Information for IMGs

Practicing medicine in the U.S.

Four key steps to begin practicing medicine in the U.S.

Physicians who received their medical degree outside the U.S. or Canada must complete the following four steps to practice in the U.S. It is important to understand and follow these steps thoroughly.

  1. ECFMG Certification From the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG): Through its program of certification, the ECFMG assesses the readiness of international medical graduates to enter U.S. residency or fellowship programs. The process for certification is described at
  2. Residency Program Requirements: After ECFMG certification, physicians who wish to practice medicine in the U.S. must complete an accredited residency training program in the U.S. or Canada; this process will take at least three years. The physician will have to complete a residency program regardless of the training they have received overseas. Many medical graduates are placed in residency programs through the National Resident Matching Program,
  3. State licensure: Every medical graduate must apply for a license in the state(s) in which they intend to practice. Generally, you have to complete one to three years of residency or years of practice outside of the U.S. or Canada before applying for a license.
  4. Immigration (for non-U.S. residents): The entry of foreign-born graduates of non-U.S. medical schools to the U.S. is governed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a Bureau of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.



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