J-1 Visa Waiver Program Overview
What is a J-1 Visa Waiver?
The J-1, exchange visitors classification, is authorized for those who intend to participate in an approved program to expand their education and training in the United States. J-1 medical doctors may apply for a waiver of the 2-year residence requirement upon completion of the J-1 exchange visitor program.
What is the Conrad 30 Waiver Program?
Under the Conrad 30 Waiver Program, each state may recommend up to 30 physicians to receive a waiver of the 2-year home residence requirement in exchange for a commitment of 3-years of service in an underserved area. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) acts as the Interested Governmental Agency (IGA) for the Michigan State Conrad 30 Program, and may sponsor up to 30 waiver applications each fiscal year for qualified J-1 Visa physicians.
When is the waiver application period for the Michigan Conrad 30?
FY2021 waivers will be accepted beginning September 1, 2020, and the window will close on November 2, 2020. If 30 or more applications are received during that time, each J-1 Visa Waiver candidate will be evaluated based on the information provided in the application which will affect the final determination. If fewer than 30 applications are received during that time, a second application window may be announced. MDHHS reserves the right to open up additional application windows later in the fiscal year, in the event applicants drop out and slots become available again. For information regarding the status of available slots after the November application period, please contact Megan Linton at 517-335-6713 or LintonM3@michigan.gov.
Where do I look for positions eligible for J-1 Visa Waiver sponsorship in Michigan?
MDHHS is not a recruiting agency for the J-1 Visa Waiver Program, but you can find postings at the following websites:
Medical Opportunities in Michigan
What if conditions of the original application change?
At any time during the 3-year J-1 Visa Waiver obligation, if conditions of the original application change, this needs to be reported to MDHHS. This information is collected at MDHHS and forwarded to USCIS when deemed appropriate. Change of status includes adding a work location to the original site or transferring sites while working with the same employer.
Adding a work location
It is acceptable to add a work location with the same employer as long as the original conditions are met. If you were employed at a priority facility, then you must continue to serve at that facility at least 60 percent of the time, and you must be serving in the same capacity as stated on the original application.
Transferring work locations
To transfer work locations is not encouraged, but at times is unavoidable. The new work site must meet the original conditions: if you were in a HPSA then you must continue to work in a HPSA; if you were working at a priority site then you must continue to work at a priority site; the employer must continue to employ you full-time; and you must continue to serve in the specialty as stated on the original application.
MDHHS does not prohibit the J-1 Visa Waiver recipient from Moonlighting, working at additional locations during his/her free time as long as the following conditions are met:
- The provider is not in violation of his/her contract with Non-Compete Clauses or Covenants,
- The provider communicates that he/she is involved with additional employment during off-hours, and the employer does not object to this,
- The provider is able to maintain his/her obligation for serving the underserved populations with the employer who sponsored the J-1 Visa Waiver Application.
- The proper H-1B status paperwork is filed with the USCIS
- The employer notifies MDHHS that the J-1 Visa Waiver Provider will be moonlighting during his/her time off, and that the employer does not object to this situation.
It is preferred that the waiver recipient remain with the employer who sponsored the application for the entire 3-year service obligation. This is not always possible for unforeseen reasons. In the event that a change of employer is needed, please request a no objection letter from MDHHS.