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Statement of Need Program for Medical Graduates Pursuing Postgraduate Medical Training in the United States 2014

Statements of Need are issued by Health Canada, on behalf of provincial and territorial ministries of health, to medical graduates to assist them to obtain a J-1 Visa to enter the United States to pursue postgraduate medical training.

A Statement of Need is one of a number of requirements of the Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program (EVSP), Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), that must be met before a J-1 Visa can be issued.

Below you will find a description of the program as well as instructions to apply for a Statement of Need.


Who issues Statements of Need in Canada?

Health Canada issues Statements of Need, on behalf of Canadian provincial and territorial ministries and departments of health, to medical graduates to assist them to obtain a J-1 Visa to enter the United States for the purpose of participation in graduate medical training.

What is a J-1 Visa?

When foreign national physicians wish to pursue postgraduate medical training in the United States, they must obtain an appropriate visa that permits entry to the United States to undertake clinical training activities. The designated visa for foreign national physicians is the J-1 Visa, a temporary non-immigrant visa reserved for participants in the Next link will take you to another Web site Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program, Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

How do I apply for a J-1 Visa?

All foreign national physicians must apply to the Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program, Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), to obtain the J-1 Visa. To obtain the J-1 Visa, foreign national physicians must, among other requirements, obtain a Statement of Need. The Statement of Need is one of many requirements of the ECFMG that must be met before a J-1 Visa can be issued.

What is a Statement of Need?

A Statement of Need is a form letter issued by Health Canada to medical graduates to assist them to obtain a J-1 Visa to enter the United States to pursue postgraduate medical training in the United States.  Statements of Need confirm that certain qualified medical practitioners are needed in Canada and that the medical graduates who are pursuing postgraduate medical education in the United States sincerely intend to return to Canada and practice medicine in the field of medicine in which they will receive the training.  Applicants are expected to pursue training that is needed in Canada.  Applicants are expected to pursue medical training which is recognized by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, or the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and Canadian medical regulatory authorities, and which will lead to specialty certification and medical licensure in a province or territory.

Who is eligible for a Statement of Need?

Applicants must be Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada.

How do I apply for a Statement of Need?

To apply for a Statement of Need, applicants must complete an application form and provide a number of documents to Health Canada.  The specific requirements depend on the profile of the applicant and the type of medical training being sought in the United States. The requirements for obtaining a Statement of Need from Health Canada are subject to change as they are reviewed annually by provincial and territorial ministries and departments of health.

What category should I use to apply for a Statement of Need?

To find out how to apply for a Statement of Need, please select the category that best describes you.

Category A
Medical graduate currently enrolled in a Canadian specialty or subspecialty residency training program who wishes to pursue a fellowship.
Category A/ST(Short Term)
Medical graduate currently enrolled in a Canadian specialty or subspecialty residency training program who wishes to pursue a Short-Term Rotation or Elective training program (less than 6 months) in the same specialty.
Category B
Final year medical student currently enrolled in any medical school, or a medical graduate of any medical school, who has not yet completed a medical specialty training program in Canada or the United States who wishes to pursue medical specialty and/or subspecialty training.
Category C
Physician specialist licensed in Canada who wishes to pursue postgraduate training in a:
  1. fellowship in the same field of practice, or
  2. medical specialty and/or subspecialty training in a different field of practice.

If your circumstances are not described above or you have questions about determining your category, please see the additional information and descriptions of applicant categories or contact the Program Administrator using the following email address: j1visa@hc-sc.gc.ca.

Where do I submit my application?

Please submit all required documents to the Program Administrator, Health Canada.  It is your responsibility to ensure all required documents are submitted.  Complete packages are recommended and email is preferred. Certified and notarized documents cannot be submitted by facsimile.

Please submit your application by one of the following methods. 

  1. email (preferred)
  2. courier
  3. regular mail
  4. facsimile (except notarized documents)
  • Email Address:
  • Address for Mail and Courier:
    • Program Administrator
      Statement of Need / J-1 Visa Program
      Health Human Resources Policy Division
      Strategic Policy Branch
      Health Canada
      Jeanne Mance Building, Address Locator 1904A
      200 Eglantine Driveway
      Tunney's Pasture, Ottawa Ontario, K1A 0K9
      Telephone: 613 952 1912
  • Facsimile Address:
    • Program Administrator
      Statement of Need / J-1 Visa Program
      Health Human Resources Policy Division
      Facsimile: 613 948 8081

When should I submit my application?

Applications can be submitted starting in January each year.

Post residency fellowships
Applications for a Statement of Need in support of fellowship (professional development) training programs that commence in July or August will be processed starting in January.
Primary specialties
Applications for a Statement of Need in support of primary specialty training programs will be processed after the NRMP Match in March.
Subspecialties
Applications for a Statement of Need in support of subspecialty training programs that commence in July will be processed starting in January.
Additional training
Applications for a Statement of Need in support of additional training in one- year ACGME-accredited programs in order to meet RCPSC requirements should be submitted in early January.

How long will it take to process my application?

Please allow 30 working days for processing. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.  The exception is an application for a Statement of Need when the proposed training is located in California; these will be processed on a priority basis.

Where does Health Canada send the Statement of Need?

The Statement of Need is delivered directly to the Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program, ECFMG in Philadelphia and a copy is sent by Canada Post to the applicant.

