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Overview of J-1 Waivers

Please note that this webpage only discusses the J-1 waiver process for Conrad 30 and HHS waivers.  It does not discuss the No Objection waiver process.  Information about the No Objection J-1 waiver can be found on the Department of State website at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1296.html.

Certain foreign researchers, and physicians or professors who engage in research or clinical duties, who entered the USA in J-1 status, at some time, are subject to a two-year foreign residence requirement.  This requirement mandates that the J-1 employee return to his/her country of last residence for a period of two years before being able to seek employment in the USA in H-1B status or obtain US permanent residence.  A few methods exist that allow the two year requirement to be waived.

One method, being used by Vanderbilt University, is to request a J-1 waiver through an Interested Government Agency (IGA).  For J-1 foreign employees who engage in research, the Health & Human Services (HHS) waiver may be possible.  J-1 foreign physicians who engage in clinical duties may qualify for a Conrad 30 Waiver.

Health & Human Services (HHS) J-1 Waiver: The HHS Waiver process is a request that the US Dept. of Health & Human Services sponsor the J-1 researcher for a waiver of the two year foreign residence requirement. To qualify for an HHS waiver, the J-1 researcher must show that his/her research is of national interest to the U.S. and that Vanderbilt has recruited and is unable to find a U.S. worker for the position. It takes approximately 6 – 8 months for HHS to process a waiver case once OIS has submitted it.

HHS will review the application received and, if they support of the application, will request that the Department of State recommend the J-1 employee for the waiver. Once the Dept. of State provides a letter of waiver recommendation, Vanderbilt will apply for H-1B status on behalf of the J-1 researcher.

Conrad State 30 J-1 Waiver: The Conrad State 30 Waiver process requires OIS to first request that the Tennessee Dept. of Health, Office of Health Access (OHA) sponsor the J-1 physician for a waiver of the two year foreign residence requirement. To obtain the Conrad State 30 Waiver, the J-1 physician must agree to employment with Vanderbilt Medical Center for at least 3 years and no less than 40 clinical hours of work per week. Vanderbilt is also required to show that a reasonable recruitment was conducted and that the J-1 physician was the best candidate for the position.

The OHA will review the application received and, upon sponsorship approval, will request that the Department of State recommend the J-1 physician for the waiver. Once the Dept. of State provides a letter of waiver recommendation, Vanderbilt will apply for H-1B status on behalf of the J-1 physician.

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