency that is sponsoring the physician must submit the following:

  1. Letter from the State health department’s designated official indicating why granting a waiver to the applicant is in the public interest, including the following:

    1. Exchange visitor’s name

    2. Country of last legal permanent residence

    3. Name of medical facility

    4. Address of facility

    5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) ID number of medical shortage area

  2. Letter from the facility indicating why they want to hire the physician

  3. Evidence that facility is in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or a Medically Underserved Area (MUA)

  4. A contract signed between the physician and health care facility for no less than 40 hours per week and no less than three years

To have the waiver application processed faster, the IGA may submit both the applicants and its documents together. All information should be submitted to:

(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

Step 2

Once the Waiver Review Division has received the applicant's J-1 Visa Waiver Recommendation Application, additional instructions will be sent along with the applicant's assigned case number. The instructions will include a list of outstanding documents that must be submitted in order to complete the application. After the applicant has received the applicant's assigned case number, the applicant must write the case number on all submitted documentation as well as on the outside envelopes of all future correspondence. If the applicant does not comply with these instructions, the submitted documents will be returned back to the applicant.

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the file is complete. You can check the application's status by calling (202) 663-1600. Applicant must know the case number in order to obtain the case status.

Step 3

Once it has reviewed the complete file, the Waiver Review Division will forward its recommendation directly to the USCIS. The applicant will receive a copy of the recommendation at the address provided on the applicant's J-1 Visa Waiver Recommendation Application. If the application is denied, however, he or she will be directly notified by the USCIS.

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

J-1 General Issues

Specific Information on J-1 Waivers