How to get licensed in the US if you are an IMG

June 18, 2012


How to get licensed in the US if you are an IMG

The ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) defines an international medical graduate (IMG) as a physician who received a medical degree or qualification from a medical school outside of the U.S. and Canada.  Whether you are a international medical graduate (IMG) or an american medical graduate (AMG), the medical licensing requirements to practice in the U.S. are very similar.

In order for an IMG or an AMG to obtain a license to practice in the United States, you must obtain, a medical degree, and pass the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination).  IMGs will need to document their medical education credentials with ECFMG and be certified by ECFMG.

ECFMG certification is a requirement for IMGs who wish to enter a residency or fellowship program in the United States  that are accredited by the ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education).  In order to apply for ECFMG certification, an IMG must have passed the USMLE Step 1, Step 2CK and Step 2 CS.  The  Usmle Step 3can be taken once certification has been obtained.  To obtain an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States, IMGs must be certified by the ECFMG.

After an IMG has completed all the necessary steps and received certification, a position can now be obtained in an accredited U.S. or Canadian medical residency program-this process will take at least 3 years.  Many medical graduates can be placed in residency programs through the National Residency Match program,

For more details about the certification process and required retraining visit