Resident Visa Policy

This policy is designed to define the standards, responsibilities and resources in place for all applying for professional graduate medical education (GME) programs of UPMCMEP. It is intended to eliminate any potential competition between or among programs for candidates from the same pool while: forging a central commitment that insures fairness; protecting the member institutions from any legal and resource risks inherent in any changes in a Federal program; and insuring UPMCMEP ability to successfully demonstrate full compliance with applicable authority and requirements for immigration and visa issues.

Executive Authority: Designated Institutional Official; Vice President, Graduate Medical Education

Procedure: Residents in UPMCMEP programs who are not United States citizens must have permanent resident status or an acceptable visa in order to participate in graduate medical education training. All International Medical Graduates (IMGs) of non-LCME medical schools must obtain ECFMG Certification prior to entry into any UPMCMEP residency/fellowship programs. ECFMG Certification provides assurance to residency programs and to the people of the United States that the IMG has met minimum standards of eligibility required to enter graduate medical education training programs. IMG candidates to UPMCMEP programs who are non U.S. citizens or permanent residents may be eligible for a number of non-immigrant visas acceptable for residency training in the Commonwealth (subject to change based on Federal laws).

The two most common visa requests are:

J-1 Exchange Visitor sponsored through ECFMG

The J-1 visa is limited to the length of a normal training program in the specialty for which the physician is being trained, as recognized by the ACGME. The overall time limit for a J-1 physician is seven years. Any physician who receives GME in J-1 status must return to his/her country for two years before being eligible for H status or permanent residence, unless a waiver of that requirement is granted.

H-1B, Professional Worker

Visa sponsored by the Employing Institution
This visa enables a beneficiary to stay in the U.S. for up to six years and apply for permanent residency in the interim. As part of the H-1B petition, the employer must make a number of attestations (See Appendix A). An H-1B petition may be filed for an IMG who, at minimum, is ECFMG certified, has successfully completed all three steps of the USMLE examination and obtains a valid graduate training license in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The administrative and financial costs and time associated with the H-1B visa may be significantly greater than for the J-1 visa, and the decision to support any visa other than the J-1 is within the purview and responsibility of the program and institution. (See Appendix A for the list of specific employer responsibilities for each visa type.)

Departments/Divisions, who choose to offer the H-1B visa option, must provide the GME office with the following:

  1. Criteria used by the program to determine selection/appointment of the candidates.
  2. Substantiation that all GME requirements related to the particular visa application have been met.
  3. Department Declaration Form* signed by the Program Director and Department Chair (applicable to H-1B visa only).

Once the GME office confirms the candidate′s eligibility for the H-1B visa, the program will be responsible to:

  1. Provide a written job description, if required for the visa application.
  2. Provide a UPMCMEP contract*, or Letter of Offer outlining the conditional precedence for acceptance into the program, with a specific time line to achieve the specified condition. 
  3. Post the required Department of Labor Condition Application.
  4. Pay all employer required application processing fees.
  5. Pay the prevailing wage (if applicable).
  6. Agree to provide the cost of return transportation abroad, if resident is dismissed before petition period expires.

All other requests for visas that may permit IMG′s, who are non-U.S. citizens to participate in GME training, must be reviewed by the GME Executive Director to confirm eligibility prior to selection or appointment of candidates.

To ensure a successful process, it is imperative that the program works closely with the GME office. All applications and materials relating to the visa application will be processed and maintained through the GME office, including the required Public Examination File.

