ARC Physician J-1 Visa Waiver Program

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has a formal J-1 Visa Waiver program designed for foreign doctors (FMGs/IMGs) who plan to work in a medically underserved area. This permits a waiver of the 2-year foreign residency requirement upon a commitment to work in an underserved area for 3 years. The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is committed to helping all residents of Appalachia have access to quality, affordable health care.

Here are the general minimum requirements for the ARC Physician J-1 waiver program:
  • Physician requests must be sponsored by a state within the Appalachian Region and will be considered by the federal co-chair only upon written recommendation of the governor of the sponsoring state.
  • The physician must agree to provide primary medical care for at least forty (40) hours a week at a site in a Health Professional Shortage Area.
  • The employer must demonstrate that it has made a reasonable good faith effort to recruit a U.S. doctor for the job opportunity in the same salary range without success during the six months immediately preceding the request for waiver.
  • The employment contract between the physician and the sponsor may not contain a restrictive covenant or non-compete clause which prevents or discourages the physician from continuing to practice in any HPSA after the period of obligation under this policy has expired.
  • The physician, prior to employment, must be licensed by the state where he or she will practice and must have completed a residency in one of the following specialties: family practice, general pediatrics, obstetrics, general internal medicine, or psychiatry.
  • The physician must not have been "out of status" more than 180 days since receiving a visa.
  • The physician must submit all copies of his or her Certificates of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, forms IAP-66, DS 2019 and every other document needed to verify status.
  • The facility or practice sponsoring the physician must agree to provide health services to individuals without discriminating against them because (a) they are unable to pay for those services or (b) payment for those health services will be made under Medicare and Medicaid. The sponsor may charge no more than the usual and customary rate prevailing in the HPSA. Charges must be discounted on a sliding fee scale for persons at or below 200 percent of poverty.
  • A signed and notarized J-1 Visa Policy Affidavit and Agreement by the physician must be submitted as well.

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