Anybody did psych on J1?

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7+ Year Member
Aug 10, 2013
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Hey, I'm a 4th year US DO student planning on applying to psychiatry. I'm Canadian and unfortunately need a visa. I've heard frequently that H1B is by far the superior visa to J1. I have been looking at programs on FREIDA with H1 filter and being Canadian AND DO in need of H really limits my options (out of 43, I think I can legitimately apply to maybe half??). And I see all these great programs that are offering J instead (150 of them on J vs. 43 on H). How bad is it really to complete psych residency on J especially given psych being one of the most needed field right now in the US? If anybody has done it can you please let me know? I worked my butt off to do well in med school and on boards and this visa thing that's out of my control is really crushing my soul.
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Professional Cat at Large
10+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2009
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tbh in the currently anti-H1b climate, many residents actually have no choice but to go on a J1 visa. For example this year, most residents had to go on J1 visas because they got rid of premium processing for H1b visas, supposedly temporarily, but who knows. Now what you will do, as you have completed your undergraduate medical training in the US (presumably on an F1), you will apply for OPT and complete your intern year on an OPT. Then during your intern year, you will take step 3. Many programs that don't sponsor H1bs for foreigners, make a specific exception if you complete medical school in the US. In addition, it is often negotiable. Where I trained, the "official" position was that they wouldn't sponsor H1s, but there was me and a canadian both on a H1bs. Similarly, for fellowship I was told initially they wouldn't sponsor an H1b visa for me, but they did. So I would not be detered. When you interview with the PD, you bring it up. If they really want you, they will do it. As I mentioned, the whole visa thing is a moving target. It's not the end of the world if you do your residency on a J1 visa (many canadians do), and in face you might not have a choice. But if you do have a choice, and the H1 system continues to exist as it does (there are discussions of change which would mean residents would not be eligible), then you should definitely try to go H1. However, remember that things are often negotiable.
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