The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is the only institution approved by the US Department of State to sponsor international medical graduates to enter the US on J-1 exchange visitor visas in the "Alien Physician" category to participate in clinical training for residencies and fellowships. UAB’s ECFMG Training Program Liaisons (TPLs), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., work very closely with UAB’s Office of Graduate Medical Education to facilitate the J-1 onboarding process. ALL requirements are dictated by ECFMG. We cannot change the timing, order, or requirements. ISSS serves only as the liaison between ECFMG, the UAB program, and you.

Processing an Initial Application for J-1 Status

You will need a Form DS-2019 in order to apply for a J-1 visa to come to the United States. There are many steps involved in obtaining your Form DS-2019, and all of them are controlled by ECFMG. ECFMG has created specific, detailed checklists describing exactly what you need to upload into their database (OASIS). ECFMG has very specific requirements: each document must be uploaded as a separate PDF with a maximum file size of 500KB. Here is the general process:

  1. First, the UAB program coordinator notifies ISSS TPLs that you will be joining us in J-1 status and the TPLs will contact you and the program coordinator.
  2. You and the Program Coordinator collect the necessary documents as described in the ECFMG checklist (see the table below to access the list).
  3. Once we received the necessary documents, the TPLs will create an online Appointment Profile for you on ECFMG’s portal (EVNet) and upload the documents. This step depends on you and how quickly and accurately you send ISSS TPLs the documents ECFMG requires.
  4. ECFMG will email you to complete your part of the application online and pay administrative fees through your portal (OASIS). Carefully review the information on OASIS and contact a TPL with any questions.
  5. After you complete your application and pay your fees in OASIS, ECFMG will review your application.
  6. If anything is missing from your application, ECFMG will issue a deficiency notice via email to both you and the TPLs. It is in your best interest to upload everything exactly as ECFMG wants it so that there are no delays in processing.
  7. After 4-6 weeks, ECFMG approves your application and mails your Form DS-2019 to the ISSS office here at UAB.
  8. We will email you with instructions to come collect your Form DS-2019 (if you are already in the Birmingham area) or mail the DS-2019 to you via UPS if you are outside the US. You can make your visa appointment online at this point.
  9. You take the DS-2019 and other supporting documents to your J-1 visa interview at the US Embassy/ Consulate if you are currently outside the US.

Processing an extension application for J-1 Status

If you are already in the US and already sponsored by ECFMG, your application will be considered as an extension/continuation. The process will be the same as the one described above. Please be sure to select the correct checklist below (choose one of the “continuation” option).

After we receive the extended DS-2019, we will either contact you to pick it up at our office (we do not use Campus mail for important immigration documents), or mail it to you.

ECFMG checklists table

Please read carefully the table below and click on the appropriate link to be directed to the official and complete ECFMG Checklist pertaining to your situation. Please note that all documents listed may not be required depending on your particular situation. Read carefully the checklists and instructions to determine which documents are required. ISSS is available to answer any of your questions.

Program TypeApplication TypeWhen to UseChecklist
ACGME - accredited Clinical Training Program   Initial ECFMG sponsorship Applicant is not currently sponsored by ECFMG and seeks to engage in an ACGME-accredited training program. View Checklist
Continuation of ECFMG sponsorship Applicant is currently sponsored by ECFMG and seeks to engage in an ACGME-accredited training program. View Checklist
Non-Standard Clinical Training Program
NOTE – UAB and ECFMG must confirm that the Program can be sponsored by ECFMG  
Initial ECFMG sponsorship Applicant is not currently sponsored by ECFMG and seeks to engage in a “non-standard” training program. View Checklist
Continuation of ECFMG sponsorship Applicant is currently sponsored by ECFMG and seeks to engage in a “non-standard” training program. View Checklist
ACGME - accredited or Non-Standard Clinical Training Program Request for a Change of J-1 Visa Category Applicant is currently in the US as a “J1 Research Scholar” and seeks to engage in a clinical training program.
Also applies if the applicant’s research program was completed within 6 months before the clinical training program start date.
View Checklist
Board Exam Continuation of ECFMG sponsorship to sit for an ABMS member board examination Applicant is currently sponsored by ECFMG and seeks an extension of sponsorship to sit for an ABMS member board exam. View Checklist