Our postdoctoral residents receive their funding through the National Institute of Health. In order to be eligible for this funding, an applicant must be a:
Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible for support.
The following are the guidelines about visa issues for the international medical graduate applying to a graduate medical education program.
Examination and visa requirements for international medical graduates.
Several categories can be distinguished:
For detailed information please visit the website of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates at http://www.ecfmg.org.
1. Visa requirements for nonimmigrant international medical graduates
1.1. Postdoctoral-fellows coming for research only (no clinical duties; research J-1)
International research fellows and post-doctoral fellows enter the U.S. as non-immigrants for the purpose of receiving additional professional training in their academic fields. Most enter the U.S. on the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program in the Research Scholar category using IAP-66 Forms issued by the OIS. J-1 Research Scholars may participate in exchange visitor training programs in the U.S. for a maximum of three (3) calendar years. Their immediate dependents arrive as J-2s.
Occasionally, an international research fellow or post-doctoral fellow may arrive at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions on F-1 Optional Practical Training following the completion of a degree program as an F-1 student at another institution. Such Optional Practical Training is generally valid for one year. In addition, an international research fellow or post-doctoral fellow may arrive at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions on an H-1B1 visa as a non-immigrant worker. However, the J-1 is the preferable status and takes much less time to issue than an H-1B1.
1.2. International Residents and Clinical Fellows (Visa Types: J-1 ECFMG)
International medical residents and clinical fellows (i.e., international physicians) enter the U.S. as non-immigrants for the purpose of receiving advanced medical training. Due to the clinical nature of their duties, international residents and clinical fellows enter the U.S. on very strict visas. Almost all enter on the J-1 Exchange Visitor Physician Program sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). International physicians participating in J-1 ECFMG sponsored programs are allowed to participate in such programs for a maximum of seven (7) calendar years, provided the training programs are accredited by the American Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). This 7-year period, however, is not guaranteed and remains contingent upon approval from the ECFMG. Immediate dependents of J-1 international physicians arrive as J-2s.
The duration of the J1-ECFMG visa has been recently limited very strictly to the ACGME accredited length of the training programs-not to the length offered by the Institutes Program. Extensions beyond these accredited years may become extremely difficult to obtain.
On very rare occasions, an international resident or clinical fellow may enter the U.S. in H-1B1 status as a non-immigrant worker. At this time, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine policy requires the J-1 ECFMG visa be used for international physicians.
2. Canadian citizens.
Canadian citizens must comply with the INS nonimmigrant requirements for nonimmigrant international medical graduates. If a physician has graduated from a medical school in Canada, that physician is not required to pass a foreign medical graduate examination. Canadian citizens do not need ECFMG certification; however they do need ECFMG visa sponsorship. If a citizen of Canada has graduated from a medical school outside Canada, he/she must comply with ECFMG as other non-Canadian international medical graduates.
It should be noted that regulations and rules change continuously and you are strongly advised to check recent updates regularly. The following sites will give you access to the most recent updates:
http://www.ecfmg.org for updates on USMLE exam regulations and standard ECFMG certification
http://www.ecfmg.org/evsp/index.html for updates on non-immigrant visa issues, especially J1 visa.