IMG Resources

Canadian IMG J1 vs. H1b Visa Information

Courtesy of randomguy91 from USMLE forum

– J1 Visa is sponsored only by the ECFMG and not by the program. Program has nothing to do with you obtaining a J1 visa, and all legal fees are paid by applicant.
– To be eligible for the J1 Visa, you must match and you must provide a statement of need from the Canadian Government (Health Canada)
– There is no pre-conditions for you to obtain a Statement of Need from Health Canada such as exams or return of service.
– Only condition of obtaining a J1 visa by the US Government is that you will need to return to your home country for 2 years prior to being able to apply for green card or any other visa.
– J1 Visa maximum length is 6 years

Big Misconception:
– You do NOT need to complete any exams such as MCCEE or MCQE1 to get Statement of Need. However, when returning to Canada to practice, you will need to complete MCCEE, MCQE1/2, and Specialty specific Boards exams.

Difference between H1b and J1:
– You will need to complete Step 3 to be eligible to obtain a H1b while it’s not required for J1
– All legal fees and application fees for H1b fall on the program while J1 it does not
– Limitation in H1b visa per state while J1 there is not limitation about amount of J1 visa given out. Limitation of the J1 is obtaining a Statement of Need by Health Canada instead as there is a numbered limitation.
– H1b visa is 7 years length vs J1 is only 6 years length
– H1b visa has an option to be converted into a green card at a later time without returning home, however J1 visa must return for at least 2 years prior to applying for any status other then visitor. One exception to the limitation in J1 visa is obtaining a waiver, however that’s something that is always changing in requirements and something you will need to research prior to finishing residency.

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