State Agencies | Online Services

J-1 Visa Waiver Program

The 2016 application cycle is closed. Information on the 2017 application cycle will be posted as soon as it is available. Potential sponsors for the 2017 application cycle should complete and submit the Notice of Intent to Apply form as soon as possible. Other materials posted below are for reference only.  


Tips for the 2016 Application Cycle

  • Please thoroughly read application instructions and forms and be sure to use only the 2016 application forms. Check all documents for completeness, accuracy and consistency before submission. Do not submit additional materials unless requested.
  • As in the past, sponsors that submit multiple applications must indicate the same sponsor-identified representative for all applications. This year, applications that do not follow this requirement will not be reviewed until a common sponsor-identified representative is named.
  • It is the responsibility of the applicant to assure that all materials necessary for physician licensure have been submitted to the State Medical Board of Ohio, and to forward notice of licensure upon receipt from the Board.
  • The list of eligible MUA/Ps has been updated to include one service area in Ashtabula County.  


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 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 generally 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 practicing in HPSAs.  J-1 physicians seeking waivers cannot apply directly to ODH; applications are accepted only from sponsoring health care facilities.  Sponsoring health care facilities 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-1Visa Waiver Program maintains a preference for primary care physicians who will practice in HPSAs. Applications are prioritized in the order listed below. Note that ODH has the sole discretion to limit the number of waiver recommendations for sponsors who submit multiple applications. 


  1. Primary Care - Includes physicians who complete post-graduate training in the specialties of Family Practice, General Internal Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology, General Pediatrics, Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, Adolescent Medicine or Geriatrics and will be practicing primary care. Physicians who complete post-graduate training in General Psychiatry, Child/Adolescent or Geriatric Psychiatry are considered as primary care placements in mental health HPSAs.

    • Primary care specialties in primary care HPSAs and psychiatry specialties in mental health HPSAs.
    • Primary care specialties in MUA/Ps on current year’s lists (Eligible Public and Children’s Hospitals in MUAs and Eligible MUA/Ps).
    • All other primary care placements - “flex” slots.

  2. Non-Primary Care - Includes all specialties not identified in 1 above and primary care physicians who will be practicing in an inpatient setting, including Hospitalists and Emergency Medicine.

    • Non-primary care specialties in primary care HPSAs and psychiatry subspecialties in mental health HPSAs.
    • Non-primary care specialties in eligible public and children’s hospitals in MUAs on current year’s list.
    • Non-primary care specialties in all other MUA/Ps on current year’s list.
    • All other non-primary care placements - “flex” slots.


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 primary care physicians in HPSAs located within Appalachian counties. The program is coordinated by ODH, with recommendations to ARC issued by the Governor. 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. The program is not coordinated by ODH, but does require a letter of support or acknowledgement by ODH. 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:

For more information:

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

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

Last Updated: 7/11/2016

Recruitment Main Page / Primary Care and Rural Health Main Page