All initial applicants for ECFMG J-1 sponsorship are advised that sponsorship eligibility should not be presumed and cannot be determined until a complete review of an individual’s U.S. visa history has been conducted. The DoS has expressed concern about individuals with a history of “transiting non-immigrant visa types” and has advised ECFMG against sponsoring individuals who previously held J status and switched to an alternate visa classification or J category before applying to ECFMG. Therefore, any history of multiple changes in visa classification and/or movement between multiple J categories may negate sponsorship eligibility.
ECFMG-sponsored physicians must accept the following basic requirements of J-1 visa status:
- The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa is a temporary, non-immigrant visa reserved for educational training purposes. (Spouse and children are referred to as J-2 dependents.) Full-time participation in the approved training program is required to maintain J-1 status.
- All J-1 physicians sponsored by ECFMG for clinical training are subject to the two-year home country physical presence (foreign residence) requirement of §212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended. A Statement of Need from the physician’s country of last legal permanent residence is a J-1 sponsorship requirement and serves to evidence home country support for the U.S. training and provide assurance of an applicant’s commitment to return home.
- Approval of the J-1/J-2 visa depends in part upon the applicant’s ability to prove strong ties to the home country and a clear intent to return home upon completion of or early withdrawal from training, as mandated by §214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended.
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