J-1/J-2 Visas

The J-1 alien physician visa is sponsored by the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) and is the preferred visa of University of Minnesota Medical School residencies and fellowships. 

Please contact your Program Coordinator to verify if J-1 visa sponsorship is allowed in your program. 


International Medical Graduates (IMGs) and non-IMGs (i.e. graduates of LCME-Accredited U.S. or Canadian Medical Schools) who require visa sponsorship may be eligible for J-1 visa sponsorship.  For more information, please see the UMN-GME Institution Visa Sponsorship Policy and the ECFMG J-1 Visa Sponsorship Fact Sheet.

Note: All IMG J-1 Applicants must be ECFMG-certified before applying for J-1 visa sponsorship.

Payroll information: J-1 Visa holders

Once the DS-2019 is received, and the Validation of Initial Arrival form has been submitted to the ECFMG TPL (Initial applicants only), then the J-1 visa holder may proceed to payroll services.  Information on this process can be found here: How the J-1 Visa Holder Gets on Payroll

DS-2019 cover letter

GME issues a cover letter every time a J-1 trainee is issued a new DS-2019.  This letter reminds the J-1 trainee of their responsibilities as a J-1 visa holder: obtaining/maintaining lawful status; reporting any changes in training to GME (i.e. medical leave of absence); and reporting any international travel to GME at least 60 days prior to planned travel.  This letter will be shared with the Program Director, Program Coordinator, Education Manager (if applicable), and appropriate department HR/payroll contacts as well.  Please direct any questions to the ECFMG Training Program Liaison.

  • initial_ds-2019_communication_2020-21_pdf_website.pdf
    Thu, 08/11/2022 - 05:16

  • continuing_ds-2019_2020-2021_communication_website.pdf
    Thu, 08/11/2022 - 05:16


J-1 visa status vs J-1 visa stamp

Trainees continuing in J-1 status do NOT need to have their visa stamps renewed in order to continue training.

In order to be in a GME training program, you need to present documents to Human Resources which show that you are legally authorized to work in the United States.  For J-1 visa holders, the required documents are:

  • A valid DS-2019 for the training year in question (expiration date on the DS-2019 must match your current employment contract expiration date)
  • A valid passport
  • A valid Form I-94 that reads "D/S" (for duration of status)
    • If your Form I-94 has an actual expiration date on it rather than "D/S", contact the TPL immediately at gme@umn.edu

You do NOT need a current (unexpired) J-1 visa stamp in your passport for work authorization.  The J-1 visa stamp only matters when you are entering the U.S. from abroad.  For more information on international travel, see J-1/J-2 Travel.

Refer also to this ECFMG website, which explains the difference between visa status and a visa.