IMG Friendly Residency Programs

Residency programs for International Medical Graduates are what students graduated outside of the US search for when it comes to applying for medical residency in the United States. Each medical residency program has certain requirements. For example, some programs accept US citizens only while other programs sponsor J1 or H1 visas, some have cut off for the number of years from graduation, etc. Also, many programs just not friendly for IMGs and never accepted foreign medical graduates in the past. This is why it is so important to have a personalized list of IMG friendly residency programs that match the specific qualifications of an IMG candidate.

What does IMG friendly mean?

Maybe, every IMG pose this question when starts to look for medical residency in the USA. Medical Residency in the United States is really very friendly for US seniors with 94% match rate but when it takes to foreign medical graduates it just around 50%. So, a lot of questions arise: Should I look for the right state? Should I look for the right specialty? What way can I find a program that really accepts IMGs? While it is possible to find a lot of information about IMG friendly states, specialties and IMG friendly residencies pdf files on the internet, it still very confusing and hard to find good information and exact answers. We will try to make it more clear.

IMG friendly states - There are two approaches here. First is when states that have more than some amount of IMGs are named IMG friendly. And the second approach is when states that have more than some certain percent of IMGs are considered IMG friendly. Both approaches are inaccurate. First is not correct, because states with a lot of residency positions but low IMG match rates can be considered IMG friendly. The second is not correct, because states with just, for example, 4 positions and 2 matched IMGs can be considered as IMG friendly. Theoretically, the better approach here is to look at both numbers and percent and to choose states with a high number of positions and not low percent. But with using just this approach, You still miss a lot of opportunities and pay extra ERAS fees. We use IMG friendly state(by number, by percent) factors among many other factors for calculation of a personalized "Friendly score" of a program.

IMG friendly residency specialties - Some specialties are not too competitive and IMGs have more chances to be matched because there are no enough US seniors to fill all the positions. At the same time, some not too competitive specialties have a low amount of positions but have a high percent of IMGs. There is no much sense to recommend applying such specialties for all IMGs and consider such specialties as IMG friendly. Such specialties like Internal Medicine, Family medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Pathology, Psychiatry, Neurology should be considered as IMG friendly. Nevertheless, IMGs with high scores and exceptional background can be matched in any specialty and no need to restrict ourselves in this case.

IMG friendly residency programs - If a program accepts IMGs with a certain level of USMLE exams scores it should be considered as IMG friendly. We mark a program as IMG friendly, only if it had matched IMGs in the past. Far not all residency programs in the United States accept International Medical Graduates. A lot of programs just declare that they can accept IMGs and sponsor visas, but in reality, many of them never had IMGs in the past. Moreover, there is a big difference between IMGs who have US citizenship and those who are not. Even those programs that provide sponsorship for visas may have no matched IMGs who are not US citizens. This is why for IMGs without US citizenship (non-US IMGs) the Match can be even more competitive. Non-US IMG friendly residency programs are what many IMGs looking for when applying for medical residency in the USA. And this approach is correct and we work hard to gather information about matched US and non-US IMGs. By default, we provide a list of all residency programs that satisfy most of the search conditions. So, applicants can contact new programs and programs that just declare that they can accept IMGs to ask about a sense of applying for a program. Some programs accept IMGs with an exceptional background only while others accept a lot of IMGs each year. Therefore, there is a sense to talk about less friendly and more friendly residency programs. The right list of residency programs in the USA for IMG can really reduce costs and increase the chances of the match. Here is the list of programs with the highest percent of IMGs for each specialty. (Fill in search criteria to create lists that have much more sense.)

The list of programs with highest percent of IMGs by specialty

Specialty ID Program State

Internal medicine 1400731072 Saint Joseph Hospital Colorado


1403421247 University of New Mexico New Mexico


Anesthesiology 0403631115 Duke University Hospital North Carolina


Neurology 1801122152 Cleveland Clinic (Florida) Florida


1803921141 University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Oklahoma


Emergency medicine 1100312056 University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson Arizona


Radiology-diagnostic 4205612213 Aurora Health Care Wisconsin


4202521096 Detroit Medical Center/Wayne State University Michigan


Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery 2801621035 University of Chicago Illinios


Family medicine 1203311193 HackensackUMC Mountainside New Jersey


1200513685 Loma Linda University Health Education Consortium (Rural) California


Nuclear medicine 2001221083 Emory University Georgia


Neurological surgery 1603822066 Cleveland Clinic Foundation Ohio


Plastic surgery 3604921103 University of Utah Utah


Surgery 4405521366 Marshall University School of Medicine West Virginia


4402621163 Mayo Clinic College of Medicine (Rochester) Minnesota


Medical genetics and genomics 1303521006 Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York


Psychiatry 4002321289 University of Maryland/Sheppard Pratt Maryland


4005011241 University of Vermont Medical Center Vermont


Pathology-anatomic and clinical 3001721111 Indiana University School of Medicine Indiana


