J-1 Visa Categories

Research Scholars Students
Short-Term Scholars Clinical Observers
Medical Trainees

Research Scholars

A Research Scholar is in the U.S. to conduct research, observe, or provide consultative services for a research project. The maximum time allowed in a program is five years. UT Southwestern Medical Center typically only sponsors J-1 visas for people who hold either a Ph.D. or M.D. degree. 

Important Note: If a visitor has been in the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar on or after November 18, 2006, they can't begin a new program as a J-1 Research Scholar until they have been out of J-1 status for 24 months.

Short-Term Scholars

A Short-term Scholar is in the U.S. to lecture, observe, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills. The maximum time allowed in this program is six months. UT Southwestern Medical Center typically only sponsors J-1 visas for people who hold either a Ph.D. or M.D. degree. 

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Medical Trainees

Foreign medical graduates must be ECFMG-certified and have a J-1 visa sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) to receive graduate clinical training at UT Southwestern. We will also consider foreign medical graduates who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or have other free-standing employment authorization as long as they are ECFMG-certified. UT Southwestern does not usually sponsor H-1B visas for clinical training.

  • Certification
    Foreign medical school graduates who wish to enter clinical training in the U.S. must first complete a certification process, conducted by ECFMG, to show they have the medical expertise to train in the U.S. 

Graduates of medical schools in the U.S. and its territories (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) do not have to undergo certification. U.S. citizens of foreign medical schools must receive ECFMG certification.

Exception: Graduates of Canadian medical schools are exempt from certification, however, they still require visa sponsorship from ECFMG.

  • Sponsorship
    UT Southwestern policy requires ECFMG-sponsorship of a J-1 visa for all foreign medical schools graduates who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. After you have been accepted into a clinical residency or fellowship program at UT Southwestern, the International Affairs Office will help you obtain the DS-2019 from ECFMG. To find information on requirements for visa sponsorship, visit ECFMG. Please submit all items to the International Affairs Office – do not submit your application directly to ECFMG.
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UT Southwestern does not generally sponsor students under the J-1 visa category. Please see the F-1 visas section for student information or contact the International Affairs Office if you believe your case merits an exception.

Clinical Observers

Individuals who wish to observe clinical activities at UT Southwestern Medical Center are limited to a three-month stay. 

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