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.)
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.