I already have a Statement of Need - what do I do if I wish to change my specialty, change my location or undertake additional training?

Applicants who wish to change the specialty, change the location of the training program (same specialty), or undertake additional postgraduate medical training in the United States must apply to Health Canada for a new Statement of Need.

To apply for a new Statement of Need, applicants must apply under the same category used in their initial application.  Proof of Canadian Citizenship need not be resubmitted.  Proof of unexpired Permanent Resident Card is required for a subsequent Statement of Need. 

Where can I get information on medical licensure in a province or territory in Canada?

Eligibility for licensure to practice medicine in Canada is determined by provincial and territorial medical regulatory authorities.

Information on medical licensure should be obtained from the Next link will take you to another Web site medical regulatory authority in the province or territory where you wish to practice.

Information on postgraduate medical education standards in Canada and on specialty certification is available from the Next link will take you to another Web site Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the Next link will take you to another Web site College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Essential Resources for Medical Licensure and Specialty Certification in Canada. Please visit this page for links to these and other relevant organizations in Canada and the United States. 

How can I get help with finding employment in Canada?

Health Canada does not provide direct assistance to physicians with the process of medical licensure or with seeking employment.

Information on employment can be obtained from physician recruitment agencies across Canada. Applicants are strongly encouraged to engage with individuals or entities involved in recruitment of physicians within the province or territory where they intend to practice medicine.

What is the consent form for recruitment purposes?

From time to time, Health Canada provides a list of names of physicians who have received a Statement of Need to ministries of health and physician recruiters.  If you would like to be included in this list, you must sign the .pdf version of the form entitled Consent to the Disclosure of Personal Information to Provincial and Territorial Governments for Recruitment Purposes.

By signing the consent form, the applicant permits Health Canada to disclose personal contact information to provincial and territorial ministries of health and to physician recruitment agencies. The consent form may be signed at the time of application for a Statement of Need or at any time during the training in the United States. Signing the consent form is optional and does not affect the issue of a Statement of Need.

What if I already have J-1 Visa sponsorship with another country?

Requests for review of circumstances from physicians who already have or had J-1 Visa sponsorship with support from another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis by provincial and territorial ministries and departments of health.

Who do I contact for additional information?

If you have questions about determining your category or require additional information about applying for a Statement of Need, please contact the Program Administrator using the following email address: j1visa@hc-sc.gc.ca.

You may also wish to contact a Statement of Need representative in a provincial or territorial ministry or department of health.

Other Frequently Asked Questions about Obtaining a Statement of Need

Why must I contact the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) - Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program?

You must contact the Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program (EVSP) of the ECFMG so you can apply for the J-1 Visa. The EVSP issues the J-1 Visa, not Health Canada. The Statement of Need issued by Health Canada is only one document required by the EVSP to complete your J-1 Visa application.

What is the fee for obtaining a Statement of Need?

There is no fee.

Who can be a witness to my signature on my application form?

Any adult can sign as your witness.

How will I know my application has been received?

You will be notified by email once we have received your application.

How will I know if my application is complete or incomplete?

You will be notified by email if there are errors or deficiencies that must be corrected.  You will be notified by email when the Statement of Need has been issued and sent the ECFMG.

Can my Statement of Need be sent to me or my training program by courier?

No, the Program Administrator will deliver your Statement of Need directly to the ECFMG.  A copy will be mailed to you by regular mail to your permanent Canadian address.

What is the two year home country presence requirement?

For information on this, please contact the ECFMG's Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program, the United States Department of State or an American immigration attorney.

How do I prepare a notarized or certified document?

Please contact one of the following professionals to notarize / certify your documents:

  • Notary Public
  • Lawyer, Attorney-at-Law
  • Commissioner of Oaths
  • Designated official at a Canadian Embassy or Consulate or a designated official at an American or British Embassy or Consulate or High Commission
  • Medical Doctor or Dentist currently licensed in Canada
  • Police officer in Canada: municipal, provincial, or federal (RCMP)
  • Justice of the Peace, Judge, Magistrate or Mayor, in Canada
  • Professional accountant who is a member of the Association of Practicing Accountants (APA) (United Kingdom); or one of the following professionals:  Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified General Accountant (CGA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Public Accountant (PA), Registered Public Accountant (RPA)
  • Member of Parliament (MP); Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP)(Ontario); Member of National Assembly (MNA)(Quebec); Member of House of Assembly (MHA) (Newfoundland & Labrador); Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA)(all other provinces and territories)
  • Funeral director in Canada
  • Pharmacist in Canada
  • Veterinarian in Canada
  • Professional Engineer in Canada
  • General Manager of a Canadian financial institution or bank (notary public or commissioner of oaths)
  • Municipal Clerk at a City Hall in Canada
  • Minister of religion in Canada
  • Postmaster in Canada
  • Social Worker: Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), Master of Social Work (MSW), Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) in Canada

This person cannot be a family member.  Most professionals will prepare the document according to their professional practice.  Otherwise, this person must see the original document, make a photocopy of the original document, compare the original document to the photocopy, and must print the following on the photocopy: "I certify this to be a true copy of the original document".  This person must write on the photocopy the name of the original document, the date of certification, his or her name, and his or her official position or title.  This person must also sign the photocopy.  Applicants should not sign anywhere on the photocopy of the document.