IMG friendly Residency Programs

International medical graduates (IMGs) search for friendly residency programs when it comes to applying for medical residency in the United States. Many residency programs have never accepted IMGs in the past, and many IMG friendly programs only accept US citizens, despite their ability to sponsor or accept 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 United States 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 certain states to apply? What is the right specialty to apply for? How can I find foreign medical graduate friendly residency programs? While it is possible to find IMG friendly residency programs pdf files, lists, and databases on the Internet, it is still not easy to choose the right programs to apply to. Here at ResidencyProgramsList, we try to make these things clear for IMGs.

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. On the other hand, the second approach looks at the percentage of residency positions filled by IMGs in that state. By themselves, both of these approaches are often inaccurate. For example, a state with a lot of residency positions will have a larger number of IMGs, even if the IMG match rate/percentage in that state is low. On the other hand, a state with a high IMG match rate may only have few IMGs if it offers a small amount of residency positions. In both of these situations, it would be incorrect to assume that 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. An ideal IMG-friendly state should have a lot of residency positions and a high IMG match rate. Regardless of the approach, an IMG still misses a lot of opportunities if they restrict their application to only certain states.

IMG friendly specialties

- Specialties like internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, and others offer better 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. Internal medicine and family medicine are friendliest by the number of positions filled by IMGs. Pathology is the friendliest by percent of positions filled by IMGs. Pediatrics is the friendliest by match rate among IMGs. Considering all 3 factors together, internal medicine is likely the friendliest. 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 who score above a certain score on the USMLE exam, it should be considered as IMG friendly. We consider a program as IMG friendly only if it has previously matched IMGs. 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. Moreover, there is a big difference between IMGs who have US citizenship or permanent residence and those who require visa. Even in those programs that declare accepting J1 and sponsoring H1 visa for IMGs, there may be no visa requiring IMGs. This is why for IMGs without US citizenship/permanent residence (commonly called non-US* IMGs) the whole matching process can be even more competitive. Moreover, programs often have graduation preferences based on connections with certain geographical area. For example, some programs accept Caribbean graduates only, some programs accept a lot of Asian graduates, while some other programs never accepted a graduate from Asia. As result, often IMGs need look for residency programs that are friendly towards non-US IMGs instead of just IMG friendly programs, for programs that are specifically friendly towards certain geographical area, for programs that are friendly toward applicants with a longer time since graduation, for IMG friendly residency programs in the USA that have light USCE requirements, etc. *- NRMP uses term non-US IMG for not U.S. citizens at the time of medical school graduation outside the U.S. even if citizenship obtained later.

AMA's FREIDA and AAMC Residency Explorer are not the bad sources of IMG-friendly lists for a strong applicant. However, very often, an application is not as efficient as it can be. IMG-friendly programs listed in these databases receive thousands of applications and become very competitive. Our approach narrows down the list of programs and ranks programs by compatibility using collected statistical data and unique mathematical algorithms.
By default, we provide a free list of residency programs in the United States for IMG that satisfy selected visa requirements. The free list includes information about well-known IMG-friendly programs, links to program websites, and basic characteristics of the program. Each applicant can research residency programs, write notes, do several rounds of selecting and bookmarking, ask programs about eligibility. Our paid lists include all information that was pre-collected by our stuff: program-specific notes and additional requirements, past years NRMP insights, percent of residents from your country/school, information about all IMG-friendly programs. The Advanced list provides a graduation diagram and ranks programs by compatibility. The Friendly score is calculated by your country of graduation, your scores, US/non-US IMG status, etc.

