J-1 Visas and Statements of Need

Statements of Need are issued by Health Canada to medical graduates to assist them to obtain a J-1 Visa to pursue postgraduate medical training in the United States. The Statement of Need is one of many requirements of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) that must be met before a J-1 Visa can be issued.  

There are two categories:

Statements of Need for Postgraduate Training in the United States Medical graduate currently enrolled in a Canadian specialty or subspecialty residency training program who wishes to pursue a fellowship [Category A].

Statements of Need for Postgraduate Training in the United States - Medical graduate currently enrolled in a Canadian specialty or subspecialty residency training program who wishes to pursue a short-term rotation or elective training program in the same specialty [Category A/ST]


CATEGORY A - FELLOWSHIPS

You are a resident near completion of residency and you need a J-1 Visa to enter the United States and participate in a Clinical Fellowship in the United States, starting in July or August. You need a Statement of Need to be issued by Health Canada to support your J-1 Visa application. 

Go to the Health Canada website and obtain the application forms and instructions to obtain the Statement of Need.  http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/hhr-rhs/postgrad-postdoc/index-eng.php


Step One

Request a Letter of Support for the proposed fellowship training signed by the Associate Dean Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) to be delivered by email to the Statement of Need representative in the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.   You can request this from the PGME Office.  We will have this letter produced and will email it to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, with a copy to you.  When you make your request, please attach a copy of your offer letter or contract.


Step Two

Request a Letter of Support for the proposed fellowship training signed by the Statement of Need representative in Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to be delivered to you by email. Upon approval of your request,  the signed letter of endorsement will be sent by email directly to you.

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care requires the following information from you before they can issue their Letter of Support:

  • Letter of Support from Associate Dean (sent by PGME Office)
  • Proof of Acceptance from the U.S. training program:  your letter of offer or contract 
  • Proof of Ontario residency:  scanned copy of your driver's license (front and back), plus a copy of a tax assessment, utility bill, or pay stub with your current residence in Ontario
  • Letter from you stating your intentions of training or continued training in the US (sent in a Word format).  The letter should include:
      • What program you are pursuing and which institution you are going to.
      • The duration of the program
      • Why and what you believe will be a benefit to doing this program
      • Your intent to return to Canada upon completion

Supporting documentation can be emailed to Teresa Cheung at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.


Step Three

Go to the Health Canada website and obtain the application forms and instructions to obtain the Statement of Need.  http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/hhr-rhs/postgrad-postdoc/index-eng.php

Prepare the application package for a Statement of Need and send your package to j1visa@hc-sc.gc.ca

Health Canada will prepare the Statement of  Need upon receipt of complete applications and deliver it to the Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program, ECFMG directly, and will mail a copy to you.

 
Step Four

Contact the ECFMG Training Program Liaison (TPL) within the U. S. training institution to start the application for the J-1 Visa.



CATEGORY A/ST - SHORT TERM ELECTIVES AND ROTATIONS

In response to recent guidance provided by the U.S. Department of State (DoS), Canadian medical graduates and/or ECFMG certified international medical graduates who seek to participate in short-term residency rotations within ACGME-accredited residency or fellowship programs are not eligible for ECFMG J-1 sponsorship.  Short-term clinical rotations fall outside of the parameters set forth for the J-1 “alien physician” category.  Therefore, ECFMG cannot approve sponsorship for J-1 applicants seeking to participate in a portion of an accredited training program and/or for duration less than the accredited length of the training year/program.  
 
Please be advised that this directive does not impact ECFMG’s authorization to sponsor J-1 applicants for participation in advanced, non-standard fellowships.  The duration of non-standard training programs may vary in length; however, the duration must be defined at the onset of training by the host institution’s Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC).  Details on the non-standard sponsorship provision and requirements are available at http://www.ecfmg.org/evsp/nonstandard-index.html.
 
Canadian medical residents pursuing a short-term rotation in the US should cross the border with their Canadian passport and substantiating documents demonstrating the purpose of their travel in the US. Therefore, the letter of offer from the US university for the short-term rotation is necessary. These letters will usually indicate that no salary is provided for the rotator.

Given these new US requirements, Health Canada will only provide Statements of Need under Category A Short Term for advanced non-standard fellowships.