J-1 Foreign Medical Graduates
UW departments that sponsor foreign medical graduates (FMGs) to participate in non-clinical programs, either with no patient contact or care or where patient contact is incidental to the physician’s primary activity of teaching, research, consultation, or observation, must attach to the UW J Visa Request Form one of the three letters described below. The letter submitted to ISO must include the original signature of the dean of the medical school or department chair. An ISO Advisor will also sign the letter and staple the original signed letter to the DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. Both the DS-2019 and the original signed letter must be presented by the FMG to the US consulate when applying for a J visa to enter the US.
No patient contact or care
If no patient contact or care is involved in the FMG’s duties, the letter, addressed “To Whom It May Concern” and signed by the dean of the medical school or department chair, must state, verbatim:
“This certifies that the program in which (name) is to be engaged is solely for the purpose of observation, consultation, teaching, or research and that no element of patient care services is involved.”
Incidental patient contact
If incidental patient contact is involved in the FMG’s duties, the letter, addressed “To Whom It May Concern” and signed by the dean of the medical school or department chair, must certify the following five points, verbatim:
- “The program in which (name) will participate is predominantly involved with observation, consultation, teaching or research.
- Any incidental patient contact involving (name) will be under the direct supervision of a physician who is a U.S. citizen or resident alien and who is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State.
- (Name) will not be given final responsibility for the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
- Any activities of (name) will conform fully with licensing requirements and regulations for medical and health care professionals in Washington State.
- Any experience gained in this program will not be creditable toward any clinical requirements for medical specialty board certification.”
Public health and preventative medicine programs
If the FMG is coming to the UW to participate in a public health or preventive medicine program not involving any patient contact or care, the letter, addressed “To Whom It May Concern” and signed by the dean or department chair, must state, verbatim:
“This certifies that the program in which (name) is to be engaged does not include any clinical activities involving direct patient care.”
Internships, residencies and clinical training
The only exchange program authorized to sponsor FMGs as J-1 exchange visitors for internships, residencies, specialized clinical training, and in other jobs involving more than incidental patient contact is the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). ECFMG discourages transfer to its program from nonclinical exchange programs sponsored by academic institutions.