Most IMG-friendly residency programs by specialty

Specialty ID Program State

Internal medicine 1403521470 Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center New York

1403511264 Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center New York

1403521316 SUNY Upstate Medical University New York

Anesthesiology 0401211038 Medical College of Georgia Georgia

0401612039 John H Stroger Hospital of Cook County Illinois

0402521185 Henry Ford Hospital/Wayne State University Michigan

Neurology 1802531054 Detroit Medical Center/Wayne State University Program Michigan

1803521079 SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn New York

1803521083 SUNY Upstate Medical University New York

Emergency medicine 1103500207 Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center New York

1103500208 Wyckoff Heights Medical Center New York

1101100204 HCA West Florida GME Consortium Florida

Radiology-diagnostic 4203521147 SUNY Upstate Medical University New York

4202521096 Detroit Medical Center/Wayne State University Michigan

4203521143 SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn New York

Transitional year 9994200249 Damas Hospital Puerto Rico

9991100235 Kendall Regional Medical Center Florida

9992500060 Detroit Medical Center/Wayne State University (Sinai-Grace) Program Michigan

Dermatology 0803331128 Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School New Jersey

0802421141 Tufts Medical Center Massachusetts

Family medicine 1200511057 Arrowhead Regional Medical Center California

1204821457 Texas Tech University (Permian Basin) Program Texas

1203521465 Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center New York

Nuclear medicine 2001121087 Jackson Memorial Hospital/Jackson Health System Program Florida

2002421038 Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School Massachusetts

2005421078 University of Washington Washington

Neurological surgery 1602031031 University of Louisville Kentucky

1600321112 University of Arizona Arizona

1602821047 St Louis University School of Medicine Missouri

Ophthalmology 2403511109 New York Presbyterian Hospital (Columbia Campus) New York

Plastic surgery 3604721096 Vanderbilt University Tennessee

3603921085 University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Program Oklahoma

3603521058 Nassau University Medical Center Program New York

Preventive medicine 3803413133 University of New Mexico New Mexico

3801188098 Florida Department of Health Palm Beach County Florida

3803213126 Dartmouth-Hitchcock Leadership in Preventive Medicine New Hampshire

Radiation oncology 4303522064 New York Methodist Hospital New York

4302731140 University of Mississippi Medical Center Mississippi

Surgery 4403521207 Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center New York

4403511214 Harlem Hospital Center New York

4403521237 SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn New York

Urology 4804800185 Methodist Hospital (Houston) Texas

4803300192 Hackensack University Medical Center New Jersey

Medical genetics and genomics 1304821012 Baylor College of Medicine Texas

1302421024 Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School Massachusetts

1302321043 Johns Hopkins University Maryland

Vascular surgery - integrated 4513831078 University of Cincinnati Medical Center/College of Medicine Ohio

4514800125 University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Texas

4510821084 Yale-New Haven Medical Center Connecticut

Psychiatry 4003511242 Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (Elmhurst) New York

4003511140 Harlem Hospital Center New York

4001100309 Larkin Community Hospital Florida

Child neurology 1854121012 UPMC Medical Education Program Pennsylvania

1852521052 Detroit Medical Center/Wayne State University Michigan

1853521054 SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn New York

Pathology-anatomic and clinical 3003521260 SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn New York

3000131018 University of Alabama Medical Center Program Alabama

3002811193 Washington University/B-JH/SLCH Consortium Missouri

Plastic Surgery - Integrated 3625500001 West Virginia University School of Medicine West Virginia

3623400001 University of New Mexico School of Medicine New Mexico

3624100162 Geisinger Health System Pennsylvania

Interventional radiology - integrated 4163500015 Stony Brook Medicine/Mather Hospital New York

4161600002 University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago Illinois

Thoracic surgery 4603521058 Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine New York

4601821032 University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Program Iowa

4604021079 Oregon Health & Science University Oregon

Thoracic surgery - integrated 4613511064 Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York

4612400001 Brigham and Women's Hospital Massachusetts

Pediatrics 3203531394 Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center New York

3201111056 Jackson Memorial Hospital/Jackson Health System Program Florida

3203521173 SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn New York

Obstetrics and gynecology 2203521326 Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center New York

2203511180 Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center Program New York

2203511184 Flushing Hospital Medical Center New York

Physical medicine and rehabilitation 3403521043 Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine New York

3403522041 Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center New York

3403521093 SUNY Upstate Medical University New York

Internal Medicine-Pediatrics 7002832126 University of Missouri-Columbia Missouri

7003932090 University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Oklahoma

7002532030 Hurley Medical Center/Michigan State University Program Michigan

Search residency programs by criteria to find all the programs you really need!

