Move to USA as a Doctor: Immigration for Doctors in USA

Over the past few years, more and more doctors from India are looking to practice medicine in USA after completing the MBBS or MD, moving abroad is a highly sought after program. To provide medical services in US, or Practice Medicine, one will have to obtain permit.

ECMFG Certification for FMGs:

The doctors who have not taken education are called FMG (Foreign Medical Graduates). All the non-US doctors are regulated by ECMFG (Educational Commission for Medical Graduates). It is an organisation that assess readiness of non-US doctors to enter residency or other medical programs.

To achieve ECMFG certification and proceed ahead with the job application, one will be required:

  1. A Graduate Degree from a medical school listed in Word Directory of Medical School.
  2. Clear USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Exam) Step-1 and Step Step-2. USMLE Step-2 is a set of two exams. Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS. Keep in mind that Step 2 CS is only taken only in USA test centres.
  3. USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK and CS can be taken while the candidate is in medical school. Step 3 is taken after graduation.

Application Process:

The application for the program is done after medical school. Doctors also choose their speciality right out of medical school. The application is an online process done on two websites: Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and the National Residency Matching Programme (NMRP). Both of this have application process available once a year. If a hospital bypass this electronic application process, then only there can be an out of season application window.

Letters of Recommendation:

Letters of recommendation (LOR) are another deciding factor. They are letters from your immediate supervisors at the place you have worked previously. It also helps if the LORs are from an American institution. For that, it is advisable that doctors spent some time in the US as a medical student or clinical observer.

Important Factors:

USMLE Exam fees:

Application Fees:USMLE Step 1 FeesUSMLE Step 2 CK FeesUSMLE Step 2 CS FeesUSMLE Step 3 Fees

As mentioned earlier, the USMLE Step 2 Cs and Step 3 examinations are taken in the USA, therefore flight and accommodation should also be considered. Many candidates in USA take specialised classes to score well in USMLE. A good grade in USMLE means selection at a better place.

While USMLE Exam pattern and testing, along with scores remain the same for both US and FMG candidate, an FMG has to get good grades in order to secure a job at a better place. Good grades in USMLE Step 3 helps a lot in achieving that.

Contacts and Networking:

To secure a good hospital, work own your contacts and networking in the USA. Candidates should do that while they are in supervised medicine, or a medical student in USA.

Consider and decide where you want to practice medicine. If it is a popular hospital or state, you will require higher USMLE scores and good letters of recommendations.

Choose right sponsorship: A J-1 American visa would mean candidate would have to return to the home country for 2 years after the completion of the program. Most people try for an H1B visa, which allows FMG to remain in states. However, H1B visas are hard to secure.


To immigrate to USA as a doctor, you will need a good combination of theory and practical knowledge, good recommendations and contacts, and most important of all, an ECMFG certificate that will allow you to appear for USMLE, and the scores will decide your quality of the stay in USA.

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