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DownloadLearn more about how the immigration process works and help you with your immigration concerns and questions. The Charleston USA Immigration Law Center is here to support you in your goal to become a United States citizen.


This is a J-1 visa two year return to your country exemption program.

This special program is allows each state health department to submit a request directly to the State Department to initiate the waiver process for a foreign medical graduate who obtained J-1 visa status to change that status or adjust to another status without the required two year foreign residence. The law has now extents the program to cover J-1 visa admissions before September 30, 2015.

To qualify the medical doctor must agree to be employed in a H-1B non-immigrant status located in a Health Professional Shortage Area, Medically Underserved Area or Medically Underserved Population approved by the Department of Health and Human Services within 90 days of receipt of the Waiver and continue practice for 3 years. This is not the date that the J-1 visa expires.

Then, seek approval of the state public health department, a contract of employment from the specific health care facility, and complete the US Department of State (DOS) form DS-3035. Your state public health department must file for the waiver with the DOS Waiver Review Division (WRD).

After the approval the petitioner must file a USCIS form I-129 and accompanying documentation and all required filing fees, plus the DOS-WRD favorable recommendation letter, to request a change from J-1 status.

Any spouse and children must submit USCIS form I-539 to change their status from J-2 to J-4.

Finally, after successfully completing the 3 year service the medical doctor is eligible to apply for an immigrant visa, permanent residency (green card), H or L non-immigrant visa. Speak with a Charleston Immigration attorney to answer your questions and discuss filing your application.

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