UAB is a world-class medical institution with over 93 accredited residency and subspecialty programs across our five medical campuses. International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is here to help departments and international physicians navigate the ECFMG J-1 visa process. Our ECFMG Training Program Liaisons (TPLs) are Sarah Scott, and Alyette Mangin-Nixon.

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is the only institution approved by the US Department of State to sponsor international physicians, medical researchers, residents, and fellows to enter the US on J-1 exchange visitor visas in the "Alien Physician" category to participate in clinical training.

Please review the following information before contacting us with additional questions or concerns:

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 the physician.

1. When can we start the process?

Best practice is to wait for the Graduate Medical Education (GME) Office to publish the coming year's salaries for each PGY level. Salaries are usually approved in February or March each year.

However, physicians who are already sponsored by ECFMG and currently in US can start the extension process when they get their new contracts or offer letter.

2. What is the process?

The general process is as follow:

  • UAB Programs initiate contact with ISSS to inform us of incoming and continuing international physicians.
    IMPORTANT NOTEplease inform ISSS if:
    • the physician will be dually appointed with UAB and HSF
    • the physician is funded through an outside entity (SACM or other)
  • Depending on each individual situation, the Program Coordinator and the physician will provide the required documents – SEE the table below to access the checklist that fits your specific situation
  • ISSS reviews the documents provided
  • ISSS creates an online Appointment Profile on UAB’s TPL portal (EVNet) and uploads supporting documents
  • ECFMG emails physicians to complete their part of application online and pay administrative fees through their portal (OASIS).
    IMPORTANT NOTE - the physician should carefully review the information on OASIS and contact ISSS office with any questions.
  • After the application is completed and the fees paid, ECFMG issues the Form DS-2019 within 4-6 weeks
  • ECFMG sends the DS-2019 to ISSS (the DS-2019 is the form the physician must present at a US consulate to obtain a J-1 visa)
  • ISSS contacts physician to collect the DS-2019 or mails the DS-2019 to the physician, if the physician is outside the US
  • The physician applies for J-1 Visa at the US Embassy/Consulate if he/she is currently outside the US

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.

IMPORTANT NOTE

ECFMG has very specific requirements for each documents and requires them to be uploaded as separate PDFs, maximum size 500KB.

3. What should be included in the contract or offer letter?

The contract or offer letter must include the following information:

  • Start and end dates of the training year
    • Start date – for PGY1, the start date should coincide with the day of the orientation.
    • End date – typically 6/30. No gaps authorized between 2 years of training.
  • Name of the specialty or sub-specialty of the training program/pathway
  • PGY level
  • Salary - any contract without the salary listed will be rejected by ECFMG. The exact repartition of the funds between HSF and UAB (if applicable) must also be listed.
  • Signature of the physician and an appropriate hospital official.

Document Checklists:

Program Type
Application Type
When to Use
Checklist
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 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