J-1 Visa Waiver and National Interest Waiver Programs
J-1 Visas allow foreign medical graduates to participate in advanced training programs in the United States such as residency training programs or fellowships. At the end of the training program, the foreign medical graduate is required to return to their native country for at least two (2) years. The Conrad 30 State J-1 Visa Waiver Program was established to allow foreign medical graduates to stay in the United States following their advanced training by waiving the two-year home residency requirement. In return for being granted the waiver, the foreign medical graduate must agree to provide full-time medical care in a federally designated health professional shortage area (HPSA) for three (3) years in H1-B visa status. Under the Conrad Visa Waiver Program, each state is allowed a maximum of 30 J-1 visa waivers each fiscal year. Missouri’s J-1 Visa Waiver Program is the responsibility of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Office of Primary Care and Rural Health (OPCRH). Click here for the rules concerning the Missouri J-1 Waiver program: J-1 Visa Waiver rules.
NEW! In order to assist sponsoring employers and/or their legal representatives with submitting a complete application package, the OPCRH has developed a more detailed checklist of the information that must be provided and the order in which it must be provided. Click here for the J-1 Application Package Checklist. Sponsoring employers who want to hire a J-1 physician must submit an Employment Data Form with the application package to establish participation eligibility. The selection process is described under Selection Criteria and information about current participants in the Missouri J-1 visa waiver program can be found at Current Year Participants. Goals and selection criteria are reviewed on a regular basis. The program reserves the right to amend and restate its goals each program year.
In Missouri, J-1 physicians must complete their three (3) year work commitment in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Click here for information about specific locations designated as HPSAs: HPSA's by state, county or address. The OPCRH will periodically request information from sponsoring employers and schedule in-person visits with J-1 physicians to assure continued compliance with J-1 visa waiver employment requirements during the three (3) year period. NEW INFORMATION Every six months throughout the three year employment commitment, the J-1 physician and employer are asked to submit verification that the J-1 physician continues practice in accordance with J-1 Visa Waiver program requirements. The Initial Employment Verification Form should be submitted to the OPCRH within 30 days of starting employment. The Bi-Annual Employment Verification Form should be submitted every 6 months thereafter until the 3 year commitment has been fulfilled. The information obtained from these forms aids the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in assessing the effectiveness of the J-1 Visa Waiver Program in providing increased health care services to areas of the state where access to health professionals is not readily available.