As reported by SPS Immigration on December 18, 2015, after substantial negotiations Congress ultimately reauthorized the Conrad 30 J-1 Waiver program (Conrad 30) in the Omnibus budget bill that passed at the end of 2015. The Conrad program allows U.S-trained foreign national physicians to obtain a waiver of the requirement that they return to their home country after completing graduate medicine education in the U.S. in J-1 status, by agreeing to work in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area (MUA) for at least three years. This reauthorization extends the program in its current form through September 30th, 2016, but it did not make any changes or improvements to the program. While it is important that Congress extended the program, SPS Immigration PLLC and other advocates were disappointed that Congress failed to implement important improvements for which we had worked incredibly hard to negotiate and which were unanimously supported by the bills proponents.
This reauthorization means that J-1 waivers through the Conrad 30 program remain an option for any physician who enters the U.S. in J-1 status for clinical training prior to September 30th, 2016. States began accepting Conrad 30 waiver applications last fall but there are still slots available in a number of states. As of today, States with continued availability include Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, Wisconsin, and several others. The larger states of California, Texas, New York, Illinois, Indiana, and Florida are filled. Individuals in need of a Conrad 30 waiver should immediately begin the J-1 waiver process, as slots can be used quickly and it is unknown how long availability will remain. Please contact SPS Immigration PLLC if you have questions about the Conrad 30 process.