J-1 Foreign Physicians: Waiver of the Foreign Residency Requirement
There are five different ways in which you may obtain a waiver of the J-1 foreign residency requirement. Any one of these will work, provided you meet all the criteria for that particular type of waiver. If you have questions about the J-1 exchange visitor nonimmigrant visa and would like to consult with an attorney, contact The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates. We have over 50 years of combined legal experience in a wide variety of complex and immigration law matters.
Request by a designated state public health department or equivalent
If your J-1 status is to pursue graduate medical training or education, a waiver may be available to you upon request of a designated state public health department or its equivalent (this waiver is also referred to as the “Conrad state 30 program”). In order to qualify you must meet all the following criteria:
- Have an offer to work full-time at a healthcare facility in designated health care professional shortage area or a healthcare facility that serves patients from such designated area;
- Agree to start working at that facility within 90 days after receiving your waiver;
- Sign a contract to continue employment at that healthcare facility for 40 hours a week and for at least three years.
No objection statement from your home country government
You may obtain a waiver if your home country government issues you a no objection statement from its Washington DC Embassy. The statement must say that it does not object to you not returning to your home country to satisfy the two-year physical presence requirement, and it does not object to you becoming a US lawful permanent resident (green card holder). This statement may also be issued by a designated ministry in your home country and sent to the appropriate US office.
Request by an interested US federal government agency
If you are working on a project for or of interest to a US federal government agency, and that agency believes that your two-year departure would be detrimental to its interests, that agency may request an Interested Government Agency Waiver on your behalf. Such waiver may be requested by any US federal government agency.
If you will face persecution if you return to your home country
You may apply for a persecution waiver if you believe that you will be persecuted based upon your race, religion, or political opinion if you return to your home country. This is similar to making an application for asylum and is not an easy waiver to obtain.
If your US citizen or LPR spouse or child will suffer extreme hardship
You may apply for a waiver if you can establish that your departure from the US would cause exceptional hardship to your US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or child. It is not sufficient to show that your separation from family is a hardship, and this is also not an easy waiver to obtain. If you would like further information about the J-1 exchange visitor nonimmigrant visa or any other immigration matter, please contact our immigration attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA to schedule a consultation with an attorney at an office near you.