Exchange Visitor Program
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for managing the U.S. Exchange Visitor Program as it relates to health research and clinical care. This program accepts applications to request waiver of the 2-year foreign residency requirement related to two types of waivers:
- research performed in an area of priority or significant interest to the agency, and
- health care services needed in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) in the United States.
Physicians with J-1 visas must agree to deliver health care services for 3 years in a mental health or primary care HPSA.
The HHS Exchange Visitor Waiver Review Board is made up of scientific experts. These experts will evaluate the facts presented in the application. Then they will determine whether the research program or health services proposed have met the requirements of quality and essential participation.
HHS does not grant waivers. HHS submits its recommendation to approve a waiver request to the Department of State (DoS). Then the DoS submits its approval recommendation to the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Service (USCIS). USCIS is the agency authorized to grant a waiver, officially. (Please note: a waiver application is not an application for U.S. citizenship.)
For further information on this program, see 45 CFR part 50, Federal Register Notice of 1984, still in effect.
Waiver Application General Instructions
IMPORTANT: These instructions apply to both research and clinical care waiver applications. All applications submitted to HHS must include the following:
- One unbound paper version
- One identical scanned copy stored on a CD in PDF format
Submissions that do not meet these requirements may be delayed.
- Your application materials must meet the HHS guidelines.
- Your materials must clearly state that the application is for the J-1 waiver and no other immigration action.
- You must obtain a case number from the U.S. Department of State (DoS) before HHS can submit an approved application request to the DoS.
- The required waiver application form to be completed is: Form HHS 426 – Application for Waiver of the Two-Year Foreign Residence Requirement of the Exchange Visitor Program [PDF - 68 KB]
- The transmittal letter must include a statement confirming content in both media are identical.
- Applicant institutions represented by legal counsel must include the G-28 Form [PDF - 65 KB]. The G-28 form must be signed by the appropriate official of the applicant organization
- For specific instructions on each type of waiver, see the appropriate Supplementary Information to the Application for Waiver of the Two-Year Foreign Residence Requirement of the Exchange Visitor Program.
Also, please see the Frequently Asked Questions section for additional information.
Submit all completed applications for Clinical Care to the following address:
HRSA / Bureau of Health Workforce
Parklawn Building, Room 11W-38
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857
Submit all completed applications for Research to the following address:
HHS/ Office of Global Affairs
330 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20201
For questions please contact Jessica Stewart at Jessica.Stewart@hhs.gov or (202) 260-1647.