Eligibility and Selection of Residents/Fellows Policy


Accredited programs should select residents/fellows from a pool of applicants who meet the eligibility requirements established by the accrediting body (e.g. ACGME, CODA, and AOA) Residency Review Committees, NYS regulations, the University at Buffalo and affiliated hospitals, and the individual program.  


J-1 Visas

J-1 visas are generally accepted for all medical resident/fellow training programs sponsored by the University at Buffalo.

H-1B Visas

H-1B Visas.  H-1B visa holders may be accepted for medical foundational residency training programs and all medical fellowship training programs sponsored by the University at Buffalo. Approved medical foundational residency programs will have a combined, limited number cap of ten H-1B visas, based on institutional resources, and may be offered to exceptional medical residency candidates with approval of the DIO. H-1B visas are subject to USCIS regulations, laws and approvals. A medical resident or fellow may apply for an H-1B visa if they meet the below requirements:

1.      Has passed USMLE steps 1, 2 and 3.

  • If Step 3 is not completed prior to the anticipated start date, program must approve delay with training until H-1B visa is approved by USCIS. If delay not approved by program, resident/fellow must pursue a J-1 Visa  

2.      The training program submits a letter of support for filing the H-1B visa.

The program director must fully support the H-1B Filing. If the program does not allow H-1B visas due to the possibility of delayed start dates, the resident/fellow must pursue a J-1 Visa.

Approved foundational residency programs, for the combined, limited number cap of ten H-1B Visas, as referenced above are:

  1. Internal Medicine- SUNY
  2. Internal Medicine-  Catholic Health
  3. Internal Medicine & Pediatrics Combined
  4. Family Medicine
  5. Pediatrics
  6. Obstetrics & Gynecology-Catholic Health
  7. Surgery 

A resident or fellow may convert from a J-1 to an H-1B Visa if:

  1. Tied to a J-1 Waiver and allowed by immigration status.
  2. The spouse of the resident or fellow is a recipient of a J-1 Waiver
  3. The resident/fellow is a Canadian citizen who is unable to obtain a Statement of Need and plans on living in Canada and working in the United States. This is subject to changes in USCIS regulations, laws and approvals.
  4. The resident/fellow has received a letter of support from the program director supporting the filing of an H-1B Visa and they are joining a fellowship program or one of the approved foundational residency programs; as listed above.

Other Visas: T/N Visas are suitable for dental residents participating in the UB Dental residency training program. F-1, STEM, OPT or extensions are not considered for medical or dental residency training programs. If matched on F-1 OPT, the resident is obligated to change category to J-1 as soon as possible prior to training program start date.


Application Submission

All University at Buffalo (UB)-sponsored residency and fellowship programs must utilize the UB application form, ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service), or PASS application.

Application Review

Throughout the year and during the post-match period in particular, program directors must exercise due diligence when selecting residency/fellowship candidates. This includes compliance with all requirements, regulations, and policies; as noted above.

The following steps are recommended as part of the program director’s routine when selecting residency/fellowship candidates:

  • Scrutinize the CV for gaps in training, short training stints, or serial experiences without program completion.  Ask the candidate for explanations and VERIFY THE INFORMATION by contacting prior programs directly.
  • Investigate whether international medical graduates have satisfied the NYS Department of Education (NYS DOE) 12-week rule, i.e., if more than 12 weeks of medical school curriculum have been spent outside of the country in which the medical school is located, the school must appear on the list of approved schools issued by the NYS DOE.
  • Log onto the Office of Professional Medical Conduct where you can search by name for physicians who may have had prior professional difficulties.
  • Check NRMP Match History to ensure applicant does not have a binding contract with another program or a previous match violation.

Resident/Fellow Transfers

Before accepting a resident/fellow who is transferring from another program, the program director must obtain written or electronic verification of previous educational experiences and a summative, competency-based performance evaluation.  (ACGME Common Program Requirements)


Prior to selection, all prospective residents/fellows should be interviewed by the program director and/or his/her designee(s).   The ACGME and NRMP require that all candidates invited for an interview be given the information available in the following documents at the time s/he is invited for an interview, and sign an acknowledgement that s/he has reviewed these documents:

  1. A copy of the current contract and policies referenced
  2. The Summary of Resident/Fellow Financial Support
  3. The Employment Procedures Policy
  4. Eligibility & Selection of Residents/Fellows Policy
  5. NYS Department of Education (NYS DOE) 12-week rule

Applicants may be provided with a hard copy of these documents, or instructed to access them via the GME website (“Prospective Residents”) at the time that the invitation to interview is extended.  Residency/fellowship programs must maintain a file of the signed acknowledgement. A sample acknowledgement form is attached to this document (Attachment #1).


UB residency programs must participate in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) for first year U.S. Graduates (entering their initial residency program) and abide by the NRMP’s established regulations.

Programs must select from among eligible applicants on the basis of residency/fellowship program-related criteria such as preparedness, ability, aptitude, academic credentials, communication skills, and personal qualities such as motivation and integrity.   

Programs must not discriminate with regard to sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, disability, or any other applicable legally protected status.

Although a medical license is not required for accredited medical residents/fellows in New York State, individual programs may require licensure.  Dental residents are mandated by New York State to obtain a license or limited permit.

Acceptance of a non-US citizen is contingent upon application and approval for and receipt of an appropriate visa and to the visa considerations outlined above.  

The Employment Procedures policy outlines the procedures for resident employment.

Activities Related to Resident/Fellow Transfer

Solicitation of applications from individual trainees currently under contract with another training program is inappropriate.

If a program director is approached about a career change by a resident/fellow enrolled in another training program, s/he should encourage the resident/fellow to also notify his/her program office and the Office of Graduate Medical Education early in the planning stage.  Once s/he is prepared to make a formal application:

  • The resident/fellow must complete an application and sign the Activities Related to Resident/Fellow Transfer Release Form (Attachment #2)
  • The new program director must contact the current resident/fellow’s program director to obtain written or electronic verification of previous educational experiences and a summative competency-based performance evaluation.  (Common Program Requirements III.C.)

Established:  1994
GMEC Approved Date:  January 11, 2022