Foreign physicians who received medical training in J-1 program must either return to their country or obtain a waiver before they can apply for an immigration visa, or change to almost any other nonimmigrant status. A J-1 waiver can be granted when the physician commits to practice medicine in an underserved area of the United States for at least three years. An area that is designated as Health Professional Shortage Area, Medically Underserved Area/Population or a VA facility normally qualify such requirement.
J-1 waiver applicants first submit their application (DS-3035) to DOS (Department of State) processing center. Subsequently, the applicants and the sponsoring employer must submit all information to IGA (Interested Government Agency) which will review the application and then forward the recommendation to DOS Waiver Review Division (WRD). After WRD issued its own recommendation, the case will be forwarded to USCIS for final decision.
J-1 waiver once granted, the physician will work in H-1b status. Therefore, J-1 waiver applicants must also qualify for H-1b requirements. As soon as WRD issued its recommendation, H-1b application can be submitted so that it can be adjudicated with the J-1 waiver application.
IGA can be a state department of health or any other federal agency, including Department of Veterans Affairs, the Appalachian Regional Commission, Delta Regional Authority and US Department of Health and Human Services.
Please also see State of Delaware website for more information: http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/hsm/j1visahome.html