The Conrad 30 State J-1 Visa Waiver Program allows each state a maximum of 30 J-1 visa waivers each federal fiscal year. Each state establishes its own requirements for selection of the 30 physicians who will fill the available waiver slots.
The Missouri J-1 Visa Waiver program operates following the intent of the federal and state J-1 visa waiver rules (19 CSR 10-4.020). Some general requirements for participation are:
- The application must come from a Missouri health care facility on behalf of a J-1 physician and not directly from a J-1 physician.
- The applicant must demonstrate evidence of unsuccessful efforts to recruit a physician who is a citizen of the U.S. to fill the vacancy.
- There must be a signed, written employment contract between the employer and the J-1 physician. The contract must state unequivocally that the facility is offering the physician at least three (3) years of employment.
- All medical services provided by the J-1 physician must be in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).
- The contract must specify that the J-1 physician will provide direct patient medical care for an average of 40 clinical hours per week.
- The J-1 physician must begin practice within ninety days of approval of the waiver by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and H-1B visa.
- The site at which the J-1 physician will provide medical care must accept patients regardless of their ability to pay.
The J-1 visa waiver program in Missouri is administered by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Office of Primary Care and Rural Health (OPCRH). The OPCRH accepts applications for the J-1 waiver slots starting on October 1 of each year. Applications are accepted through September 30 of the following year or until all 30 slots are filled, whichever comes first. The OPCRH posts information about the filled slots on the Department of Health and Senior Services Website.
In making selections to fill the available waiver slots, the J-1 Visa Waiver Program in Missouri will prioritize applications as follows:
- Top priority will be given to Primary Care physicians who are or will be:
- Board-eligible or board-certified in one of the following areas: Family Practice, General Practice, General Pediatrics, General Internal Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology, or General Psychiatry
- Providing medical services in a primary care out-patient/ambulatory care setting.
- Providing direct patient care in a rural area. (See list below of non-rural counties)
- Completing graduate medical training/residency program in the State of Missouri.
- Primary care physicians who will be providing medical care services as described above in a non-rural area. Non-rural counties in Missouri are: Boone, Buchanan, Cass, Clay, Cole, Greene, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Newton, Platte, St. Charles, St. Louis and St. Louis City.
- Specialist physicians who will be providing specialty medical care in a rural area.
- Specialist physicians who will be providing specialty medical care in a non-rural area.
All applications receive a cursory review to assess compliance with federal and state J-1 Visa Waiver program requirements. Complete applications are put in priority order as described above to receive a full review for the purpose of making a waiver recommendation to the United States Department of State (DOS). If an application does not comply with program requirements, the OPCRH will notify the legal representative or other appropriate party. The applicant will be given the opportunity to rectify the matter. Only applications containing all required information will receive a full review.
Submission of a complete waiver application package does not ensure that a waiver will be recommended. In all instances, the Missouri J-1 Visa Waiver Program reserves the right to recommend or decline any request for a waiver. The Program is not responsible for any practice arrangements or contracts entered into prior to or after application to the Missouri J-1 Visa Waiver Program.
Every effort is made to distribute the participants around the state. Need is taken into consideration by reviewing state health status data, currently available health resources, and the utilization and staffing data provided by the sponsoring employer.After an application is selected, the OPCRH sends a letter to the DOS recommending that a waiver be granted. A copy of the recommendation letter is provided to the J-1 physician and his/her representative. The DOS makes a determination as to whether or not to recommend the waiver and sends its recommendation to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The USCIS is the agency responsible for actual issuance of the J-1 visa waiver.