Conrad State 30 Program for Medical Doctors on J-1 Visas Seeking Waiver of Two-Year Home Residence Requirement Extended to April 28, 2017

Brief reprieve for waiver program that was due to expire in December of 2016.

Many people who receive J-1 exchange visitor visas to the U.S. must, before they attempt to follow up their U.S. stay by applying for U.S. permanent residence or any of certain long-term work visas, comply with a two-year foreign residence requirement. In other words, they need to either spend two years outside the U.S. or receive a waiver of the home residence requirement before changing or adjusting status in the United States. (See How J-1 Visa Holder Can Apply for a No-Objection Waiver of Two-Year Home Residency Requirement for details.)

Among the possible bases for a waiver of the two-year requirement is a request by a designated State Public Health Department stating that the foreign physician's services are needed in order to deal with a shortage of qualified doctors in a medically underserved area of the United States. (This is called the CONRAD State 30 Program.)

This waiver program was, however, due to expire in December of 2016. But recently, Congress enacted a joint resolution extending its validity period to April 28, 2017. This was meant as only a temporary stopgap, and Congress will hopefully make a longer-term decision on this program next year.

If you are a medical doctor in the process of applying for a J-1 visa and you hope to apply for a waiver of the two-year home residence requirement after finishing your J-1 exchange visitor program, you will need to have either entered the U.S. or been granted J-1 status by April 28, 2017.

If you already have a J-1 visa and are in the U.S., this deadline should not affect you.