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J1 visa for fellowship

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On 8/3/2023 at 10:06 PM, bearded frog said:

Visas are independent of USMLE. Your fellowship may or may not require the USMLE, but the program just has to approve your visa.

I don't know if you're speaking from personal experience, but if you are aiming to get a H1B you most likely need your USMLEs. As in anyone I know who went on fellowship with a H1B had to submit their USMLEs scores. If you know how to get the H1B without USMLEs done then please let me know. I don't know anyone who has done it to date. 


J1s don't need USMLEs for sure. Those are pretty easy to get.

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Its a complicated process because you have 3 bodies that you need to satisfy for US fellowships:

1. Visa requirements

2. State medical licensing board requirements

3. Institutional requirements

You need all 3 in order to get the fellowship. 

J1 visas don't require the USMLE, H1Bs don't absolutely require the USMLEs but its best to have them, there are exceptions (which usually require you to meet those exceptions) but best to speak to a good immigration lawyer. O1 visa is an another option for those who do not want to go on a J1, it allows for dual-intent like the H1B, but it usually requires academic productivity, having some level of academic productivity/citations and a good lawyer is usually enough to get an O1. 

Most state medical licensing boards accept LMCC from Canadian physicians, but not all, some require USMLE. 

Most institutions are happy to take fellows on with a J1, but it is an educational visa, which means fellows can't be considered independent. Some institutions want their fellows to have USMLEs, even Canadians because it allows them to appoint their fellows as instructors and allows them to bill and for their fellows to act independently (like a junior attending). As a result, some fellowships will defacto require the USMLE. 

If you think you may do a fellowship and return to Canada, you don't need your USMLEs, most of the types of institutions that take on fellows are located in states that accept LMCC and most institutions are happy to put you on a J1. 

However, if you are considering getting a staff job in the US at some point or you want to maximize your options, its generally safer to write your USMLEs. However, a lot of people don't and they find a way, so if its too troublesome, just know that it usually works out, but your options may be more limited.


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