How to Get ECFMG Certified

How to Get ECFMG Certified

International Medical Graduate (IMG)

An international medical graduate (IMG) is defined by The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), as a physician who received his/her basic medical degree or qualifications from a medical school located outside the United States and Canada. The student’s citizenship is irrelevant, the location of the medical school attended is what determines if a student is considered an IMG. Therefore, U.S. citizens who graduated from medical schools outside the United States and Canada are considered IMGs. Similarly, non-U.S citizens who graduated from medical schools in the United States and Canada are not IMGs.


ECFMG Certification

ECFMG Certification assesses the qualifications of IMGs entering the U.S. healthcare system. IMGs are required to:

  • Enter residency or fellowship programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)
  • Take Step 3 of the three-step United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
  • Obtain an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States
  • J-1 Visa sponsorship

Current Application Fee: $75 USD

The Standard ECFMG Certificate includes:

      1. The name of the applicant
      2. The Certificate number
      3. The dates that the examination requirements were met
      4. The date that the certificate was issued


Requirements for ECFMG Certification:

  • ECFMG Certification Application Completion
  • Passing performance on USMLE Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and Step 2 Clinical Skills
  • Primary-source verification of medical education credentials
    • Completion of at least four academic years of a medical school curriculum
    • Medical school, graduation year must be listed in International Medical Education Directory (IMED) See
    • Documented completion of all requirements and receipt of final medical diploma
    • Primary source verification of medical diploma and transcript by ECFMG

ECFMG policy requires that international medical students/graduates pass the USMLE Steps and Step Components required for ECFMG Certification within a 7-year period (begins on the exam date of the first Step or Step Component passed and ends exactly seven years from that exam date). In other words, once a student passes a Step or Step Component, the student will have seven years to pass all of the other Step(s) or Step Component(s) required for ECFMG Certification.

If all required Steps and Step Components are not completed with a passing grade within a maximum of seven years, the earliest USMLE passing performance will no longer be valid for ECFMG Certification. ECFMG does not provide notifications of upcoming deadlines to meet, nor will they notify a student if passing performances become invalid for ECFMG Certification.

Should a Step or Step Component passing performance become invalid for ECFMG Certification, the student may request an exception to retake the exam. The USMLE program limits to 6 as the total number of times an examinee can take the same Step or Step Component.


Certification Process

The certification process begins with a request for a USMLE/ECFMG Identification Number, through ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA). Once ECFMG assigns a number, it must be included in all communications thereafter, applications, medical education credentials, request forms, and payments sent to ECFMG. It is also required to use ECFMG’s on-line services.

As part of the ECFMG Certification application, the student will be asked to confirm the name, date of birth, and gender in the ECFMG record. Instructions for how to correct this information will be provided at the time of application, should adjustments need to be made. Medical school students, will be asked to confirm official enrollment in a medical school located outside the United States and Canada. The school must be listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools (World Directory) in order to meet eligibility requirements. In addition, the “Graduation Year” in the ECFMG note found on the Sponsor Notes tab of the medical school’s World Directory listing should indicate “Current.”

Medical school graduates, will be asked to confirm that they graduated from a medical school located outside the United States and Canada. The school must be listed in the World Directory in order to meet eligibility requirements. Graduation year must be included in the ECFMG note on the Sponsor Notes tab for the school’s World Directory listing. The World Directory at can be accessed to confirm meeting these requirements.

The ECFMG Certification application requires confirmation of an understanding of the purpose of ECFMG Certification and the release of certain legal claims.

The information submitted in the ECFMG Certification application will become a part of the student’s permanent ECFMG record. Once submitted to ECFMG, the Application typically becomes valid immediately, allowing the student/graduate to apply for examination. It remains valid throughout the certification process and cannot be changed. A notification will be sent to the e-mail address on ECFMG record confirming receipt of the Application.

If the Application for ECFMG Certification was submitted as a student, there’s no need to submit another one when graduate status is attained.


Certification Verification Service (CVS)
ECFMG’s Certification Verification Service (CVS) provides primary source confirmation of an IMG’s ECFMG certification status to residency programs, state medical boards and other organizations, such as hospitals and HMOs.

CVS Online handles web-based requests for confirmation of ECFMG Certification status. Confirmations are sent via postal mail. A student/graduate can establish an account their program by sending an e-mail to


Access the following links for more information: