Office of Rural Health
J-1 Visa Waiver Program — Application Process
- To start the J-1 visa waiver application process, an applicant should obtain an employment agreement with a facility located within a HPSA or MUA. 3rnet is a website that showcases medical professional openings as provided by healthcare facilities. Simply visit this website and register as a new visitor. By registering, you will be able to view current South Dakota openings. In addition, your information will be forwarded to South Dakota physician recruiters through our South Dakota Recruitment Program Coordinator. You may also wish to visit Practicelink.com. This site also lists current openings in South Dakota. Please feel free to contact the facilities with openings personally, or contact other facilities not listed, for job opportunities. Health Professional Shortage Areas and Medically Underserved Areas indicate which areas in South Dakota meet J1 requirements. A cross index of cities and counties will help identify which cities lay within a HPSA or MUA.
- Once an employment agreement is obtained with a facility located in a HPSA or MUA, the applicant must obtain a United States Department of State case number. To do so,follow the instructions at https://j1visawaiverrecommendation.state.gov/
Upon receipt of the Department of State case number by the applicant, requests for a waiver of the foreign residence requirement should be made by the employing facility (in most cases local health care facilities) directly to the Office of Rural Health. The Office of Rural Health will review applications in the order in which they are received.
One unbound original and one unbound copy of the waiver request application should be delivered to:
South Dakota Department of Health
Office of Rural Health
600 E. Capitol
Pierre, South Dakota 57501
A non refundable fee of $200 payable to the South Dakota Department of Health must accompany each application.
- Once received by the South Dakota Office of Rural Health, the application will be assigned a state case number and will be verified for completeness and evidence that the J-1 physician will provide service to a shortage area. Upon completion of the review process, the Office of Rural Health will advise the Secretary of Health as to whether to recommend a request for a waiver of the home residence requirement. If the decision is in the affirmative, the application, along with necessary cover letters, will be sent to the United States Department of State.
No more than 30 waivers will be granted per federal fiscal year, (October 1 through September 30).
- You may check the Department of State status of your application by visiting