Conrad 30 J-1 Waiver for Foreign Medical Graduates
All foreign medical school graduates who undertake graduate medical training in the United States under the J-1 exchange visitor program are subject to a two-year foreign residency requirement. Under this requirement, foreign medical school graduates must return to their home country, or last country of permanent residence, for at least two years prior to being eligible to receive immigration benefits, such as lawful permanent resident status, or H or L visas. Although this requirement applies to many exchange visitors, a waiver of the two-year foreign residence requirement, also known as a J waiver, may be sought under any one of five applicable grounds. The focus of this overview is on the fifth ground: sponsorship by a designated state health department, or the Conrad 30 waiver, which addresses the shortage of qualified doctors in medically underserved areas. This waiver is granted by the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) but requires sponsorship by a local state health department, for the 30 slots allocated to each state, and a recommendation by the Department of State Waiver Review Division.
Eligibility under the Conrad 30 waiver is determined through requirements laid out by the Department of State. To qualify, the foreign medical school graduate must:
If the above requirements are met, the foreign medical school graduate must then carry out a dual application process which involves applications to both the local state health department as well as the Department of State, and requires significant cooperation from the foreign medical school graduate's sponsoring employer. Applicants must obtain a waiver case file number from the Department of State. The applicant, in conjunction with his/her sponsoring employer, must also file a lengthy waiver application with both the Department of State and the local state health department. Foreign medical graduates should pay particular attention to this process as the procedures and requirements vary from state to state.
If the state health department agrees to sponsor the foreign medical school graduate, it will forward the Conrad 30 waiver request to the Department of State who will then make its decision and send its recommendation to USCIS for final approval. This will allow the foreign medical school graduate's employer to file for an employment-based nonimmigrant change of status petition (such as H-1B) utilizing the waiver to overcome the 2-year foreign residency requirement. Overall, this process is lengthy, intricate and complex. Foreign medical school graduates are advised to seek the assistance of an attorney to help them determine their eligibility and, if eligible, to navigate the various forms, documents, agencies, and deadlines.
The Law Firm of Antone, Casagrande & Adwers, P.C. helps individuals and businesses worldwide with all of their US immigration needs including employment visas, obtaining green cards for business and corporate employees and family members, visas for doctors, nurses, therapists, and other health care workers, together with waivers for physicians under J visa training program, labor certifications (PERM), national interest waivers, marriage-based adjustments and green cards, fiancee visas, family immigration preferences, students, naturalization and citizenship, including medical waivers, asylum, deportation, hardship waivers, voluntary departure and removal. We serve clients in southeast Michigan including the Detroit Metro area, Ann Arbor, and Lansing. With offices in Farmington Hills, MI, we are close to Southfield, Troy, West Bloomfield, Birmingham, Novi, Rochester and Auburn Hills in Oakland County; Canton, Plymouth, Dearborn, and Detroit in Wayne County; Warren, Sterling Heights, and Mount Clemens in Macomb County; Brighton and Howell in Livingston County; Lansing in Ingham County; City of Monroe in Monroe County, Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County; Grand Rapids in Kent County; Battle Creek in Calhoun County; Kalamazoo in Kalamazoo County; Benton Harbor in Berrien County; Holland in Ottawa County; Flint in Genesee County; Ludington in Mason County; Muskegon in Muskegon County; and Traverse City in Grand Traverse County, Michigan. Although many of our clients are located in the tri-county area of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb, we also serve clients in many cities and states in the U.S. including Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Indiana; Buffalo, New York; Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, California; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Dallas, Houston, El Paso and Galveston, Texas; Miami, Florida; Washington D.C.; Virginia, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and many others. In addition to the United States, we also serve Canadian nationals from numerous provinces in Canada, including Toronto and Windsor in Ontario; Montreal in Quebec; Halifax in Nova Scotia; and Vancouver, British Columbia. We also serve cities and countries such as London, England; Scotland and other countries of the United Kingdom (U.K.); Mexico, Paris, France; Frankfurt and Berlin, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; India; Brazil; Rome, Italy; Shanghai and Beijing, China; Belgium; the Philippines, and many other countries in Europe, Asia and South America.