On-line Applications Overview
ECFMG is responsible to determine whether a foreign national physician meets the eligibility criteria to initiate or continue J-1 visa sponsorship as required for participation in U.S. graduate medical education (GME) in the J-1 category of “Alien Physician” (or for non-clinical activities as a J-1 “Research Scholar”). The J-1 sponsorship application process requires direct coordination between the teaching hospital, the J-1 applicant, and EVSP. Each teaching hospital designates a Training Program Liaison (TPL) to serve as the official representative to communicate with ECFMG about J-1 visa sponsorship. J-1 applicants must cooperate with the TPL to ensure submission of complete and accurate personal data to ECFMG about themselves and their J-2 dependents. ECFMG’s staff of EVSP Regional Advisors is responsible to review and process sponsorship applications submitted by TPLs at teaching hospitals.
To streamline the collection and maintenance of accurate J-1 physician data records, ECFMG has developed an on-line application system. This on-line application system, which launched in October 2011, replaces the paper application process for J-1 visa sponsorship, effective January 1, 2012. As of this date, all applications requesting J-1 sponsorship must be initiated by TPLs on-line using ECFMG’s Exchange Visitor Network (EVNet).
The integrated on-line application system is designed to reflect the specific roles in the application process and coordinate required actions for submission of a J-1 sponsorship application. By logging in to ECFMG’s secure on-line systems specific to their respective roles, the teaching hospital and J-1 applicant are able to submit required program and biographic information to ECFMG in electronic format. Graduate medical education (GME) appointment profile details are submitted to ECFMG on-line by TPLs through the Exchange Visitor Network (EVNet). J-1 applicants use the On-line Applicant Status and Information System (OASIS) to verify acceptance of an appointment profile and provide mandatory personal and immigration data to ECFMG. In accordance with current federal guidelines, copies of a dually signed contract, Statement of Need, passport, Form I-94, and other required documentation must be submitted to EVSP. This documentation can be uploaded to the applicant’s record by either the TPL, the applicant, or a combination of both. Once both parties have submitted the required on-line information and all supporting documentation, ECFMG proceeds with an evaluation of sponsorship eligibility.
The Training Program Liaison System Access, EVNet
EVNet is an on-line application system designed for designated TPLs for the submission of appointment details, the upload of supporting documentation, and the management of the J-1 sponsorship process. An official contract or letter of offer must be signed by the program and J-1 applicant prior to initiating an on-line sponsorship application through EVNet.
While the major function of EVNet is appointment profile and supporting document submission, the system also provides authorized TPLs with up-to-date reports on currently sponsored J-1 physicians. Reports can be sorted by name, specialty, USMLE/ECFMG Identification Number, sponsorship end dates, and application status. Similar functionality is also available for viewing and managing the records of prospective J-1 physicians for whom sponsorship applications have been submitted in EVNet. Authorized TPLs can also maintain contact information on all training programs under their responsibility in EVNet.
It is expected that future enhancements to EVNet will allow TPLs to notify ECFMG of program changes, J-1 travel, leaves of absence, and resignations through the on-line system.
The Physician Applicant System Access, OASIS
OASIS is ECFMG’s web-based information system used by ECFMG applicants and ECFMG-certified physicians.
J-1 applicants use the “J-1 Visa Sponsorship” section of OASIS to provide ECFMG with information required for sponsorship. Once an authorized TPL has initiated a J-1 visa sponsorship application in EVNet by submitting official training appointment profile details, individual J-1 applicants are directed by e-mail to complete their portion of the on-line application in OASIS. Through OASIS, applicants can also submit any supporting documentation necessary to complete the application and track the status of a pending application.
ECFMG Records and U.S. Government Database, SEVIS
Once a J-1 visa sponsorship application is complete and all regulatory requirements are satisfied, ECFMG creates an electronic record for the J-1 applicant and each J-2 dependent in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is a database jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security. ECFMG issues Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, through SEVIS to confirm J-1 sponsorship approval.
ECFMG, as a non-governmental organization, has no authority to issue visas or confer visa status. If seeking ECFMG-sponsored J-1 visa status for the first time, a foreign national physician with an initial SEVIS record and an original Form DS-2019 must apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy abroad (or, in the United States, for J-1 visa status through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services). Those applicants who are extending J-1 sponsorship through ECFMG and are already participating in a program of GME (or research for “J-1 Research Scholars”) may continue their training based on the updated Form DS-2019 reflecting their new end date, provided Form I-94 remains valid.
TPLs and J-1 physicians must collaborate directly with ECFMG to ensure the maintenance of accurate J-1 sponsorship records in ECFMG’s sponsorship database and SEVIS.
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