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Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates Certification

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Time Limit to Complete USMLE Examination Requirements

The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), a 3-step examination for medical licensure in the United States, has specific recommendations to state medical licensing authorities regarding the time to complete all of the exams.

ECFMG policy requires that applicants pass USMLE steps required for ECFMG Certification within a 7-year period.

Once an applicant passes a USMLE step or step component, the applicant will have 7 years to pass the other USMLE Steps for ECFMG Certification.

If an applicant does not pass all required USMLE steps and step components within a maximum of 7 years, the applicant’s earliest USMLE passing performance will no longer be valid for ECFMG Certification.

Applicants should contact the medical licensing authority of the jurisdiction where they plan to apply for licensure, since licensure requirements vary among jurisdictions.

Find out the latest information and updates to the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)

Find tips on taking the USMLE and test discounts for AMA members.

Medical Education Credential Requirements

For proper credentials, the physician’s medical school and graduation year must be listed in the International Medical Education Directory (IMED).

All international medical graduates (IMGs) must have had at least 4 credit years of medical curriculum at a medical school listed in the IMED.  

Applicants for ECFMG Certification must document the completion of all requirements for, and receipt of, the final medical diploma.

An applicant’s credentials are not considered complete until ECFMG receives verification of the medical diploma and final medical school transcript directly from the medical school.

Standard ECFMG Certificate

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) issues the Standard ECFMG Certificate to applicants who meet all of the examination and medical education credential requirements.

A Standard ECFMG Certificate, which can be used for entry into accredited Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs in the United States, includes:

  • Applicant name
  • Applicant USMLE/ECFMG Identification Number
  • Dates the examination requirements were taken
  • Date the certificate was issued
  • Date(s) through which the passing performance on certain exam(s) remain valid for the purpose of entry into Graduate Medical Education (GME)

Find out more about getting certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

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