J1 Visa Process

Effective September 10, 2018:

Health Canada (HC) have implemented changes to for the J1 Visa Category A, specifically for the requirement Statement of Need (SON) Program.  These changes were effective September 10, 2018.

Category A is the requirement for a medical graduate currently enrolled in a Canadian specialty or subspecialty residency training program who wishes to pursue a fellowship in the U.S.

A statement of need (SON) is a requirement of the United States (US) government in order for applicants to obtain a J1 Visa to undertake postgraduate medical training in the US. 

On an ongoing basis HC examines evidence related to physician workforce needs prior to issuing SONs to applicants for a J1 Visa, therefore the following changes to the previous

The following is a list of the changes that will be implemented on September 10 for SONs in the context of all three J1 Visa Categories A:

  • applicants will not be screened against a list of pre-identified specialties, sub-specialties or fellowship training needs; 

  • applicants will no longer require a letter of support from their home province or territory; and

  • applicants will no longer need a letter of support from a Canadian medical school or proof of Canadian medical licensure, since validation of previous medical training is the responsibility of the host institution in the US.

Prior to receiving a SON from HC, applicants will continue to:

  • declare their firm intention to return to Canada following completion of their residency/fellowship to practice in their chosen specialty;

  • adhere to Canadian licensing requirements set by medical regulatory bodies, such as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and provincial-territorial medical certifying bodies; and

  • assume all risks associated with undertaking training outside a Canadian medical school/training institution as it pertains to licensure and employment.
For full details, please go to the website for Health Canada’s “Statement of Need Program for Medical Graduates Pursuing Postgraduate Medical Training in the US” for the process and application for the SON’s program.

 Effective in 2016, Category A/Short-Term training (electives) no longer exist as an option for postgraduate medical trainees seeking short-term elective experience in the U.S. This change was put in place by ECFMG. For more information, visit the ECFMG website