International Fellowship Training Programs

To promote and encourage interaction in research and education with ophthalmology institutions throughout the world, the UCLA Stein Eye Institute offers International Ophthalmology Fellowships consisting of one-year programs of study under the supervision of specific Institute faculty. Candidates for these international fellowships are often nominated by institutions outside the United States. Some apply to the program on their own. Fellows participate in the clinical and research activities of ophthalmic subspecialties according to their training needs. When training is completed, the International Fellow is issued a Certificate of Fellowship by the Stein Eye Institute.

The deadline for applications to our international fellowship program, is October 1, 2021 for the 2022-2023 academic year but may vary within Divisions. Please check with the appropriate fellowship program directly.

NOTE: International fellowship applications for the 2024-2025 academic year are now closed.

Fellowship Requirements

Requirements for international fellowships at the Stein Eye Institute:

International fellows are required to have a UCLA-sponsored J-1 visa. A J-1 visa sponsored by the ECFMG program or any other entity does not qualify. Fellows who plan to have clinical activity must also obtain a Section 2111 appointment from the California Medical Board. The International Fellowship in Ophthalmic Pathology is an exception. A Section 2111 appointment allows international fellows to have limited contact (up to 20% of the fellow's time) with patients under the direct supervision of a licensed medical faculty member.

International fellowships at the Stein Eye Institute are generally non-funded. Fellows must bring financial support from their home institution or other sources. UCLA requires that international fellows document the availability of sufficient funds to cover living expenses for one year including lodging, food, medical and repatriation insurance, and travel expenses before it will issue a J-1 visa.

Health Insurance

International fellows must maintain mandatory health insurance while at UCLA. Arrangements for insurance should be made prior to arrival in the United States.

Mandatory Health Insurance Requirement

International fellows need to speak English well enough to communicate independently with patients and staff.

Subspecialty Areas
International ophthalmology fellowships are offered by the Institute in the following subspecialty areas:

Application Process
Each international fellowship program has its own fellowship coordinator. The names of the coordinators are listed at the top of each fellowship description page. Application materials should be sent to a fellowship coordinator, not the program director, unless the two are the same. All correspondence regarding a specific fellowship program should be sent to the coordinator of that program.

The process of applying for an International Fellowship at the Stein Eye Institute involves the completion of three separate applications, one for the fellowship itself, one for a J-1 visa (DS-2019 form) and one for a Section 2111 appointment. Successful application requires meticulous attention to details.

Most international fellowship program directors accept only one international fellow per year. No guarantee regarding the availability of a position can be made until all applications and supporting documents are received. The absolute deadline for receipt of materials is March 1 of the year the international fellowship starts. Because requests for additional information from the Office of the Dean at the UCLA School of Medicine occur frequently, the applicant is urged to submit all application materials by the beginning of December, the year before the fellowship starts to allow adequate response time.

International Fellowship Application

Complete and sign the international fellowship application and return it to the fellowship coordinator. A passport size color photograph must be attached. A copy of the applicant's most recent curriculum vitae (CV) in Microsoft Word must be e-mailed to the fellowship coordinator.

Download International Ophthalmology Application

J-1 Visa Application

UCLA utilizes the "J1 Research Scholar" category of the United States’ Exchange Visitor system.  This is a nonimmigrant visa that is specific for individuals involved in research activities, as you will be.  If you have a spouse or children, they will be eligible for a J-2 Visa.  You will be provided detailed instructions on how to apply for a DS-2019 Form once you receive a formal Offer Letter to join the Stein Eye Institute International Fellowship Program.

Details on the J-1 Visa is available through the Visa & Licensing Office of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine


Medical Board of California Section 2111 Appointment

The California Medical Board Division of Licensing administers Special Programs Sections 2111 for international medical graduates who seek postgraduate in an approved California medical school.  The intent of the Section 2111 program is to provide a clinical experience for an internationally trained physician who will then return to his/her country of origin to provide improved or enhanced medical care. This clinical fellowship training does not meet postgraduate training requirements needed for medical licensure in California.
If the internationally trained physician holds a J1 Research Scholar Visa, the clinical experience must be limited to incidental patient contact (i.e., less than 20% time).

Basic Section 2111 Requirements:

You must be a graduate of a medical school approved by the Medical Board of California:

Medical Schools Recognized by the Medical Board

You must have completed three years of postgraduate clinical training.

You must hold an active license to practice medicine in your home country.  A “Letter of Good Standing” from the ministry of health or medical council of your home country will be required.

You must be legally present in the United States to apply for the 2111 appointment.

All clinical activities must be performed at all times under the direct supervision of a licensed faculty member.

General information and on the Section 2111 appointment is available through the Visa & Licensing Office of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.

You will be provided detailed instructions on how to apply for a Section 2111 appointment once you receive a formal Offer Letter to join the Stein Eye Institute International Fellowship Program.

More Information

Visa and Licensing Information