3004621333 University of South Dakota South Dakota


Pediatrics 3204711222 University of Tennessee College of Medicine at Chattanooga Tennessee


3201921086 University of Kansas (Wichita) Kansas


Obstetrics and gynecology 2201431081 University of Hawaii Hawaii


2204121367 Crozer-Chester Medical Center Pennsylvania


Physical medicine and rehabilitation 3404821101 University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Texas


3402011019 University of Louisville Kentucky


IMG Residency Match Rate

NRMP reported the highest number of applicants(40,084), the highest number of positions filled(37,256) and the highest ever match rate(80.8%) according to the 2020 year PGY-1 main residency match. Also, NRMP reported about 61% match rate among IMG applicants who submitted a certified rank order list. The statistics looks very promising but let us calculate in the right way. NRMP clearly suggests not to submit rank order list in case of no interviews conducted. So, in order to calculate the real match rate among IMGs we need to divide the amount of those who matched by the sum of all matched, not matched and not submitted rank order list. Under the right calculations, during the past 4 years the match rate really increased by 7% for US IMGs and by 11% for non-US IMGs. But just around 50% of IMGs were matched what is much better than 40% 5 years ago but still not looks very promising.

IMG residency match rate by year

Top IMG friendly states based on PGY-1 main residency Match data

Top IMG friendly by number

  1. New York (1372 IMGs)
  2. Michigan (521 IMGs)
  3. Florida (517 IMGs)
  4. Pennsylvania (416 IMGs)
  5. New Jersey (387 IMGs)
  6. Texas (357 IMGs)
  7. Illinios (354 IMGs)
  8. California (336 IMGs)
  9. Ohio (297 IMGs)
  10. Connecticut (206 IMGs)
  11. Massachusetts (179 IMGs)
  12. Georgia (176 IMGs)
  13. Maryland (173 IMGs)
  14. Louisiana (149 IMGs)
  15. Missouri (125 IMGs)
Most IMG friendly states by number matched PGY-1

Top IMG friendly by percent

  1. New Jersey (47% IMGs)
  2. Wyoming (44% IMGs)
  3. Arkansas (41% IMGs)
  4. North Dakota (39% IMGs)
  5. Connecticut (37% IMGs)
  6. New York (35% IMGs)
  7. Michigan (32% IMGs)
  8. West Virginia (32% IMGs)
  9. Florida (32% IMGs)
  10. Puerto Rico (31% IMGs)
  11. Maryland (31% IMGs)
  12. Nevada (29% IMGs)
  13. Louisiana (29% IMGs)
  14. Nebraska (27% IMGs)
  15. Georgia (27% IMGs)
Most IMG friendly states by percent matched PGY-1

Top IMG friendly specialties based on PGY-1 main residency Match data

Top IMG friendly specialties by number

  1. Internal medicine (3564 IMGs)
  2. Family medicine (1113 IMGs)
  3. Pediatrics (575 IMGs)
  4. Surgery (400 IMGs)
  5. Pathology-anatomic and clinical (280 IMGs)
  6. Psychiatry (279 IMGs)
  7. Neurology (205 IMGs)
  8. Anesthesiology (139 IMGs)
  9. Emergency medicine (139 IMGs)
  10. Transitional year (102 IMGs)
IMG friendly residency programs specialties by number matched PGY-1

Top IMG friendly specialties by percent

  1. Preventive medicine (66% IMGs)
  2. Pathology-anatomic and clinical (49% IMGs)
  3. Internal medicine (35% IMGs)
  4. Neurology (34% IMGs)
  5. Family medicine (29% IMGs)
  6. Pediatrics (19% IMGs)
  7. Surgery (19% IMGs)
  8. Radiology-diagnostic (18% IMGs)
  9. Psychiatry (16% IMGs)
  10. Child neurology (15% IMGs)
Most IMG friendly specialties by percent matched PGY-1

Frequently Asked questions about medical residency programs list for IMGs?

How many residency programs to apply to?

According to NRMP research, in general, the probability of Match increases with the number of applications. Strong applicants can apply for fewer programs with the same probability of the match. Weak applicants can apply for extra 100 programs, but it will not significantly increase the probability if they already applied to a hundred of the right programs.

Is the US clinical experience mandatory for IMG?

Many programs have US clinical experience as an official recommendation in application requirements. Other programs have no such official recommendations. But the probability of the match without US clinical experience is much lower. It is possible to say that USCE is absolutely mandatory for competitive specialties and applicants with low scores. To have USCE for IMG is highly recommended in other cases.

How does the list help save time?

Researching residency programs takes a lot of time. Ready to use list helps both reduce the time for research and saves your time by increasing the probability of the match.

How does the list help save money?

IMGs can apply to more than 100 programs to reach the goal. Applying each extra program takes $26 ERAS fee. It is quite expensive if to multiply by hundreds of programs. The list helps to apply the right programs only and makes your application effective.

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