Federal law (Conrad Amendment to P.L. 103-416) provides MDPH with the authority to assist Massachusetts health care facilities located in federally designated shortage areas with physician recruitment by supporting J-1 visa waiver requests. A visa waiver exempts a physician from the foreign residency rule that requires them to return home for two years after training. MDPH supports up to thirty J-1 Visa Waiver requests per federal fiscal year (October 1-September 30). Applications are reviewed with special attention to primary care services, identified areas of greatest need, language skills appropriate to the community, and providing a service in the public interest in the Commonwealth. Requests are accepted from employing health care facilities located in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area/ Population (MUA/MUP).
The physician must agree to practice medicine full-time in the health care facility for a minimum of three (3) years and begin employment within ninety (90) days of receipt of their waiver. Priority is for primary care physicians including internal medicine, pediatrics, family practice, obstetrics-gynecology or psychiatry.
Applications are accepted beginning on October 1 of each year. Applications are processed at MDPH and forwarded to the Department of State (DOS). Physicians can submit multiple applicants from different states, however the DOS will process only the first application per physician.
The Primary Care Office manages the J-1 Visa Waiver Program for Massachusetts.
For answers to specific questions about J-1 Visa Waiver Program email: J1@dph.state.ma.us.