Who is an International Medical Graduate?

A physician who received a basic medical degree from a medical school located outside the United States and Canada that is not accredited by a U.S. accrediting body, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, or the American Osteopathic Association is considered an International Medical Graduate (IMG).

The location/accreditation of the medical school, not the citizenship of the physician, determines whether the graduate is an IMG. This means that U.S. citizens who graduated from medical schools outside the United States and Canada are considered IMGs. Non-U.S. citizens who graduated from medical schools in the United States and Canada are not considered IMGs.

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates

What is the ECFMG?

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). This organization was founded in 1956 purposely to assess whether IMGs are ready to enter ACGME-accredited residency programs in the United States. Before  you can start a graduate medical education program You must be certified by the ECFMG.

ECFMG Certification Requirements

International medical graduates must complete all of the requirements to be certified. The ECFMG will then issue a Standard ECFMG Certificate.

  1. Application for ECFMG Certification

Submit an application for ECFMG certification before applying to the ECFMG for examination. Consult the World Directory of Medical Schools at (www.wdoms.org) for confirmation that students and graduates from your medical school are eligible.

  1. Examination Requirements

IMGs compulsorily must pass Step 1 and Step 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), the same examinations taken by U.S. and Canadian graduates. Time limits may apply.

  • Medical Science Examination
  • Pass Step 1 of the USMLE
  • Pass Step 2, clinical knowledge, of the USMLE
  • Clinical Skills Examination
  • Pass Step 2, clinical skills, of the USMLE
  1. Medical Education Credential Requirements
  • Physician’s medical school and graduation year are listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools
  • IMGs are awarded credit for at least four credit years of medical school
  • Documentation for completion of all credits and receipt of a final medical diploma
  • Final medical school transcripts

The Certification Process to Start Medical Residency in Canada

The first part of the certification process begins when you put in to ECFMG for a USMLE/ ECFMG identification number. Once you get this number, it can be used it to complete the application for ECFMG certification. Once you submit your application for certification, you may apply for examination.

Medical students and graduates can begin the certification process. Because one of the requirements of certification is the verification of your medical school diploma, the process cannot be completed until you have graduated. You can apply for the required examinations as soon as you meet the examination eligibility requirements. All of the required examinations are offered throughout the year.

The Federation of State Medical Boards publishes state-specific requirements for initial medical licensure, including minimum postgraduate training required, number of attempts at licensing examination allowed, and time limits for completion of licensing examination sequence needed for license eligibility. This is available at www.fsmb.org/policy/public-resources/state_specific(www.fsmb.org).

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