Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program (EVSP)

During Sponsorship

Maintaining J-1 Visa Status

It is important to know the difference between “visa” and “visa status.”

ECFMG-sponsored J-1 visa status requires full-time participation in an approved program of graduate medical education (GME). In addition to meeting the academic standards required to progress through residency, J-1 physicians must maintain valid visa status in order to continue to train at U.S. teaching hospitals. Maintaining status requires, but is not limited to, the following:

Furthermore, engaging in employment outside of approved residency or fellowship training (“moonlighting”) is strictly prohibited. The J‐1 classification is explicitly reserved for educational and cultural exchange. It is not a work visa and, therefore, J‐1 physician participants are not permitted to engage in any work outside of their approved GME program (as reflected on Form DS‐2019). Detailed information on this subject is available at

Review Selected Regulations for other requirements and special considerations during your J-1 visa sponsorship, including information on change in specialty, address reporting, and mandatory insurance coverage. Failure to comply with the requirements of J visa status can result in SEVIS Termination and seriously impact an individual’s eligibility for a future U.S. visa application or stay.

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