Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match
Pathway 1: Already Licensed to Practice Medicine in Another Country
Who Should Apply
Pathway 1 is intended for applicants who currently hold or have recently held a license/registration to practice medicine and/or participate in postgraduate medical education. Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements for Pathway 1 must apply to Pathway 1.
Please note: Applicants who have a passing performance on USMLE Step 2 CS that is valid for ECFMG Certification and/or are certified by ECFMG are ineligible for the pathways. These individuals do not need to pursue the pathways to meet the requirements for ECFMG Certification or to participate in the 2021 Match.
- Applicant has held a license/registration to practice medicine and/or participate in postgraduate medical education in any country at any time on or after January 1, 2015.
- Provisional or training licensure/registration for the purpose of participating in postgraduate clinical training meets the requirements for this pathway.
- The license does not need to permit unsupervised practice.
- Provisional or training licensure/registration for the purpose of participating in pregraduate clinical training does not meet the requirements for this pathway.
- The date of initial licensure/registration may be prior to January 1, 2015, but the license/registration still must have been valid on or after January 1, 2015.
- The license/registration does not need to be currently valid.
- The license or registration has not been subject to disciplinary action.
In addition to the requirements listed above, the applicant must meet the requirements in Eligibility for All Pathways and English Language Proficiency Assessment, as well as all other eligibility requirements for ECFMG Certification.
You can apply using the Application for Pathways for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match.
The deadline for submission of a pathways application was December 31, 2020. Please be advised that due to the time required to process applications, if your application is submitted after December 31, 2020, ECFMG may be unable to determine the outcome of your pathways application in time for you to participate in the 2021 Match.
For deadlines related to confirming your registration/licensure, see Application Instructions below.
In order for you to participate in the 2021 Match, ECFMG must determine the outcome of your pathway application; determine your overall eligibility for the 2021 Match, including verifying your passing performance on Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®); then report your eligibility status to the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) by the NRMP Rank Order List Certification deadline. ECFMG will not determine the outcome of your pathway application until all required supporting documentation and/or verification(s) have been received. Therefore, the time needed to complete the processing of your application is contingent upon receipt of all supporting documentation and verifications. Please plan the timing of your application accordingly.
Once you begin the application, you will have five days to complete and submit it. If the application is not submitted within five days, it will be deleted, and you will need to begin a new application if you wish to apply to a pathway.
To begin the application, you will need to log in with your USMLE/ECFMG ID and ECFMG On-line Services password.
After you log in, the application will indicate whether you meet the eligibility requirements that pertain to all pathways. If you meet these general eligibility requirements, you will proceed to questions regarding your eligibility for the specific pathways, beginning with Pathway 1.
To determine if you are eligible for Pathway 1, you will be asked whether you currently hold a license/registration to practice medicine and/or participate in postgraduate medical education in any country. If you do not currently hold a license/registration and your answer is “No,” you will then be asked whether you have held a license/registration to practice medicine and/or participate in postgraduate medical education at any time on or after January 1, 2015.
If you answer “Yes” to either question, you will be required to apply to Pathway 1 and provide details on all authorities with which you have been licensed/registered to practice medicine and/or participate in postgraduate medical education since January 1, 2015.
For each license/registration, you will be asked to provide the following:
- Country in which you are/were licensed/registered
- Name of the authority with which you are/were licensed/registered
- Date on which you were initially licensed/registered
- Whether your license/registration is currently valid
- Date on which your license/registration expired, if applicable
- Whether the license/registration has been subject to disciplinary action
As demonstration of your licensure/registration, you will be required to provide appropriate documentation for each license/registration from the authority that issued it. To demonstrate that you meet this requirement, you must do one of the following:
- Preferred Method: Request that the authority send a Certificate or Letter of Good Standing/Current Professional Status, or equivalent documentation, directly to ECFMG.
- We recommend that you submit your request as soon as possible. You do not need to wait until you apply to a pathway to submit your request to the authority.
