J-1 Visa Application Review Process

  1. Review of applications 

    The order in which applications are reviewed shall be based on the date they are received. Upon receipt, each application shall be verified for completeness and evidence that the J-1 physician will provide full-time service to a shortage area. If, on any given date, the number of applications received exceeds the number of available waiver slots, the reviewers may consider the following factors:

    • Primary care/specialty care;
    • Rural/urban location;
    • Impact on service to South Dakota's underserved populations;
    • Number of recent waivers approved for the applying health care facility/health system;
    • Number of recent waivers approved for the applying geographic location within the state;
    • Any other factor or special circumstance the department considers relevant to the review process.

    If reviewers intend to consider the factors listed above in evaluating an application, the employing facility will be allowed to submit supplemental information.

  2. Incomplete applications

    One written request to the employing facility will be made for any materials not included in the application. If the requested materials are not received within 30 days of the date of the written request, the application will be rejected and returned.

  3. Complete applications with favorable review

    If application materials support seeking a waiver of the J-1 physician’s two-year home residency requirement, the following will occur:

    • A letter signed by the Secretary of Health shall be added to the application stating that it is in the public interest that a waiver of the two-year home country residency requirement be granted.
    • The Secretary of Health may also add necessary documentation showing the area selected for practice by the J-1 physician is a shortage area.
    • The letter and application materials will be delivered to the appropriate federal authorities.
    • A copy of the letter shall be delivered to the employing facility.
  4. The annual limit on number of applications

    The annual number of applications that can be reviewed and recommended for approval is limited to 30, beginning on October 1 of each year.

  5. Complete applications with unfavorable review

    If application materials do not support seeking waiver of the J-1 physician’s two-year home residency requirement, the Secretary shall notify the employing facility in writing as to the reasons for the determination. The written notice and application shall be sent to the employing facility.