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J-1 Visa Waiver Program


The 2018 application cycle is open. Potential sponsors for the 2018 application cycle should complete and submit the Notice of Intent to Apply form as soon as possible. Applications for high-priority primary care and addiction treatment placements (see program priorities 1 and 2) will be accepted until June 30, 2018. All other applications must be postmarked by March 31, 2018.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) participates in the State 30 Program to increase access to health care services for Ohio’s underserved populations.  J-1 visa waivers allow foreign medical graduates to remain in the United States after completing residency/fellowship training in exchange for a three-year commitment to provide health care services in underserved areas. Primary care and mental health HPSAs, certain Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/Ps), and certain public and children’s hospitals located in MUAs are considered as underserved areas in the Ohio State 30 Program.  Of the 30 slots available each year, up to 10 "flex" slots may be used for placements outside of underserved areas, if an adequate level of service to residents of these areas is documented. Qualified international graduates granted waivers must provide direct patient care for 40 hours per week and provide health care to all patients regardless of their ability to pay.

The State 30 Program operates on the federal fiscal year.  A non-refundable fee of $3,571 is required for each application.  Recommendations for waivers in the State 30 Program are issued by the Director of Health to the U.S. Department of State (DOS).  If DOS finds the state request to be in the public interest, it recommends the waiver to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the waiver-granting authority.



The State 30 Program is open to all physician specialties, although the preference is for primary care physicians who will practice in HPSAs.  Physicians seeking J-1 waivers may not apply directly to ODH; applications are accepted only from sponsoring health care organizations.  Sponsoring health care organizations as well as J-1 physicians must accept Medicaid, Medicare and uninsured patients, and must provide services on a sliding fee scale based on 200 percent of the current federal poverty level.   


Program Priorities

While the Ohio State 30 Program maintains a preference for primary care physicians who will practice in HPSAs, the 2017 program priorities include physicians who will assist in addressing the state’s addiction treatment workforce needs. Applications will be prioritized in the order listed below and considered in the highest applicable category (e.g. an application that meets both Category 1 and Category 2 requirements will be considered in Category 1).

For more information:
Ohio Department of Health
J-1 Visa Waiver Program
Primary Care Office
246 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215


Also, visit their website at 

Telephone: (614) 466-1629
Fax: (614) 564-2432