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J1 Waiver > Veterans Administration


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will recommend waivers of the two-year home residence requirement for physicians under certain circumstances. With more than 170 large medical facilities located throughout the U.S., the VA is a major employer of physicians, both primary care and specialists. Unlike nearly every other type of waiver program, the VA waiver is not limited to primary care physicians.

Frequently Asked Questions about the VA Waiver


1. What are the general requirements for a VA waiver?

a. A three-year written agreement (contract) to work at a VA facility in a clinical position;

b. Evidence of prior unsuccessful recruitments efforts by the VA for the position offered to the foreign physician; and

c. Support from the Director of the VA facility.

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2. What does the process involve from the VA's perspective?

A written request from the VA facility to the appropriate Regional Director's VA Central Office Field Support Office, which includes the following:

(a) Director's Letter from the VA facility setting forth the nature of the proposed position for the J1 physician and describing the unsuccessful recruitment efforts to find a U.S. physician for the position;

(b) Documentation of Prior Unsuccessful Recruitment Efforts; and

(c) The J-1 Physician's Qualifications, including USMLE results, ECMFG, etc.

If the VA approves the request, it will notify the facility that the request is being submitted to the INS/USIA.

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3. What is the time frame?

Approximately 6-8 months.

The time frame varies depending on the particular VA facility. Some VA facilities have significant experience with J1 waiver requests, and can compile and forward the necessary papers to the Regional VA office within a few weeks. However, please consider the following time schedule as likely:

  Local VA

3-5 weeks
  Regional VA

2-4 weeks
  Central VA in Washington DC

4-5 weeks

3-6 weeks
    TOTAL 6-8 months

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4. What are some of the advantages of the VA waiver?

The VA waiver is often the waiver of choice for specialist physicians, since most other waiver programs are available only to primary care physicians. Moreover, State licensure is sometimes not required since VA institutions are Federal in nature. Finally, some VA institutions have significant experience in processing J1 waiver applications, and can make the process easy for physicians.

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5. How can MDgreencard.com assist me with this process?

We can assist the J1 physician with both the job search for a VA position and the preparation of the necessary application materials for the VA waiver.

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