The J1 visa exchange visitor program gives a great opportunity to foreign medical graduates to come to the US for graduate medical education or training at accredited medical schools or hospitals. The J1 visa program has many advantages such as lesser fees compared to H-1B visa, no employer sponsorship and no prevailing wage requirement.
However, there are strict requirements for interested physicians to qualify for a J1 visa; they must have passed the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination in Medical Sciences, they should have proficient English skills and they are subject to the two year foreign residence requirement. Applicants must have prior education and training and also have the background and experience suitable to the program.
However, physicians coming to the US on exchange visitor programs for consultation, teaching or research in which there is little or no patient care are not subject to these requirements. Foreign physicians coming to the US must be certified and sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. The ECFMG assesses if an international medical graduate is ready to enter residency or fellowship programs in the US following which, foreign physicians begin their medical residency programs at hospitals.
A J1 visa is the most common route for international medical graduates to participate in US medical residency programs. It is usually granted for the duration of the approved program to a maximum of 7 years. All J1 visa applicants must demonstrate their non immigrant intent to the relevant authorities and show that they are coming to the US for a temporary period. They may be required to submit documents showing the ownership of property, family ties and other reasons for returning to their home country. The J1 visa physician program gives a perfect solution for employers to fill areas with doctor shortages with physicians from foreign countries.