May 13, 2019

How to Get a J-1 Visa Waiver for Physicians

Are you overwhelmed with the J-1 waiver process when recruiting a physician requiring visa sponsorship? As a national search firm, Adkisson Search Consultants provides recruitment support and guidance to assist in recruiting physicians who have a visa status.

The 2020 J-1 visa Residents and Fellows must begin interviewing now to be prepared to meet the qualifications for a visa slot. Adkisson Search will prepare and help navigate the physician through the process as the geographic area and its HPSA score, play a factor in the type of waiver they may be eligible for.  

J-1 Waiver Options

In the state of Illinois there are three J-1 waiver options to consider.

  1. The Illinois Department of Public Health
  2. Delta Regional Authority
  3. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Each organization has its own specific criteria and standards the physician and organization must adhere to. Therefore, we strongly encourage the physician and the hiring organization to have an immigration attorney who can guide them through the process successfully.

J-1 Visa Waiver Program Limit

The Illinois Department of Public Health’s J-1 visa waiver program has a limit of 30 spots each year in October. The application process for the 2020 Residents and Fellows will open October first, 2019. If they do not receive 30 applications in October, then in January 2020 they will re-open the application process.

Under this program, the waiver spots are initially reserved as follows:

  • 13 for primary care
  • 13 for specialists
  • 4 for psychiatrists

The spots will be reallocated as necessary. For specific information visit this page or contact Don Jones at 217-782-1624 or

Located in the Mississippi Delta Region, a few of organizations in Southern Illinois will qualify to support a physician on a J-1 waiver through the Delta Regional Authority. There is no timeline or limit of applications accepted. For specific information visit this site or contact Christina Wade, Health Program Manager at 662-302-7339 or

Lastly, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is a program that only supports primary care physicians and the organization by having a HPSA score of 7 or higher. For specific information please visit this page or contact Michael Berry at 301-443-4154 or

The goal of all the programs is to improve and increase access to quality healthcare. Adkisson Search is here to support that goal and to be a recruitment resource to assist the client and provider to enrich the access and quality of care in our communities.

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