Department of State Signals Visa Processing for Medical Professionals Will Move Forward

ECFMG|FAIMER Continues Focus on Obstacles to IMGs Entering U.S. Training

In a communication today, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) signaled that it would resume processing of J and H visa applications for medical professionals seeking to enter the United States. In its communication, DOS encouraged individuals with an approved U.S. non-immigrant or immigrant visa petition (I-129, I-140, or similar) or a certificate of eligibility in an approved exchange visitor program (DS-2019) to review the website of their nearest embassy or consulate for procedures to request a visa appointment.

The communication follows a March 18 announcement that the United States was suspending routine visa processing for immigrant and non-immigrant visas, including the J and H visas, at embassies and consulates worldwide due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

Since the March 18 announcement, ECFMG|FAIMER has been in close contact with DOS to raise awareness of the impact of the suspension in visa issuance on the 4,200+ foreign national physicians selected in the March 20 Match to participate in U.S. programs of graduate medical education (GME) beginning July 1. The addition of these physicians to health care teams at teaching hospitals across the United States is critical to meeting our health care needs and combating the current COVID-19 health care crisis.

“We are encouraged that our close relationship and communications with DOS on this issue have resulted in this positive development,” said ECFMG|FAIMER President and CEO William W. Pinsky, MD. “There are still significant obstacles to getting these physicians here, and we can now shift our focus to addressing these other issues.”

The J and H are the most common visa classifications used by foreign national physicians to participate in U.S. GME programs. ECFMG|FAIMER is designated by DOS as the sole J-1 visa sponsor of foreign national physicians in U.S. GME programs. Currently, ECFMG|FAIMER sponsors close to 12,000 physicians at teaching hospitals across the nation, where they engage in medical specialty training and provide supervised patient care.

For more information on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on ECFMG|FAIMER programs and what we are doing in response, please visit our COVID-19 (Coronavirus) web page.