Requesting a Waiver

Under the terms and conditions of the NRMP Match Participation Agreement, all matches are binding.  If for any reason an applicant or program cannot or will not honor the binding commitment, a waiver must be obtained from the NRMP. Applicants and programs are not authorized to release each other from the binding commitment.

Waivers can be requested for unanticipated serious and extreme hardship, change of specialty, or ineligibility. Please keep the following in mind:

  • Even if a waiver has been requested, applicants cannot apply for, discuss, interview for, or accept a position in another program until a waiver has been granted.
  • Programs cannot discuss, interview for, or offer the matched position to an applicant until a waiver has been granted.
  • The responsibility rests with the applicant or program to demonstrate the extent of the unanticipated serious or extreme hardship.
  • Waivers based on change of specialty MUST be requested by December 15 prior to the start of training. Because of this timing, applicants in the Main Residency Match® who match to positions that begin in the year of the Match do not qualify for change of specialty waivers for those positions. In addition, applicants in the following Fellowship Matches do not qualify for change of specialty waivers:
    • Primary Care Sports Medicine
    • Psychiatry
  • If a waiver is granted, an applicant may accept a position in another program or participate in a future Match and the program may recruit for the position. If a waiver is not granted, the applicant and program are expected to honor the binding commitment.

Applicants who give notice of resignation, resign, or vacate a position within 45 days of the start date specified in the appointment contract and programs that terminate a resident within 45 days of the start date specified in the appointment contract are presumed to have breached NRMP policy unless evidence is submitted through the waiver process sufficient to show that training was entered into in good faith and the NRMP determines there is a reasonable basis to release the applicant from the binding commitment.  For all Matches opening after June 30, 2017, programs that terminate a matched applicant within 45 days of the start date specified in the appointment contract will be presumed to have breached NRMP policy absent a waiver from the NRMP.

Waiver requests must be submitted on the appropriate Waiver Request Form.

Questions about the waiver process should be directed to (202) 400-2235 or policy@nullnrmp.org.