- Please direct the authority to send the documentation to email@example.com. Please note that this e-mail address is for regulatory authorities only; e-mail messages received at this address from applicants will not receive a response. The Certificate or Letter of Good Standing/Current Professional Status, or equivalent documentation, must be received by ECFMG directly from the issuing authority no later than January 31, 2021.
- Obtain a Certificate or Letter of Good Standing/Current Professional Status, or equivalent documentation, and upload it with your pathway application.
- The document must have been issued within 90 days of the date you submit your pathway application.
- ECFMG will primary-source verify this document. Please note that this may delay your application. The verification must be received by ECFMG directly from the issuing authority no later than January 31, 2021. You are strongly urged to have the authority send this documentation directly to ECFMG.
- Not Recommended Unless You Cannot Use A or B: If the medical regulatory authority will not send the Certificate or Letter of Good Standing/Current Professional Status directly to ECFMG (A) or provide it to you so that you can upload it during the application process (B), you may upload a copy of your license/registration with your pathway application and ECFMG will attempt to obtain this information on your behalf.
- ECFMG will primary-source verify the documentation and request that the issuing authority provide information regarding your history of disciplinary action. This may delay your application. The verification and information regarding your history of disciplinary action must be received by ECFMG directly from the issuing authority no later than January 31, 2021. You are strongly urged to refer to your regulatory authority’s process for reporting on good standing/professional status.
If you select B or C above, you will be able to upload the documentation, along with an English translation if the documentation is not in English.
After you have provided information about your licensure/registration history and documentation, you will be required to provide information on your English Language Proficiency Assessment. (Note: You do not need to take and pass the English language proficiency assessment before submitting the on-line pathways application.) Following that, you will be asked to provide payment and submit your application to ECFMG.
Once your application is received, ECFMG will evaluate it. A case manager will contact you if there are any issues with your application or if we require additional information.
Important Information on Documentation Submitted in Support of Your Application
- Primary-source verification. ECFMG will verify the authenticity of any document that you provide directly with the authority that issued the document. ECFMG also may verify with the issuing authority any documents submitted on your behalf.
- If the authority charges a fee for verification, payment of the fee is your responsibility.
- Your pathway application cannot be approved until verification is received and accepted by ECFMG.
- Documents not in English. Any document submitted to ECFMG that is not in English must be accompanied by an English translation that meets ECFMG’s translation requirements. ECFMG strongly encourages you to obtain translations from its recommended translation service, Straker Translations. See Translation Service for more information. If a document submitted on your behalf is not in English, ECFMG will have the document translated and will charge your financial account for this service. Fees charged by Straker Translations vary depending on the source language and number of pages in the document.
- The name on your document. If the name on your document does not match the name in your ECFMG record, ECFMG may contact you to request documentation to confirm your name as it appears on your document.
Fees and Payment
The fee for applying to a pathway is $900. Full payment is due when you submit your application.
You must use a Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express credit card with a security code; credit available in your ECFMG Financial Account cannot be used to pay for a pathway application.
Fees related to your application are not refundable. If you submit a pathway application and ECFMG determines that you are ineligible for the pathway or denies your request for exception, your application will be rejected and the fee will not be refunded. In addition, if ECFMG does not receive all required documentation in support of your application, as well as any required verifications of submitted documentation from the issuing authority, your application will not be complete, and the application fee will not be refunded.
Application Processing Time
Once your application has been submitted, you can use the on-line Application for Pathways for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match to check the status of your application. The following guidelines may be helpful:
- Please allow five business days after submission of your application for a case manager to begin reviewing your application.
- If any documentation is required for your pathway application, such as a Certificate/Letter of Good Standing or an Attestation from your medical school, please allow five business days for the submitted document to be added to your previously submitted application.
- OET Medicine scores are provided to ECFMG five business days after they have been released to you. Please allow three business days after receipt by ECFMG for your results to be added to your previously submitted application.
- Once your eligibility review has been completed, ECFMG will conduct a final review of your application. Please allow five business days for this final review.
The time needed to complete the processing of your application is contingent upon receipt of all supporting documentation and verifications.
The preceding information is current as of January 14, 2021 and is subject to change. Please visit the ECFMG website frequently for updates regarding these requirements.