J-1 Visa Waiver Program

​The purpose of the Maryland Conrad State 30 (J-1 Visa Waiver) Program is to recruit needed primary care and specialty physicians into federally-designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). The Maryland Office of Workforce Development reviews applications and makes recommendations to the U.S. Department of State for foreign-born physicians requesting waivers from their J-1 Visa. The waiver is granted in exchange for the physician's agreement to work in an under-served area for three years.

Congress and the President signed into law a bill granting each state the ability to sponsor annually as many as thirty (30) waivers for J-1 Visa physicians to work in federally-designated shortage areas. This legislation is referred to as the Conrad 30 bill

The Conrad 30 (J-1 Visa Waiver) Program exists because states are permitted to recommend Visa waivers for a physician recruited to practice in federally designated HPSAs and Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs) of the State. Maryland is authorized, in Section 214-(1) of the Immigration and Nationalization Act [8USC-Section 1184(1)], to submit waiver recommendations to the Waiver Review Section of the U.S. Department of State. In Maryland, this authority is delegated to the Department of Health where it is handled by the Office of Workforce Development within the Office of Population Health Improvement.  

The State of Maryland recommends physicians holding J-1 Visas for waivers, with the priority to improve access to primary care services in federally designated shortage areas. Out of the 30 slots, Maryland can utilize up to 10 spots as FLEX spots. FLEX spots do not require the provider to be working in a federally designated shortage area.


Process in Maryland:

Every year Maryland receives 30 J-1 Visa Waiver slots. These slots are allocated on the federal fiscal year (October- September). Applications will be accepted from October 1st  through December 1st for primary care and specialist physicians practicing in Flex and Non-Flex locations. Applications will be reviewed by the J-1 Visa Waiver review panel after December 1. For more information about the review process, click on the link below to Maryland Policy and Procedures.


OPHI Workforce Development Program gives preference to those applications from:

  • Primary care foreign national physicians in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas​, Medically Under-served Areas and Populations;  
  • Medical practices in under-served communities;
  • Medical practices that have a demonstrated historic commitment to serving under-served populations;
  • Medical practices that have had difficulty recruiting physicians because of their geographic location; and
  • State Rural Counties.


Application Materials

The application is currently closed.​ To view the application materials to prepare for the next applicaton cycle click here​ .

Maryland Policy and Procedures (Updated)

To view the policy and procedures click h​ere​​​​​​​​​.

 *** Conrad 30 (J-1 Visa Waiver) Program COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions:

To view the Maryland J-1 COVID-19 FAQ click here.​
To view the J-1 USCIS COVID Policy Guidance 5-11-2020​ click here.


​To sign up for our Workforce Listserv to receive updates about our J-1 Visa Waiver Program cli​ck h​ere​​​.

Sara Seitz

Maryland Department of Health

201 W. Preston Street, 4th Floor

Baltimore, MD 21201

Phone: 410-767- 6123



Sadé Diggs​

Maryland Department of Health

201 W. Preston Street, 4th Floor

Baltimore, MD 21201

Phone: 410-767-6123

mdh.providerworkforceprograms@maryland.gov ​