Here are the steps that you have to follow when registering for the first time with ECFMG in order to apply for USMLE.
First of all check if your medical school is listed in IMED, if it’s not you should inform your medical school immediately. To check the IMED list go here https://imed.faimer.org/
Before applying, it’s recommended to read the eligibility requirements available in this: ECFMG 2011 Information Booklet – Examination Requirements
1) USMLE ID
The first step ever is to obtain a USMLE Identification Number also called USMLE ID or ECFMG ID this is done by going to this web page
After you enter your information such as name, email, address, etc they will send you an email giving you your ECFMG ID (8 digits number) and a password to access the online services.
Wait one week and if they don’t send you the email (check your junk folder also) then call them +1 (215) 386 5900.
This USMLE ID is yours forever and you should record it in a safe place (not on your Kaplan lecture notes!)
2) IWA application
Before logging in to IWA make sure of the following:
- Your Internet access is live and continuous (electricity or Internet outage may prove disastrous)
- Your printer is ready and has enough papers.
Using your ECFMG ID and password you can log in to IWA and begin the application process. You can do that by going to this page https://iwa2.ecfmg.org
After logging in you will be asked to fill out online forms (be very careful while filling these) and if for any reason you are stumbled upon a question that you don’t know the answer immediately, you can save the application and log out and come back to at a later time. Then you will be asked to print out some forms that you have to fill by hand and then send by mail to ECFMG.
Form 344 is a check list of what documents you have to attach.
Form 345 is medical school release request (basically you are allowing ECFMG to obtain your information from your medical school). Two copies needed of this form.
Form 183 or Form 186 these are forms that let ECFMG make sure that you (your name and a your photo) are in fact existent and that this is your signature and this is your ECFMG ID. These forms may have to be signed by your medical school official and/or by a notary public, for detailed information about these forms please read The Complete Guide to ECFMG Forms
The documents that you will be sending with these forms are:
- Medical school diploma + translated if it is not in English
- Two passport sized photographs
- Some other documents might be needed (like for example if you have transferred credits)
5) Send the forms and documents
Now that you collected and filled all these documents and forms you should send them to ECFMG Philadelphia office (address will be given to you in the forms and during the online application).
6) Wait for confirmation
ECFMG will tell you by email and by mail that they have received your forms and documents then they will send forms to your medical school asking them to verify your medical school credentials and also requesting your final medical school transcript (if you are a graduate) from them.
7) ECFMG to Medical School Forms
These forms you do not have access to it and you are not allowed to send them to your school, The ECFMG will send them.
They will send one copy of your 345 to tell the school that you allowed them to ask about you.
They will also send your Diploma (that you initially sent to them see step 4 above) and they’ll ask the school to authenticate it.
They will also send a form called (Verification of Medical Education) the questions in that form are these:
- what was the requirements before you entered the school
- how many weeks of medical education you completed
- what degree was awarded (if you are a graduate)
- asking to verifying the attached diploma
- dean or other authorized registration officer’s signature, date, and name
- any interruptions or extensions in your medical education
- any disciplinary probation you had or currently have
- any professional misconduct that you have during your school years
- any negative reports about you in the school
- any limitations or special requirements by you
8 ) Medical School to ECFMG
Your medical school would have to respond to these forms and should also send your final medical school transcript (in English, if not you will be asked to pay for the translation fees).
The last two steps may take several months! However, if your school participate in the ECFMG Medical School Web Portal then it may take only few days.
After waiting for steps 7 and 8 above to finish you are now ready to check your status by logging in to OASIS (using your same ECFMG ID and password). The link is this https://secure2.ecfmg.org/emain.asp?app=oasis
When logged in look at the left hand side panel and click on “Medical Education Credentials and Standard ECFMG Certificate” and the status that you should be happy with is this “Medical education credentials received and verified”, any other status means that you’re not done yet.
Once you received that status you can now apply for any step you like using IWA or OASIS.
The fees for the exam has to be paid at this point. Current fee requirements are listed in this web page:
ECFMG | Selected Fees
Note that you are applying for an eligibility period not for exact exam date.
The eligibility periods are three months for all exams except CS it’s 12 months.
11) Scheduling Permit
When you finish applying online you’ll get a scheduling permit with permission confirmation number and exam registration ID that you should print out and take it with you to your exam. (note there is no more orange slips that you have to wait for in the mail as before).
After receiving a confirmation email and mail from ECFMG for your application status (Scheduling Permit) you can then go to Prometric website and choose your exam date (of course within your eligibility period).
These steps are general and there might be significant variations depending on your special circumstances.
Be very careful while filling any form online or offline as they will held you responsible for any little thing you say and it’s very difficult to change thereafter.
Processing times varies with the time of the year and on how fast your medical school responds to ECFMG.