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Capitol Health Call
July 12, 2006

Extending Visa Waivers

JAMA. 2006;296(2):161. doi:10.1001/jama.296.2.161-c

Bills to permanently reauthorize the J-1 visa waiver program allowing for recruitment of international medical graduates (IMGs) to practice in underserved areas in the United States are working their way through Congress.

The visa waiver program, which allows IMGs to stay in the United States in exchange for 3 years of practicing in areas with a physician shortage, expired on June 1. The program allows states to sponsor up to 30 physicians each year.

Foreign students in graduate or postgraduate medical education are usually required to leave the United States for 2 years before being allowed to apply for re-entry. But under the law, the 2-year wait can be waived if the applicant agrees to practice in an underserved area.

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