Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program (EVSP)
COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) ANNOUNCEMENT
The ECFMG|FAIMER Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program (EVSP) continues to provide its services and communicate to relevant stakeholders about new immigration or COVID-19 issues that impact exchange visitor physicians. Review previous COVID-19 communications here. ECFMG|FAIMER remains dedicated to supporting training programs and foreign national physicians through this challenging time.
Applying for Sponsorship
All 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 application has been conducted.
The J-1 exchange visitor visa is a temporary, nonimmigrant visa reserved for educational training purposes. As such, all ECFMG-sponsored physicians must accept the foundational requirements of J-1 visa 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. It requires that J-1 physicians and accompanying J-2 dependents reside in the home country for an aggregate of at least two years before being eligible for certain changes or adjustment in visa status in the United States. 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 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.
Prospective and current J-1 physicians can find additional information in The Spirit and Intent of the Exchange Visitor Program for Physicians learning module.
The following are key regulations outlined in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Section 22 CFR Part 62 for J-1 physicians participating in clinical training programs in the United States:
- J-1 physicians and dependents must maintain required levels of health, accident, medical evacuation, and repatriation of remains insurance during their stay in the United States. See Mandatory Medical Insurance for more.
- ECFMG J-1 visa sponsorship authorizes a specific training activity, location, and associated financial compensation. Federal regulations do not permit any additional activity or compensation outside of the defined parameters of the approved program. Unauthorized employment, or “moonlighting,” is prohibited.
- The maximum duration for ECFMG sponsorship for clinical training is generally limited to seven years. Furthermore, duration of participation is limited to the time “typically required to complete a program,” as defined by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and/or Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).
- A J-1 physician may once, within the first two years of J-1 sponsorship, change his/her designated medical specialty, as defined by the ABMS Member Boards. ECFMG is authorized to issue a change in program specialty before commencement of the third year of sponsorship. Once an exchange visitor physician enters the third year of sponsorship, a change in specialty is no longer permitted.
- J-1 physicians are expected to advance through progressive levels of training. Regulations limit ECFMG sponsorship for repeat/remedial training to a maximum of 12 months, based on strong support from the program director.
- J-1 physicians must depart the United States within 30 days of completion of full-time participation in a training program, as defined by the dates on Form DS-2019. While there is a “30-day grace period” during which J-1 physicians and J-2 dependents can remain in the United States, there is no employment or training authorization during this time.
- A sponsor shall terminate an exchange visitor’s participation in its program when the exchange visitor violates the Exchange Visitor Program regulations and/or the sponsor’s rules governing the program if, in the sponsor’s determination, termination is warranted. In cases of termination, a 30-day grace period does not apply.