Appendix A

    Specific Employer Responsibilities when sponsoring an H-1B visa petition

  1. Demonstrate a need for someone in a specialty occupation.
  2. Determine the Actual Wage.
  3. Locate Prevailing Wage information.
  4. Pay the required wage.
  5. Post notice of Labor Condition Application (LCA) for 10 days.
  6. File LCA with the U.S. Department of Labor attesting to certain wage and working conditions.
  7. Pay required costs and expenses on behalf of the H-1B employee.
  8. Make available for inspection certain documentation about the LCA.
  9. Maintain a Public Examination File for one year beyond the end of the period of employment specified on the LCA to include:

    a. a copy of each completed LCA filed (form ETA 9035) 
    b. the wage paid the H-1B workers 
    c. the system used to set the actual wage for the occupation 
    d. a copy of the documents used to establish the prevailing wage of the H-1B occupation 
    e. documents showing compliance with the notice requirement
  10. Maintain payroll records of all H-1B employees from the time the LCA is filed throughout period of employment.
  11. Make appropriate deductions from the wage required by law, e.g. income tax, FICA, etc.
  12. Pay the required wage during any non-productive states, e.g. training, lack of license, lack of assigned work
  13. Agree to pay the cost of return transportation abroad if alien is dismissed before petition period expires.
  1. Designate a Training Program Liaison (TPL) to serve as the official link between ECFMG, Host Institution and J-1 physician. The TPL for UPMCMEP programs is the Executive Director, GME.
  2. Agree to provide the J-1 physician with the training for which s/he is coming to the United States or for arranging such training.
  3. Cooperate with ECFMG in providing on-site assistance and administrative oversight to the J-1 physician.
  4. Confirm that the Exchange Visitor has secured each of the following documents:
    a. SEVIS form 
    b.  Form I-94 or Form I-797 
    c.  Form DS-2019 
    d.  Visa stamp in passport, if applicable
  5. Confirm to ECFMG: 
    a. Form I-94 = J-1, D/S 
    b. Date of Entry, Date Reported updates SEVIS Record
  6. Seek consultation with and pre-authorization from ECFMG for: 
    a. Notification of Termination 
    b. Leaves of Absences (e.g. medical, family) 
    c.  Address Reporting (change of residential address) 
    d. Amendment to Contract (e.g. training level, start date)


Name of H-1B Applicant: __________________________ Dept: _________________________

The Department will comply with the following regulations during the H-1B application process and during employment of the above-named foreign national under the terms of H-1B status.
NOTE: Every box must be checked in order to indicate that the department will comply with each statement.

  • Return airfare to home country will be paid to the Alien (employee) if he/she is dismissed prior to the end date of appointment.

  • H-1B non-immigrants will be paid the actual wage level to those individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question or the prevailing wage level for the occupation in the area of employment, whichever is higher.

  • The employment of H-1B non-immigrants will not adversely affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment.

  • As mandated by the H-1B Visa Reform Act signed on December 8, 2004, effective March 8, 2005, the Department will pay the required $500 Fraud Detection and Prevention Fee for each H-1B Petition it approves for processing.

  • If required to do so by the Department of Homeland Security the Department will pay all of the costs associated with obtaining this H-1B visa.

  • On the date that this application is signed and submitted, there is no strike, lockout or work stoppage in the course of a labor dispute in the occupation in which the H-1B non-immigrants will be employed at the place of employment.

  • By posting a notice of this filing in a conspicuous place for ten (10) days, notice of the application will be provided to workers employed in occupations similar to the proposed
    H-1B non-immigrant worker. A public inspection file will be kept in a place within the place of employment and made available upon request.

  • The department will be responsible for notifying the GME Office of any substantial changes in the H-1B visa holder’s employment (terms of employment, place of employment, transfer to another training program, significant changes in duties, salary increases over 25 percent or more, termination, resignation, etc.) It is the responsibility of the training program to inform the GME Office. Federal regulations require that USCIS be notified prior to any changes in employment taking place.


Pursuant to 28 USC 1746, I declare under penalty of perjury that the information provided on this form is true and correct. In addition, I declare that I will comply with the Department of Labor regulations governing this program.

_____________________ ___/___/_____
Signature – Program Director (Date)
Print Name  
_____________________ ___/___/_____
Signature – Department Chair (Date)
Print Name  

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