If you’re a physician who has a J-1 visa and you are seeking a waiver in place of the two-year home residency requirement, you may be aware of the Conrad 30 program and its benefits.
Conrad 30 allows each state to select 30 physicians to submit to the U.S. Department of State to be chosen for a J-1 visa waiver.
Although a great resource, it helps to know the program’s limitations. One of them is the timing each state has to accept these applications. The federal government’s fiscal year is from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30. Each Conrad 30 J-1 visa waiver program follows a similar timeline in almost every state.
View the states, contacts and deadlines as published on their websites.
As a physician in this process, here are details of which you should be aware when researching positions:
- Some states have rules regarding how many specialists are approved per year and prioritize primary care and psychiatrists (regardless of the psychiatry subspecialty). In some cases, it is on a first-come, first-served basis.
You may be working with an in-house recruiter or a third-party agency recruiter, which is excellent. They may tell you that they have a position that qualifies for a waiver spot. Most recruiters are experts in their field. You can take their word for it related to interviewing for their open positions, but it is best to check with an immigration attorney when it comes to any final decisions.
- It’s best to be the one responsible for your immigration process. It’s highly recommended you check out the website for the state in which you will interview to ensure the location you’re seeking can meet the required qualifications. Although you won’t know details like the payor mix and the percentage of underserved patients, your immigration attorney will take care of making sure your application is updated.
Regardless, you can be your advocate upfront and research before making travel arrangements or taking time off work. If you have questions, make sure to ask your recruiter.
- Once a state selects you for their Conrad 30 program, the J-1 visa waiver coordinator will submit your application that your employer’s attorney puts together for you to the U.S. Department of State. From there, the Department of State will send it on to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Your attorney will continue the next steps ensuring that all of the rest of your paperwork is in order.
You can only have one pending petition/application, and only one J-1 visa waiver petition pending at a time with the U.S. Department of State. It is vital to be honest with the immigration attorney chosen to represent you. They need to make sure there is not one already pending so your current process can keep moving.
Conrad 30 is considered as one of the simpler, less expensive ways to obtain a waiver, as most states do not charge much or any fees to apply and, in some cases, the rules and restrictions are different from those of some of the other waiver options.
As you continue researching and looking into the Conrad 30 program’s benefits and limitations, keep in mind how these factors will influence your job search and make sure you know your responsibilities.