Minnesota J–1 Visa and Waiver
The J–1 Visa Waiver Program is now OPEN.
Applications are due November 30, 4:30 p.m. CT.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is committed to improving access to health care in underserved areas of the state. The Minnesota J–1 Visa Waiver Program, administered by the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care (ORHPC), is a way to address the shortage of physicians in rural and urban areas. Due to the difficulties some areas experience recruiting and retaining physicians, many communities turn to International Medical Graduates (IMG) and J–1 Visa Waivers to fill their physician vacancies.
The program was created by federal legislation in 1994, sometimes called the Conrad 30 Waiver Program. The program is intended to help communities recognized as federal shortage areas hire IMGs where recruitment of U.S. trained physicians has been unsuccessful. IMGs can apply to the U.S. Department of State (DOS) requesting a waiver to an existing J–1 Visa, allowing them to remain in the U.S. to practice medicine in designated service areas.
Any application to DOS for a J–1 Visa Waiver must be accompanied by a recommendation from the local government of the state the IMG will practice, confirming the applicant fills a community need for services. The Minnesota J–1 Visa Waiver Program accepts requests for waiver recommendations for physicians who provide primary health care, mental health care, and specialty care. Recipients of a waiver agree to a service obligation in an underserved area of the state, as designated by the federal government.
The application deadline is November 30, 4:30 p.m. CT.
The program allows for 30 waiver spots per Federal Fiscal Year (October 1–September 30), 10 of which are considered flex spots for physicians who agree to work in non–designated areas, yet still serve residents in underserved areas. J–1 visa waiver requests are accepted annually in the fall.
Please refer to the J–1 Visa Waiver Program Application Guidance 2021 for more details about submitting a request.
Please submit questions to: Paia Vang