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J-1 Visa Waiver Program
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The third application cycle for the 2019 program year is open only for primary care and behavioral health placements. Potential sponsors should complete and submit the Notice of Intent to Apply form as soon as possible. Applications must be postmarked by June 30, 2019

Approximately six slots are available in this application cycle. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Updates on the number of available slots will be posted regularly. The application cycle may close prior to June 30, 2019 if all slots have been filled. 

Tips for the third 2019 Application Cycle:

  • Applications for non-primary care specialties will not be accepted in the third application cycle for the 2019 program year.  Please refer to Program Category 1 for the specialties and practice settings that are included in the third application cycle.
  • Please thoroughly read the application instructions and forms and be sure to use only the 2019 application forms. Check all documents for completeness, accuracy and consistency before submission. Do not submit additional materials unless requested.
  • Applications from sponsors who submit more than one application will not be reviewed unless the same sponsor-identified representative is named on each application.
  • Application reviews will include evaluation of the sponsor's adherence to program requirements for current and past participants.


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 has a strong preference for primary care physicians and psychiatrists who will practice in HPSAs.  Applications for other specialties will not be accepted in the second application cycle for the 2019 program year.  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

The Ohio J-1 Visa Waiver Program maintains a preference for primary care physicians who will practice outpatient care in safety net sites located in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and physicians who will assist in meeting the state’s behavioral health workforce needs.  Applications will be prioritized in the order listed below and considered in the highest applicable category.

Category 1: Primary Care and Behavioral Health - This category includes physicians who are completing post-graduate training in the primary care specialties of Family Practice, General Internal Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology, General Pediatrics, Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, Adolescent Medicine or Geriatrics and will practice in an outpatient setting as well as physicians who are completing post-graduate training in behavioral health including General Psychiatry, Child/Adolescent Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry or Addiction Medicine and will practice in an outpatient or inpatient setting. Physicians who have completed post-graduate training in other specialties will not be considered in this category.    

  1. Primary care specialties in primary care HPSAs and behavioral health specialties in mental health HPSAs, including state psychiatric hospitals designated as facility HPSAs.  Physicians who practice primary care or behavioral health specialties in an integrated care site in either primary care or mental health HPSAs are also included in this category.
  2. Primary care specialties in Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/Ps) on 2019 lists (Eligible Public and Children’s Hospitals in MUAs and Eligible MUA/Ps)
  3. All other primary care and behavioral health placements - “flex” slots (proposed practice site(s) located outside of a HPSA or outside of an MUA/P on the 2019 lists).


Other J-1 Visa Waiver Programs

In addition to the State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program, J-1 visa waivers are available in Ohio through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  The ARC program is open only to physicians in HPSAs located within Appalachian counties.  The HHS program is open only to primary care physicians sponsored by Federally Qualified Health Centers and certified Rural Health Clinics located in HPSAs scoring 7 or above.  For more information about the ARC or HHS programs, please contact the Primary Care Office listed below.


Forms and Resources

For more information on shortage area designations and Appalachian counties:

For more information on ARC, HHS, DOS or USCIS, please visit the following links: