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Residency Application Timeline for IMGs


The match process is one of the most exciting and scary couple of months during medical school. You put in all the hard work, now it is time to try and match in the specialty and the program of your dreams. Residency applications can be stressful, especially remembering the timeline and deadlines for the application, especially if you’re one of many international medical graduates (IMGs) applying for US residency. As an IMG, there are a few additional dates and steps you need to do to ensure your best chance of matching.  


Before the ERAS Residency Application for IMGs


The first step on your path to obtaining an American residency is to make sure you are eligible. IMGs must have completed all the requirements in order to obtain their certification from the Educational Commision for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). You must have this certification in order to apply for the Match. Here is a quick fact sheet for the ECFMG certification https://www.ecfmg.org/resources/CertificationFactSheet.pdf


The next step is to obtain a token for the current ERAS season. If you have purchased a token for an ERAS cycle in the past, you still need to purchase a new one for the new ERAS cycle. However, you may apply to as many specialties and programs with the same token during the cycle. Tokens become available about 3 weeks after the new ERAS season begins. IMGs must create an account and go through OASIS in order to obtain their token. There is a nonrefundable $165 fee. 


After you ensure you are eligible for your certification and have purchased your token, you are ready to start applying!


The ERAS Application


The next step in the residency application timeline for IMGs is starting your ERAS application. Applications can be submitted around the 1st week of September. While programs cannot review applications until about 3 weeks after the submission date, submitting your application early not only provides the maximum opportunity to get an interview and have flexibility when scheduling them, but also takes away the burden of worrying about finishing your application. For this reason it is recommended to start working on your personal statement and gathering your recommendations ahead of time.


Other important dates to take note of are supplemental application deadlines. 15 specialties used supplemental applications in the 2022 ERAS cycle. Supplemental applications open around the first of August and close near the end of September. You do not have to submit your full ERAS application by this date, only your supplemental application. 


Residency Interviews and the NMRP Match


After submitting your ERAS application, it’s time to prepare for interviews! Programs will start sending out interviews as early as the last week of September. Residency interviews usually begin at the end of October and can extend through February. It is important to have a means of receiving email notifications and access to quickly log in to ERAS to schedule your interview. Interview spots fill up FAST and even waiting 5 minutes could cause you to be placed on the waitlist or have a scheduling conflict. 


You must register for the match by the end of January to avoid late fees. Your final rank list must be submitted by early March. And as if the process wasn’t stressful enough, there is a gap from the time you submit your rank list to match day. The Monday of Match Week you will get an email that will only notify you if you matched or not. You will not know what program you matched into until the Friday of Match Week. If you have not matched, don’t stress! You can start preparing your application for SOAP and match into one of the many programs that have unfilled positions!

For some more resources on SOAP see the following posts:

To SOAP or Not to SOAP? Is SOAPing Right for You?

Understanding the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP)

How to Prepare Your Application for SOAP


Although going through the matching process is scary, it is one of the most enjoyable times of medical school. You are finally about to start your career as a doctor. Throughout the interview process, you get to meet so many new people and learn how medicine is practiced in different places. Embrace the process and good luck on match day!


For more customized residency matching advice consider enlisting the help of a residency advisor! Schedule a consultation today to learn more about our residency advising program including ERAS help, personal statement and CV drafting and editing, mock interviews and more!

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