Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program (EVSP)
Applying for Sponsorship
ECFMG Sponsorship Types
Non-Standard Clinical Training
Non-standard training programs are advanced clinical subspecialty disciplines or pathways for which Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accreditation and/or American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Member Board certification is unavailable. If ACGME accreditation is available in the discipline being pursued but your institution’s program is not accredited, the program does not qualify under the non-standard provision for J-1 trainees.
Programs seeking to enroll J-1 physicians in non-standard training for the 2022/2023 academic year must ensure that the following requirements are met:
- ABMS Member Board recognition for the specific advanced subspecialty discipline being pursued. See the list of Recognized Non-standard Subspecialty Disciplines. Only those disciplines listed qualify for ECFMG sponsorship. The ABMS Member Boards are no longer writing individual letters or recognizing new disciplines. See Pending Transition to ACGME Recognition for Sponsoring Institutions below for more information.
- Confirmation that the Sponsoring Institution’s Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC) has approved the non-standard training program and associated program description. GMEC approval is evidenced through completion and submission of the GMEC & Parent Program Verification Form.
- Non-standard training must take place at an ACGME-accredited Sponsoring Institution and at the primary clinical site of activity for the associated ACGME-accredited “parent” program. Both must apply. To search for a specific ACGME-accredited program and its “primary clinical site(s),” refer to https://apps.acgme.org/ads/public/.
Review the non-standard clinical training checklists for information on the application process and requirements.
Pending Transition to ACGME Recognition for Sponsoring Institutions
With the publication of a Federal Register Notice on April 19, 2021, the U.S. Department of State officially acknowledged a change in the administrative recognition of non-standard training programs. Historically, all non-standard disciplines were required to be endorsed by an appropriate ABMS Member Board to be considered for J-1 sponsorship.
In the future state, ACGME, the primary national accreditor of graduate medical education programs and the institutions that sponsor them, will recognize Sponsoring Institutions offering non-standard training opportunities to J-1 physicians. An ACGME process for approval of ACGME-accredited Sponsoring Institutions to conduct non-standard programs will be announced in 2022. Institutional Recognition is distinct and separate from the ACGME accreditation processes.
Non-Standard Clinical Training FAQs
1. What is a “parent” program?
The “parent” program is the affiliated ACGME-accredited specialty or subspecialty for the non-standard discipline. Non-standard programs must be linked to the most closely related specialty or subspecialty (e.g., the parent program for leukemia fellowship would be hematology/oncology, not internal medicine). Non-standard training must take place at the primary clinical site for the affiliated parent program.
2. Do research programs qualify under the non-standard provision?
Non-standard fellowships are clinical training programs; physicians sponsored in the J-1 “alien physician” category cannot engage in long-term, independent research projects nor can sponsorship under the non-standard provision be extended for research programs. Similarly, the originally defined duration of the non-standard program cannot be extended for research.
3. Do academic/research tracks qualify under the non-standard provision?
Sponsorship for one additional year beyond the ACGME-accredited length of a training program may be permissible if the academic/research track was predefined as a component of the ACGME-accredited program and documented as such prior to an applicant’s entry into the accredited program. For additional information, see Eligibility Requirements for J-1 Visa Sponsorship within Academic/Research Tracks.
Recognized Non-standard Subspecialty Disciplines
Summary of Discussions
The following document summarizes the criteria that were agreed upon by the U.S. Department of State, ECFMG, and representatives of the academic medical community for sponsorship in non-standard programs, effective July 1, 2003.