While every state varies in terms of population and demographics, each state is limited to a maximum of 30 waivers under the Conrad State 30 program that allows states to provide physician jobs that qualify for a waiver of the 2-year home residency rule of the J-1 visa. With the recent surge in the number of J-1 Physicians competing for waiver jobs, it is important to begin the job search as early as possible, especially if you are targeting your job search within a state that historically uses all of its waivers each year. The competition for these highly coveted waiver slots starts on October 1st of each year in virtually every state. As noted in our previous article , federal agencies (ARC, DRA, HHS and the VA) can grant an unlimited number of J-1 physician waivers throughout the year.
Each state sets the time frame within which waiver applications will be accepted, prioritizes the applications among medical specialties, sets recruitment requirements. Some states charge application fees for their State 30 program. Many states require that J-1 waiver applications be filed with a federal agency, such as ARC, DRA or HHS, in order to reserve the State 30 slots for those which do not qualify for a federal waiver. Some states, including Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia require employment contracts between physicians and employers which include a liquidated damages clause of $250,000.00 payable to employers from physicians whose employment is terminated voluntarily by the physician, or by the employer for cause if the termination occurs prior to the physician fulfilling the minimum service requirement of their contract.
Some state program variances include:
- The Texas State 30 program opens and closes on September 1 of each year for the following fiscal year. The Texas State 30 slots are typically used up within a few minutes of the program opening on September 1st each year.
- The Ohio State 30 program often does not open until several months into the fiscal year.
- Many states require employers to undertake six months of recruitment prior to filing of a State 30 waiver application, with some limited exceptions to the six month advertising rule.
- New York accepts applications until the end of November or early December and announces those doctors who have secured a State 30 waiver in April of the following year.
- New Jersey will only recommend a State 30 waiver for a primary care physician.
- Many states limit the number of State 30 waiver applications which may be filed by a single employer.
- Some states give priority to State 30 waiver applications where both spouses require J-1 waivers and have located waiver opportunities in the same state.
- California rarely grants State 30 waivers to subspecialist physicians.
Some states have a defined application period; most commonly from October 1 to October 31. If waiver slots remain available after the initial application period, the program will reopen for further applications until the unused slots are filled.
States which, historically, have not used all of their State 30 waiver slots include:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- South Carolina
States which normally use all their waiver slots include:
- New York
- West Virginia