IMG Friendly Residency Programs

Residency programs for International medical graduates are what IMGs search for when it comes to applying for medical residency in the United States. A lot of residency programs never accepted IMGs in the past, and many IMG friendly programs accept US citizens only despite able to sponsor visas. Additionally, all residency programs have their own criteria to shortlist candidates. As a result, it is very important for an IMG to have a personalized list of IMG friendly residency programs in the USA that offer chances of a match with his/her qualifications.

What does IMG friendly mean?

Every IMG asks this question when he/she starts to look for medical residency in the USA. Medical residency programs in the United States are very friendly for US medical school seniors who enjoy a match rate of 94%. On the other hand, the match rate for IMGs varies from 5% to 60% depending on specialty. Under these circumstances, IMGs face questions like; Should I search for the right states to apply in? What is the right specialty to apply? How can I find a residency program that accepts IMGs? While it is possible to find a lot of IMG friendly residency programs pdf files, lists and databases in the Internet, it is still not easy to choose the right programs to apply to.

IMG friendly states

- When deciding whether a state is IMG friendly or not, there are two common approaches. The first approach considers the number of IMGs in a state to classify it as an IMG friendly or otherwise. While the second approach looks at the percentage of residency positions filled by IMGs in that state. Both of these approaches are often inaccurate. For example, a state with a lot of residency positions will have a large number of IMGs even if the IMG match rate there is low. On the other hand, a state with a high IMG match rate may only have few IMGs if it offers too few total residency positions. In both of these situations, it will be incorrect to assume these states are IMG friendly. Thus, the best approach to classify a state as IMG friendly or otherwise is to look at both the number and the percentage of IMGs in that state. So an ideal IMG friendly state should have a lot of residency positions and a high IMG match rate. Even with this approach, an IMG still misses a lot of opportunities if he/she is not applying to a personalized list of programs.

IMG friendly specialties

- Specialties like internal medicine offer good chances of matching for IMGs because there aren't enough US seniors to fill all the available positions. On the other hand, specialties like plastic surgery are highly sought after by US seniors and offer fewer chances for IMGs. Specialties like internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, pathology, psychiatry, and neurology are usually considered IMG friendly. While it is important to look at the odds of matching in a particular specialty, we should also acknowledge that well qualified IMGs can match at the highest sought-after positions as well.

IMG friendly residency programs

- If a program accepts IMGs with a certain level of USMLE exam scores, it should be considered as IMG friendly. We consider a program as IMG friendly only if it has matched IMGs in the past. It is important to understand that not all residency programs in the United States accept international medical graduates. There are a lot of programs that declare that they can accept IMGs and sponsor visas but in reality, many of them have never had IMGs in the past. Moreover, there is a big difference between IMGs who have US citizenship and those who don’t. Even in those programs that accept IMGs, there may be no non-US citizen IMG. This is why for IMGs without US citizenship (commonly called non-US IMGs) the whole matching process can be even more competitive. IMGs are often looking for residency programs that are friendly towards non-US IMGs instead of just IMG friendly programs. And this is the correct approach to narrow down the list of programs. We work hard to gather information about matched US and non-US IMGs in each residency program. By default, we provide a list of all residency programs against the searched criteria so that applicants can research residency programs to get a sense of applying for a program. Here is the list of programs with the highest percentage of IMGs for each specialty. (Please, create search criteria to generate a list that has 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 a 61% match rate among IMG applicants who submitted a certified rank order list. The statistics looks very promising but let us do the calculation in the right way. NRMP suggests that applicants who get no interviews should not submit a rank order list. In order to calculate the real match rate among IMGs we also need to consider those IMGs who had applied but failed to get any interview invites. So, let us divide the amount of those who matched by the sum of all matched, not matched, and not submitted the rank order list. Under the right calculations, the match rate really increased by 7% for US IMGs and by 11% for non-US IMGs during the past 4 years. But just around 50% of IMGs were matched in the 2020 year. It is much better than a 40% matching rate, but it still does not look 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 (1498 IMGs)
  2. Michigan (524 IMGs)
  3. Florida (516 IMGs)
  4. Pennsylvania (476 IMGs)
  5. New Jersey (417 IMGs)
  6. California (364 IMGs)
  7. Texas (361 IMGs)
  8. Illinios (334 IMGs)
  9. Ohio (317 IMGs)
  10. Massachusetts (213 IMGs)
  11. Maryland (192 IMGs)
  12. Georgia (189 IMGs)
  13. Connecticut (182 IMGs)
  14. Louisiana (153 IMGs)
  15. Missouri (112 IMGs)
Most IMG friendly states by number matched PGY-1

