Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program - J1 visa

Information for Australian doctors wanting to study in the USA on the Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.

Page last updated: 16 May 2016

The Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program was established by the United States of America (USA) to enhance international exchange in the field of medicine and to promote mutual understanding between the people of the USA and other countries through the interchange of persons, knowledge and skills. The J1 visa is a temporary, non-immigrant visa reserved for participants of the Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program.

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) administers the sponsorship program. Further information on the eligibility requirements and application process can be obtained from the ECFMG website (

A requirement of participation in the program is a 'Statement of Need' from the applicant's country of last legal permanent residence. This statement provides written assurance that the country needs medical practitioners trained in the proposed specialty and/or sub-specialty. It also confirms the applicant practitioner's commitment to return to Australia upon completion of training in the USA.

The Accreditation and Registration Policy Section provides medical practitioners with the 'Statement of Need' on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health. After you have arranged and confirmed your study with an institution in the USA, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Your full name
  • The speciality of study
  • If applicable, the sub-speciality of study
  • The name and address of the university or hospital you will be studying at
  • The dates you start and finish your study
  • A statement confirming that you intend to return to Australia when your studies are complete with the intention of entering the practice of medicine in the speciality in which you are training
  • Documentation providing evidence of the offer of a training placement, including the start and end dates (such as a copy of the letter or email of offer)
  • Proof of whether you currently hold, or have previously held registration as a medical practitioner in Australia.

The information you supply will be used to verify that you will be on a bona fide training placement and should be provided, in writing, to the Accreditation and Registration Policy Section no less than 30 days before you intend to commence your overseas training. It is preferred that you send all documentation and other inquiries via email to:

Alternatively you may send relevant documentation to:

Accreditation and Registration Policy Section (MDP 66)
Department of Health
GPO Box 9848
Canberra ACT 2601

If you change or want to extend your training arrangements, you should contact the ECFMG ( to find out if you will need a new 'Statement of Need' to cover this new study period.

In this section