In 2009, the AOA received requests for assistance from several Canadian students completing their predoctoral education at colleges of osteopathic medicine in the US. The students had matched into residency training programs, but had been unable to secure J-1 visas, which would allow them to complete postdoctoral training in the United States before returning to Canada to establish their practices.
The students and the residency training programs into which they have been accepted have encountered difficulties with obtaining J-1 visas, which are handled through the ECFMG – the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. ECFMG is granted the authority from the United States Department of State (DOS) to sponsor J-1 visas for international medical graduates.
In response to our students’ concerns, AOA staff advocated for the students and spoke with the ECFMG staff, who committed to treating international students who graduate from AOA-accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine the same as international graduates of LCME-accredited allopathic medical schools for purposes of sponsoring J-1 visas. The AOA has worked with the ECFMG to prepare information for medical students concerning how to apply for US visas.