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Vietnamese Medical Graduate


Medical schools outside the United States and Canada vary in educational standards, curriculum, and evaluation methods. The purpose of ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) Certification is to assess the readiness of international medical graduates to enter U.S. residency and fellowship programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

If you are an international medical graduate and wish to enter an ACGME-accredited residency or fellowship program in the United States, you must be certified by ECFMG before you can enter the program. You must also be certified by ECFMG if you wish to take Step 3 of the three-step United States Medical Licensing Examination™ (USMLE™). ECFMG Certification is required to obtain an unrestricted license to practice medicine.

To be certified by ECFMG, you must pass a series of exams; you must also provide ECFMG with copies of your medical education credentials, which ECFMG will verify directly with your medical school. The certification process begins when you submit your first application for examination to ECFMG. At this time, ECFMG will assign you an identification number that you will use throughout the certification process.

The time required to complete the certification process is different for each applicant. There is no minimum time period required for ECFMG Certification. You may apply for the required exams as soon as you are eligible. All of the exams required for ECFMG Certification are offered regularly throughout the year.

Both medical school students and graduates may begin the certification process. However, since one of the requirements for ECFMG Certification is that your medical diploma be independently verified by your medical school to ECFMG, you cannot complete the certification process until you graduate and receive your diploma. The time required for some aspects of the certification process, such as the time required by your medical school to verify your medical diploma, are beyond the control of ECFMG.

Vietnamese Medical Graduate


There are several types of VISA to the US. In this program, we're explaining the ones that related to the programs. They are B-1, J-1/J-2, and H-1/H-4. This is a summary of VISA process.

1. B-1 VISA

This is the visa that you will generally need to obtain when planning to come to the United States to take the CSA (Clinical Skills), and later, for residency interviews. The B-1 is the nonimmigrant visa for persons who intend to visit the United States temporarily for business. In your case, the “business” will be taking the CSA or appearing for residency interviews. This information is based on the official Web page of the U.S. Department of State.

Qualifying for VISA
Applicants for visitor visas to the United States must show that they qualify under provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The presumption is that every visa applicant is an intending immigrant. Therefore, applicants for visas must overcome this presumption by demonstrating that:
1. The purpose of their trip is to enter the United States for business.In your case, you will have to present the documentation of your registration for the CSA or the interview call letters.
2. They plan to remain for a specific limited period.
3. They have a residence outside the United States as well as other binding obligations that will ensure their return abroad at the conclusion of the visit. The binding obligations that ensure your return to your country could be in the form of strong family ties, material possessions, or your employment with a well-respected institution in your country.

Applying for a Visitor Visa
Applicants for visitor visas should apply at the American embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any United States consulate office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.

Required Documentation
1. An application Form DS-156, completed and signed. Blank forms are available without charge at all U.S. consular offices.
2. A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least 6 months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the United States. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application.
3. Two photographs 1 and 1/2 inches square (37 37 mm) for each applicant, showing full face, without head covering, against a light background. A person whose passport contains a previously issued visitor visa should inquire about special expedited procedures available at most consular offices for issuance of a new visitor visa.

2. J-1/J-2 VISA

The J-1 is the visa used by IMGs to be able to perform service as a member of the medical profession or to receive graduate medical education (residency) in the United States. Under the provision of Public Law 94-484, certain alien physicians are required to pass parts 1 and 2 of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) or an equivalent examination before they can perform services as members of the medical profession. The Secretary of Health and Human Services has recognized USMLE steps 1 and 2 and the FMGEMS as the equivalent of NBME 1 and 2. The J visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the U.S. Information Agency (USIA). USIA has designated ECFMG to sponsor foreign national physicians as J-1 exchange visitors for participation in accredited programs of graduate medical education in the United States. The objectives of this program are to enhance international exchange in the field of medicine and promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those in other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.

Basic Requirements for a J-1 Visa
First, the applicant should have passed USMLE 1 and 2. Second, the applicant should have a valid standard ECFMG certificate. The ECFMG certificate is valid for 2 years after you have passed USMLE 1 and 2 and the ECFMG. Once you enter an accredited residency program, you are eligible to have your certificate permanently validated. If you do not enter a residency program right after taking the exams, keep the expiration date on your certificate in mind so that you do not find yourself with a residency prospect and no valid ECFMG certificate. Third, the applicant should hold a contract or letter of offer for a position in the accredited program. Fourth, the applicant should provide a letter from the ministry of health in the country of nationality or of last legal residence. This is a written assurance by the home country that they need specialists in the area in which the exchange visitor will receive training in the United States. ECFMG provides you with the format of the letter. The organization insists on the exact language as stated in the form letter. You will have to ask the office of the ministry of health in your country about the office that deals with these letters. The same office also publishes the list of specializations that your country needs. This list differs for different countries, and you will have to see if the field of your training is included in that list. However, this requirement does not seem to be a big problem for people who want to apply for J-1 visa.

After you sign a contract for residency with a program, you will be sent an application package. Once the application process is complete, you will receive an IAP-66 form from your residency program. You then need to go to the embassy in your country to apply for the visa. The application process is just like that for a tourist visa. You have to fill out form DS-156, which can be obtained at any U.S. consulate free of charge or downloaded from the Internet at HERE. This simple form can be filled out on the day of your visit to the embassy. You need to bring your IAP-66 form, a valid passport, a photograph, a nonrefundable fee, and a visa fee if applicable. Once again, you have to demonstrate that you have ties that will attract you back to your country.

3. H-1/H-4 VISA

The H-1 visa is called a temporary worker visa. As it applies to doctors, it means that you should have a residency position in hand when you apply. Your employer also must complete some paperwork. For this visa, you do not have to get any papers from ECFMG, unlike the J-1 visa. To be eligible for this visa, you must have cleared USMLE 3. This test should be taken in almost all situations. The H-1 is a good visa if you plan to stay in the United States. There is no obligation for an H-1 resident to return to the country of last legal residence, unlike the J-1. Even while you are doing a residency on this visa, you can try to apply for a green card. Most IMGs are unaware of such possibilities.
You must have passed USMLE step 3 before you can apply for an H-1 visa for residency training. There is a fixed quota for H-1 visas every year; this quota is decided for all professionals together. H-1 petitions are granted on merit, but the doors are closed once the quota is exhausted. A new law, AC21 (Oct. 2000), states that applicants hired by institutions of higher education, related or affiliated nonprofit entity, or nonprofit organization, will be exempt from the H-1B cap. This is great news, as many residency programs can fall in one of these stated categories. There is a limit on the total period (6 years) you can stay in the United States on an H-1 visa.

Required Documentation
    1. An application form DS-156, completed and signed.
    2. A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least 6 months beyond the applicant's intended period
        of stay. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application.
    3. A 1 and 1/2 inch square (37 37 mm) photograph for each applicant, showing the full face against a light background.
    4. A notice of approval, Form I-797. If you receive this approval while you are in the United States, you will have to go to Mexico or 

        Canada to get the visa stamped on your passport. But as long as you have a valid I-797, you have legal status in the United States.


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