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UPMC Medical Education Resident and Fellow Immigration Information

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Residents and fellows participating in UPMC Medical Education (UPMC ME) programs who are not United States citizens or permanent residents must have employment authorization. Employment authorization may require employer sponsorship, or employment authorization may be a benefit of another related immigration application.

Employment Authorization through Employer Sponsorship:

J-1 Exchange Visitor sponsored through ECFMG

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) may sponsor a resident in J-1 non-immigrant visa status for training in an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited program or ECFMG non-standard program.

In order to be eligible for J-1 status the physician must have:

  1. Completed and passed the Unites States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Parts I and II
  2. ECFMG Certification

Once you are matched or accepted to a UPMC ME program you will receive instructions from the UPMC ME Office requesting documentation necessary for your J-1 visa.

J-1 classification is valid for the duration of the residency or fellowship program. If a resident in J-1 status wishes to engage in subsequent training they may do so if approved by ECFMG. A resident or fellow may be in the United States in J-1 status for a maximum of seven years. Please note that a resident or fellow that engages in clinical training in J-1 status will be required to return to his/her home country for two years before being eligible for J-1, H-1B status or permanent residence status. Waivers of this two-year home requirement are limited.

H-1B Specialty Occupation

UPMC ME may act as an employer sponsor of H-1B status on behalf of a medical resident or fellow. In order to qualify for H-1B status the physician must have:

  1. Completed and passed the USMLE Parts I, II and III
  2. ECFMG Certification
  3. A training license issued by the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine

Once you are matched or accepted to a UPMC ME program you will receive an email from the UPMC Legal Department requesting documentation necessary for your H-1B petition. The H-1B petition cannot be filed until your Pennsylvania medical license is approved and you have passed all three parts of USMLE. The regular processing time for the H-1B petition can take anywhere from two to six months. In order to start your program you may be required to pay the Premium Processing (expedite) fee of $1,225. Please note that this fee is the responsibility of the resident or fellow.

A physician may be in the U.S. in H-1B status for a total of six years.​