J-1 Visa Waiver Program

J-1 Visa Waiver: General Information

The Wisconsin J-1 visa waiver program increases access to primary health and mental health care in rural and urban communities that have shortages of primary care physicians and psychiatrists, by helping medical clinics recruit foreign physicians. Qualified foreign physicians must have completed their advanced clinical training in an approved U.S. residency training or fellowship program, must agree to work in the shortage area for three years, and must increase access to primary health care.

State health departments can recommend 30 waivers per year.  Up to ten (10) of the waivers per year can be for physicians to be employed in non-designated areas.  To qualify, clinicians must serve populations in surrounding shortage areas.  The hiring agency must also show exceptional need and public interest for the clinician to be hired in a non-designated area. 

Wisconsin's J-1 waiver program can also consider recommending a J-1 visa waiver for foreign physicians in other medical specialties when exceptional need and public interest can be demonstrated. 

Between 2003 and 2013, the Wisconsin J-1 visa waiver program helped medical clinics recruit 207 foreign physicians to increase access to primary care and general mental health care in rural and urban shortage areas throughout the state. This program is coordinated with the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security - Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Please contact the Primary Care Office at the following for inquiries on available waiver slots: dhsprimarycareoffice@dhs.wisconsin.gov.

Last Revised: June 16, 2015