Top IMG friendly by percent

  1. Wyoming (53% IMGs)
  2. New Jersey (44% IMGs)
  3. North Dakota (39% IMGs)
  4. New York (37% IMGs)
  5. Arkansas (37% IMGs)
  6. Puerto Rico (36% IMGs)
  7. Maryland (33% IMGs)
  8. Connecticut (32% IMGs)
  9. Hawaii (30% IMGs)
  10. Florida (30% IMGs)
  11. Michigan (30% IMGs)
  12. Louisiana (28% IMGs)
  13. Alabama (27% IMGs)
  14. West Virginia (27% IMGs)
  15. Georgia (26% 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 (3628 IMGs)
  2. Family medicine (1192 IMGs)
  3. Pediatrics (608 IMGs)
  4. Surgery (420 IMGs)
  5. Psychiatry (293 IMGs)
  6. Pathology-anatomic and clinical (286 IMGs)
  7. Neurology (238 IMGs)
  8. Emergency medicine (185 IMGs)
  9. Anesthesiology (136 IMGs)
  10. Transitional year (128 IMGs)
IMG friendly residency programs specialties by number matched PGY-1

Top IMG friendly specialties by percent

  1. Pathology-anatomic and clinical (48% IMGs)
  2. Preventive medicine (42% IMGs)
  3. Neurology (35% IMGs)
  4. Internal medicine (34% IMGs)
  5. Radiology-diagnostic (29% IMGs)
  6. Family medicine (27% IMGs)
  7. Pediatrics (20% IMGs)
  8. Pediatrics/Medical Genetics (20% IMGs)
  9. Surgery (19% IMGs)
  10. Radiation oncology (18% IMGs)
Most IMG friendly specialties by percent matched PGY-1

Frequently Asked questions about medical residency programs list for IMGs.

How many residency programs should I apply to?

According to NRMP research, in general, the probability of a successful match increases with the number of applications but stabilizes after 150-200 programs even for weak applicants. It is because programs often receive thousands of applications and need to reduce the number to hundreds in some automatic way. Programs use a different but limited amount of "cut off" approaches. This is why the probability increases if to apply to more programs but stabilizes with the increase of the probability to apply to all types of different filtering algorithms that residency programs can use. Strong applicants can apply for fewer programs with the same probability of the match. Weaker applicants need to apply to more programs. But even if to apply for extra 100 programs it will not increase the probability if you already applied to all of the right programs. There is a sense to apply to a maximum reasonable amount of programs you most likely satisfy minimum requirements for interview consideration and no sense to apply to programs with tighter admission requirements.

Is the US clinical experience (USCE) mandatory for an IMG?

Many residency programs require US clinical experience and clearly mention this in their application guidelines. Other programs that do not require US clinical experience officially in their application guidelines may also prefer applicants with prior US clinical experience. In reality, the probability of the match without US clinical experience is much lower than with US clinical experience. It is right to say that USCE is absolutely mandatory for competitive specialties and for applicants with low USMLE scores. For IMGs, it is highly recommended to have as much USCE as possible.

How will a personalized list help me save time?

Researching residency programs and their requirements often takes an enormous amount of time. Ready to use personalized lists not only save your time for researching program requirements but also saves your time by increasing the probability of the match.

How will a personalized list help me save money?

IMGs may apply to more than 100 programs to reach their goal. Applying to each additional program, over 30 programs, costs 26$. The personalized list helps you to apply for the right programs and often saves thousands of dollars for your limited budget that you may spend on gaining more USCE, for example.

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