If You're Thinking of Applying to
    Medical School in Canada or Offshore
    or applying for medical residency in the U.S.

    Disclaimer: I am not a legal professional, information on this page is
    based on data gathered from other web sites and my personal, as well
    as the experience of others. For specific immigration questions please
    contact an experienced, honest immigration lawyer.

        Some facts prospective Canadian International Medical Graduates should know:

        Since government funding for medical school slots in Canada is restricted, it is more
        difficult to get into medical school in Canada than in other countries. Therefore a lot of
        young Canadians whose life dream is to become a physician have to apply and get
        accepted into medical schools abroad.

        Aside from the problem of funding their education abroad, if they wish to practice in
        Canada they have to get postgraduate training which will be recognized in their own
        country (hard to get in Canada).

        If they want to practice closer to home, residency positions in the U.S. are also much
        harder  for them to obtain, compared to other foreigners (yes the United States is a foreign
        country), because of visa requirements on both the U.S. and Canadian governments'

        Canadians wishing to study medicine in the United States have to get an F1 or student
        visa (for which proof of being able to afford medical education in the United States and
        proof of acceptance into a U.S. medical school is needed).

        Canadian International Medical  students can be admitted on a B1/B2 or business/tourist
        visa when doing clinical clerkships or observerships because the U.S. hospitals aren't
        paying them a salary.

        The F1 and B1 visas are issued at the U.S. port of entry (the school just sends you the
        forms or letters that need to be stamped at the border or port of entry, that is for Canadian
        citizens, if you are a citizen of another country, even if  you are landed you have to
        apply at a U.S. consulate first before presenting yourself to the INS at the border or port
        of entry) while the J1 and H1b visas  have to be applied for at a U.S. consulate in the
        applicants' province or city of residence. (the U.S. consular officer in Toronto made
        me go back to my city of residence when I applied for a J1 visa there because I hadn't
        lived in Toronto for at least six months before applying for that visa, if you are already in
        the U.S., on for example, a B1 visa, that can be changed to an H1b inside the U.S. if you
        get a job offer, the J1 though can only be changed if you get a J1waiver).

        Basically there are only two types of  U.S. visas under which Canadian
        citizen International Medical Graduates can be admitted into the United States for post
        graduate medical training: J1 ( good for the duration of  training or  up to 7 years
        whichever is applicable, however both U. S. and Canadian government requirements have
        to be fulfilled and a pass in the USMLE steps 1 and 2, CSA and TOEFL are needed) and
        H1b (for which only U.S. government requirements have to be fulfilled and a pass in the
        USMLE Steps 1- 3, CSA and TOEFL). There are not too many hospitals that accept
        medical residents for training on H1b visas  because it requires a lot of paperwork
        for the hospitals ( I-9 forms or labor certification to be filed regularly, lawyers to
        shepherd the application through the INS,  etc.) compared to the J1 (they only have to send
        the signed residency contract to their  prospective medical resident and the prospective
        resident can take care of  everything). Residents on H1b visas aren't  usually able to start
        in June because of  the  application process for this type of visa (quota is released on
        October 1st, and although the application can be filed before October, like as soon as
        match results are released or whenever one is offered the residency slot, the effectivity
        date of  the visa can only be backdated to October) plus medical residents have to
        compete with  all the other professionals  (engineers, computer programmers) who enter
        the U.S. on H1b visas. In addition the visa application has to be filed 2-3 months before the
        month the quota got filled up the year before (i.e. if it got filled up by February 1998 for the 1999
        fiscal year you have to apply for it before December 1999 so you can come in under the 2000 quota).

        H1b visas are good for 3 years plus another extension of  3 years then you have to be
        out of the U.S. for at least a year before being able to work in the U.S. on an H1b visa
        again (the requirements for being able to stay on in the U.S. after training are not as
        onerous as for those on the J1 but people usually need money for  the lawyer's fees so a
        lawyer can  guide them through the application process).

