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Maintaining J-1 Clinical Visa Status

Physicians on J-1 clinical visas cannot moonlight, work extra shifts, do any additional work outside outside their program (either paid or unpaid).

If you are a physician with a J-1 clinical visa, it is your responsibility to maintain and update your information with the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) throughout your program. Failure to comply with the requirements of J visa status can seriously impact your eligibility for a future U.S. visa application or stay. Our office can communicate directly with ECFMG and assist you with questions about the process. Please contact the Mass General Brigham Office for Global Professionals and Scholars (GPS) Office.

You must notify the ECFMG of any proposed changes to your approved training program or curriculum, including location, course of training, leaves of absence, termination, remediation, and more. In addition, you must notify ECFMG if you experience a serious illness or injury, have any involvement with the criminal justice system, are involved in litigation or receive negative press.

OASIS is an on-line service for ECFMG applicants and ECFMG-certified physicians. Through OASIS, international medical graduates (IMG) may review and update their contact information, request a J-2 dependent, upload eligible supporting documents, track receipt of supporting documents; and complete the physician portion of an on-line application for J-1 visa sponsorship.

Health insurance

The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (22 CFR § 62.14) mandates that all J-1 exchange visitors and accompanying J-2 dependents secure comprehensive health insurance effective on the program start date indicated on Form DS-2019 and maintain coverage, without interruption, for the full duration of stay in the United States in J-1 status. J visa holders are also required to hold medical evacuation and repatriation of remains insurances for the full duration of their stay in the United States.

Maintenance of status

Maintaining your status means:

  • Fulfilling the purpose of your visa.

  • Following the regulations associated with the intended training plan

Possession of required documents/records confirming visa status:

  • Form DS-2019 reflecting an active SEVIS record

  • I-94 record with “Duration of Status” (D/S)

  • Valid, unexpired passport

If you move, you must let ECFMG know your new address. Report any change in U.S. residential address via OASIS within 10 days of any move. It is the responsibility of all J-1 physicians to maintain and update contact information throughout the course of training. ECFMG uploads all address changes to SEVIS. In addition, you need to update your address in the Mass General Brigham hospital PeopleSoft system.


ECFMG issues DS-2019s in one-year increments even if a training program is for more than one year. In order to extend:

  • Your departments should complete Visa Manager ECFMG forms before January 31

  • Processing speed largely depends on the type of request and ECFMG processing times

  • The new DS-2019 will be delivered to our office and we will coordinate mailing out the documents using EShip Global

International travel

This ECFMG website provides information that ECFMG-sponsored physicians need to know prior to any travel outside the U.S. This basic information is intended for physicians who have already entered the U.S. under ECFMG sponsorship and whose U.S. presence has been validated by ECFMG in SEVIS.

The following documents are required for reentry to the U.S. after international travel:

  • Passport, valid for at least six months beyond the program end date on the most recent Form DS-2019, unless otherwise exempt

  • Valid J-1 visa (except for Canadian citizens)

  • Original Form DS-2019 containing travel signature in “Travel Validation By Responsible Officer” box on lower right side of Form DS-2019

ECFMG signatures for Form DS-2019 travel validation located in the box on the lower right side of Form DS-2019 are valid for one year or until the expiration date of Form DS-2019 as indicated in Box 3, whichever comes first. As long as you possess a travel-validated DS-2019 that has not yet expired, a new travel-validated DS-2019 is not required for each trip abroad. Only one ECFMG signature is required in the travel validation box, even though there are two spaces for signatures. Only Regional Advisors from ECFMG are authorized to sign Form DS-2019 for travel validation – this means our office cannot sign for travel validation

If a J-1 physician or J-2 dependents have travel plans outside the U.S. and they are not in possession of a travel-validated DS-2019, they must submit a Request for Duplicate Form DS-2019. ECFMG will process the request within seven to ten business days and send the Form DS-2019 to the physician or TPL by regular U.S. mail.