Veterans Administration

The US Department of Veteran's Affairs is a Federal agency qualifying as an Interested Government Agency able to recommend and sponsor waivers for J-1 physicians subject to the two-year home residency requirement.


- The VA waiver is not limited to primary care physicians, so it is a good choice for specialist physicians, as well as researchers.
- State licensure is sometimes not required since VA institutions are Federal in nature.
- VA waivers may be obtained regardless of whether or not the VA facility is located within an HPSA, MUA/P area.
- Some VA institutions have significant experience in processing J1 waiver applications, and can make the process easy for physicians.


VA waiver applicants must demonstrate that: (a) the loss of the exchange visitor's services will disrupt a VA program; (b) the VA facility failed, after comprehensive recruitment not initiated specifically for the exchange visitor, to find a qualified U.S. physician (c) the position is in demand at a VA facility.

- The J1 physician must obtain a three-year written agreement (contract) to work at a VA facility in a clinical position, and
- Support from the Director of the VA facility.

The VA facility must submit a written request to the appropriate Regional Director's VA Central Office Field Support Office, including:

- Evidence of prior unsuccessful recruitments efforts by the VA for the position offered to the foreign physician. - The J-1 Physician's Qualifications, including USMLE results, ECMFG , etc . - Director's Letter from the VA facility detailing the proposed position and describing the unsuccessful recruitment efforts to find a U.S. physician for the position;


VA waivers take approximately 6-8 months. The time frame varies depending on the particular VA facility. Some VA facilities have significant experience with J1 waiver requests, and can compile and forward the necessary papers to the Regional VA office within a few weeks. However, please consider the following time schedule as likely:

(a) Local VA - 3-5 weeks
(b) Regional VA - 2-4 weeks
(c) Central VA in Washington DC - 4-5 weeks
(d) USIA/INS - 3-6 weeks
TOTAL - 6-8 months

Any downside?

Positions at the VA are traditionally difficult to obtain by foreign physicians.

Many VA institutions have poor knowledge of the waiver program, and may not know the procedures for waiver sponsorship.

Contact our office today to discuss your needs in detail.