        After residency, if the International Medical Graduate came in on a J1 visa, they have to
        return to their country of residence for at least 2 years before being allowed to work in
        the U.S. unless they are able to get a J1 waiver. If they were on an H1b they can apply for
        permanent resident status (the Green Card which hasn't really been green since,
        I think, 1964) in the U.S. before finishing the residency, look for an employer who can
        sponsor them on an H1b visa extension, or be out of  the U.S. for one year before they are
        allowed back in on an H1b again (most people apply for a Green Card before the need for
        an extension or leaving the United States arises).

        The TN or NAFTA visa (through which a lot  of  Canadian nurses are brain
        drained to work in the U.S.) can't be used for medical residency or practising as a doctor
        in the U.S. as this story illustrates.

        This web site says you can practice medicine in the U.S. under the E or investor type of
        visa or other types of visas but they aren't practical for a newly minted medical graduate
        with  C$ 150, 000 in debt.

        Under the Jay treaty of 1792, treaty status natives can cross into the U.S. without visas or
        customs inspections but I don't know if they can study or train there without visas.

        Unsolicited advice: If you can't obtain U.S. citizenship (anybody with proof of U.S.
        descent meaning  proof of a U.S. citizen parent, grandparent or even great great
        grandparent can file for U.S. citizenship), obtain permanent resident status, marry a U.S.
        citizen, have a U.S. citizen or green card holder adopt you, try for an H1b visa since that
        makes it easier to stay in the U.S. after residency. It is easier to fulfill the requirements
        (once you've got a hospital willing to sponsor you on an H1b, which is the hardest thing to
        do) although expenses at the front end are greater  than for a J1 visa (marrying an
        American citizen while on a J1 visa doesn't guarantee an automatic extension of your stay
        in the U.S., so you've got to marry one before applying for a visa).

        This now reads like a U.S. visa advice page but I've researched and made sure I won't
        make the same mistake twice.

        (Thanks to V.I. for his suggestions)

If you're considering Canadian Medical Schools

Links and tips on how to get into medical school in Canada (this site rocks)

Millennium scholarship site

Federal student loans web site as well as links to provincial student loan sites

Ontario return of service program

Before enrolling abroad here's some advice from tthe Canadian Federation of  Medical Students

Bank loans:
* for those  studying in the Caribbean U.S. based financing is available but there must be a U.S. cosigner, Stafford loans are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents



Plus there are Canadian banks (CIBC, MBanx, Royal Bank, etc.)  willing to offer loans to medical students at a  commercial rate

If you are thinking of studying abroad
Here are some CMAJ articles on Canadians medical students abroad

1997 CMAJ article on Canadians studying in the Caribbean.

1997 CMAJ article on how much Caribbean medical education costs and which schools are approved for OSAP.

2000 CMAJ article on Canadians studying in the U.K. and financial and personal costs.

 International Medical Student web sites for Canadians

UK Canadian International Medical Graduate bulletin board
Canadian International Medical student in UK
Canadian International Medical  student in the Caribbean
Canadian International Medical student in the U.S. (somewhat commercial)
A good bulletin board for Caribbean Medical schools (somewhat commercial with some spamming and flaming)
Canadian IMG from the Caribbean (ultimately the only way the Canadian IMG gets to practise medicine in North America is to be a US IMG)

Other links (for U.S. visa information, etc.)

For Canadian International Medical Graduates who wish to train in the U.S.

Health Canada requirements for Government of Canada U.S. J-1 visa sponsorship letter (has anyone else actually gone off and fulfilled all these requirements?). A recent post in the UK - Canadian International Medical Graduate bulletin board states it has become easier to get a a J1 sponsorship letter  for Psych and Anesthesia since last year (1999).

Good resource for U.S. visa news and U.S. visa regulations for International Medical Graduates information on H1b and J1 visa rules, regulations and processing times (commercial, a law firm's site)

This site has a condensed version of which visas physicians and students can apply for to study or train in the U.S. (commercial, a law firm's site)

Association of American International Medical Graduates (again Canadians have something to learn from these Americans)

Addresses for  electives offices of Canadian Medical Schools

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    E-mail me at donalda13@hotmail.com for any articles, your Canadian
                                International Medical Graduate experience, links or information that could
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