Univ of Washington Policy | Helpful Information/FAQ | Questions?

The University of Washington Family Medicine Residency Program encourages qualified applicants of all backgrounds to apply for admission. If you have read and feel that you meet our minimum requirements, this page will help answer your questions about visas.

University of Washington School of Medicine Visa Policy

(revised 9/9/16)

Scope: Foreign national physicians who require visa sponsorship in order to participate in a
clinical training program at the University of Washington. This includes all residents and fellows participating in ACGME-accredited training programs, and senior fellows/senior fellow trainees without a concurrent acting instructor title participating in non-ACGME-accredited training programs, and who require J-1 visa sponsorship.

Foreign nationals participating in clinical training programs who require visa sponsorship must obtain a J-1 visa sponsored through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). Trainees may be considered for, but are not assured of, H-1B visa sponsorship and only with prior approval from GME and UW International Scholars Operations (ISO)/Academic Human Resources (Academic HR).
To be considered for H-1B sponsorship, the applicant must meet one of the following four exceptions:

1. Applicant is currently under UW H-1B sponsorship as faculty, or a
resident or fellow in another UW program, or is currently under H-1B visa sponsorship applying for extension of H-1B status to continue in the same program

2. Applicant will be a U.S. medical school graduate and is currently in F-1 visa status

3. Applicant is currently engaged in training at another institution in H-1B status, and will transfer to a UW residency or fellowship program

4. Applicant has filed an adjustment of status with a current priority date

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Helpful Information/FAQ

For Applicants:

Payment – It is HIGHLY recommended that you pay online through OASIS.   Payment made by check can delay the application processing time by up to 10 days.

CVs – These need to be current and should not include any gaps in life experiences. All dates must be accounted for with education, employment, research or other event.

I-94 – You must review your I-94 carefully to ensure that the information written on your I-94 by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official is accurate (ie, issued I-94 as J-1 with date).  Please visit www.cbp.gov for more information.

Statement of Need from Ministry of Health – This letter needs to refer to the specific program the applicant will be in, not the parent program.  If you will be doing subspecialty training, the letter needs to refer to the subspecialty training program.  If you are switching from a residency to fellowship program, you will need a new MOH letter for the fellowship program.

US Embassy/Consular Interviews – See http://usembassy.state.gov/for website links to US Embassies and Consulates.  It is a good idea to find out the wait time for appointments at the embassy/consulate, as processing/interview times vary by location.   You must have your current DS2019 prior to your interview, however you should not wait until you receive it to make your appointment.

Initial Sponsorship Applicants – IMGs sponsored by the ECFMG can only enter the US from abroad 30 days prior to the date indicated on the DS-2019.

Validation of Initial Arrival (for those with an initial J-1) – ECFMG must confirm the arrival of all initial J-1 physicians in the government database, SEVIS, within thirty days of the training start date.  Trainees must fax their completed Validation of Initial Arrival form to the ECFMG, signed by the TPL, along with their I-94, copy of their J-1 visa page, and stamped DS2019.

Request for Travel – As soon as you know that they will be traveling, you need to submit your request for travel validation to the ECFMG if your travel validation section on your DS2019 is not current.  It typically takes 2 weeks (10 business days) turnaround time, so it is essential that this request be made well ahead of your planned travel.  You should provide the TPL with your travel departure and return dates, and a letter will be faxed to the ECFMG.  The travel validation section of the DS2019 can only be signed by the ECFMG regional advisor, or other approved ECFMG official.

Permission to Apply for Entry into the US – You must have a valid visa in order to re-enter the US if traveling abroad (except from Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent islands).  As long as you remain in the US, it does not mater if your visa expires, however if you choose to travel outside the US, you must have current Travel Validation status and update your visa status prior to returning.

General Information:

Eligibility – Eligibility requirements for J-1 sponsorship can be found on the ECFMG website and ECFMG J-1 Visa Sponsorship Fact Sheet (PDF)

When to submit applications – Incoming residents/fellows new to UW should submit their J-1 application paperwork as soon as they have matched into their program.  Residents/fellows who will be continuing in a UW program should submit their paperwork by the end of February or as soon after as possible.

Processing time – It typically takes 4-6 weeks for the ECFMG to receive, review, and process a DS2019.  If there are any deficiencies in the application, this can delay the approval process by several weeks.  It is recommended that applications be submitted at least 10 weeks prior to the start date to allow time for review by the GME office prior to submitting to the ECFMG.

TPL – This is the communication point person between the UW GME programs and the ECFMG.  All issues regarding visas go through the TPL, who also certifies the applications.  Applications should NOT be signed by anyone else.  The TPLs at UW are Gabrielle Nathanson (nathangl@u.washington.edu) and Amity Neumeister (amity@u.washington.edu).


Application for J-1 Sponsorship (Online Application Effective January 1, 2012)

Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) Website

UW International Student Services (ISS)

US Department of State, Exchange Visitor (J) Visa Information

US Department of State Travel Information


Please direct inquiries to:

UW Family Medicine Residency fmedres@uw.edu (206) 520-2405, FAX (206) 520-2450