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Who regulates physicians trained outside of the United States?

Some physicians receive their medical education outside the United States and Canada. The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) serves the public interest by offering a program of evaluation, examination, and certification for these physicians.

Called international medical graduates (IMGs), these physicians may be citizens of the United States or Canada who chose to be educated elsewhere or who are non-citizens admitted to this country by U.S. immigration authorities.

The ECFMG certificate is required before IMGs can enter accredited residency training programs. ECFMG certification provides assurance to residency programs and to the people of the United States that IMGs have met the minimum standards, including proficiency in English, required to enter such programs.

All IMGs must undertake residency training in the United States before they can obtain a license to practice medicine here, even if they were fully trained, licensed and practicing in another country.

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