Norms have getting tougher with passing time. New government in USA has already shown that not all who apply for medical residency will get visa.
Let’s get things in chronology.
Complete Medical graduation in a Medical School of your home country which appears in the World Dictionary of Medical School. Each county and city wise medical schools accredited are listed at. Also apply for the MCAT or GRE.
Then comes United States Medical Licensing Examination. step 1 is critically important for the National Residents Matching Program. Passing score in the step 1 is 194, getting the same with step 1 will put you out of the league of matching program because average score of USA medical graduates comes around 229.
Apply for Certification of Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). ECFMG tests IMGs Medical knowledge and ability to speak/understand English. Affirmation from ECFMG makes you eligible for the step 2 tests Namely Step 2 CK & Step 2 CS. Scores of Step 2 CK are also considered for residency program where passing scores are 209.
After completing Step 1 and Step 2, IMGs has to apply for the paid Residency program. Here if you have great scores and Professors recommendation latter one can match with the speciality or critical care. But as IMGs doesn’t have recommendation latter, they rely on their USMLE scores. And to be honest not all IMGs get residency in their preferred program. The residency positions are assigned by National Residency matching program. Many IMGs go unmatched. IMGs only gets matched to the program where they have applied. Also interviews are being conducted for the same. one hard fact for the IMGs is that if they have had not any experience in the Clinical experience, they are highly unlikely to get accepted for the residency program. Here they must go first for the Externship which is not paid, in some you have to pay them.
Now comes Visa part. If you have matched to any program, then visa will be granted to you. Usually J1 and H-1B are common work visas for residents. Here comes IMGs supervised Residency or clerkship in USA in the state they want to practice medical. Time of residency differs state to state for IMGs, usually it is 3 years. (it is 1 year for USA medical graduates).
In the last six month of the Residency program one may apply for USMLE step 3. Minimum score for the final step is 198.
Once IMGs are done with the whole process, there comes licencing stage. It varies from state to state. Generally, one gets licence of the state in which he/she has been trained. Further, one has to undergo fellowship of 2 years for the additional speciality.
There is also another route for the residency is to apply for the Master’s Degree and get F1 visa stamping. Many foreign doctors get full time job for their master’s degree. And if he/she is comfortable for their future then they can make living with the same.