J-1 Visa Waiver - Special Program Application

Based upon federal authorization, up to 10 J-1 physicians may now be placed in a non-designated area, if the employing facility can show that the physician is serving the underserved population.

Prior to January 2 of each federal fiscal year, under the special program the department may approve no more than five applications for J-1 physicians proposing to practice in any urban area and no more than five applications for J-1 physicians proposing to practice in any non-urban area.  An urban area is defined as any municipality having a population of 50,000 or more persons as well as any area within 10 miles of the boundaries of such municipality.  The department may approve any application on or after January 2.

The application process for special program positions is similar to the process for standard positions with the following exceptions:

  • The cover letter must state that the application is submitted under the "Special Program Requirements" of the South Dakota J-1Visa Waiver Program.
  • The cover letter may also state that in the event the application cannot be considered for the Special Program, the application may be considered under the regular J-1 program.
  • The employment contract must include all shortage areas served by the J-1 physician.
  • The provisions of subdivisions ARSD 44:63:02:10 (5) and (6) do not apply to the employment contract.
  • A copy of the J-1 Employment Contract Policy of the SD Department of Health - Special Program must be attached to each special application employment contract.

For more information call 1-800-738-2301 (in South Dakota only) or email.