About J-1 Research Scholar
ECFMG sponsors J-1 Exchange Visitors in the “research scholar” category for participation in non-clinical programs consisting of observation, consultation, teaching, or research. Unlike those sponsored in the J-1 “alien physician” category for clinical training, “research scholar” participants generally are not required to pass U.S. medical licensing exams and are not required to be ECFMG certified. J-1 “research scholars” are limited to activities involving no patient contact or incidental patient contact.
ECFMG is the only agency authorized to sponsor “alien physicians” for J-1 status; however, many U.S. hospitals and training institutions are designated by the U.S. Department of State (DoS) to sponsor J-1 “research scholars.” ECFMG, therefore, only provides research sponsorship to those physicians participating in programs at hospitals or institutions that do not have their own J-1 research designation. The category of “research scholar” is specifically defined in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations as follows:
RESEARCH SCHOLAR (Non-clinical Program): A “research scholar is…an individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project…” [22CFR62.4(f)].
More information about the “research scholar” category is available on the DoS website at http://j1visa.state.gov/programs/professor-and-research-scholar/.
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