IMG Residency Match Rate

In 2022, NRMP reported 59.4% match rate among IMG applicants who submitted a certified rank order list according to the PGY-1 main residency match. While the statistics look promising on paper, let’s look a bit deeper at the numbers. 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. Therefore, we divide the amount of those who matched by the sum of all matched, not matched, and not submitted the rank order list. Under these calculations, the match rate is roughly 50%. Yes, the match rate increased by 7% for US IMGs and by 11% for non-US IMGs during the past 5 years, but the current 50% match rate still does not look very promising. In 2021 year, it was very difficult to meet residency program requirements even for US-IMGs, and the match rate was lower but recovered in 2022 reaching the highest ever level of 51% for US-IMGs. For Non-US IMGs, the match ratio also increased, but did not recover to 2020 levels.

IMG residency match rate by year

Top 25 IMG friendly states according to main residency match statistics

Top IMG friendly by number

  1. New York (1473 IMGs)
  2. Florida (573 IMGs)
  3. Michigan (536 IMGs)
  4. Pennsylvania (534 IMGs)
  5. New Jersey (488 IMGs)
  6. Texas (453 IMGs)
  7. California (407 IMGs)
  8. Ohio (345 IMGs)
  9. Illinois (338 IMGs)
  10. Massachusetts (236 IMGs)
  11. Georgia (215 IMGs)
  12. Connecticut (203 IMGs)
  13. Maryland (195 IMGs)
  14. Louisiana (139 IMGs)
  15. Missouri (124 IMGs)
  16. Arkansas (111 IMGs)
  17. Alabama (107 IMGs)
  18. District of Columbia (93 IMGs)
  19. Virginia (92 IMGs)
  20. Minnesota (91 IMGs)
  21. North Carolina (88 IMGs)
  22. Arizona (80 IMGs)
  23. Wisconsin (78 IMGs)
  24. Mississippi (75 IMGs)
  25. Tennessee (69 IMGs)
Most IMG friendly states by number matched PGY-1

Top IMG friendly by percent

  1. North Dakota (45% IMGs)
  2. New Jersey (42% IMGs)
  3. Arkansas (35% IMGs)
  4. New York (32% IMGs)
  5. South Dakota (32% IMGs)
  6. Connecticut (32% IMGs)
  7. Hawaii (31% IMGs)
  8. Mississippi (29% IMGs)
  9. Michigan (29% IMGs)
  10. Puerto Rico (28% IMGs)
  11. Maryland (28% IMGs)
  12. Florida (28% IMGs)
  13. West Virginia (26% IMGs)
  14. Georgia (25% IMGs)
  15. Louisiana (25% IMGs)
  16. Montana (23% IMGs)
  17. District of Columbia (23% IMGs)
  18. Alabama (23% IMGs)
  19. Pennsylvania (22% IMGs)
  20. Maine (21% IMGs)
  21. Illinois (19% IMGs)
  22. Ohio (19% IMGs)
  23. Texas (19% IMGs)
  24. Delaware (18% IMGs)
  25. Massachusetts (17% IMGs)
Most IMG friendly states by percent matched PGY-1

Top 15 IMG friendly specialties according to main residency match statistics

Top IMG friendly specialties by number

  1. Internal medicine (3898 IMGs)
  2. Family medicine (1234 IMGs)
  3. Pediatrics (608 IMGs)
  4. General surgery*[cat+pre] (396 IMGs)
  5. Psychiatry (321 IMGs)
  6. Pathology-anatomic and clinical (274 IMGs)
  7. Neurology (270 IMGs)
  8. Emergency medicine (221 IMGs)
  9. Anesthesiology (149 IMGs)
  10. Transitional year (124 IMGs)
  11. Radiology-diagnostic (104 IMGs)
  12. Obstetrics and gynecology (85 IMGs)
  13. Physical medicine and rehabilitation (31 IMGs)
  14. Child neurology (30 IMGs)
  15. Radiation oncology (23 IMGs)
  16. * - Categorical general surgery is not friendly. Most positions are preliminary.
IMG friendly residency programs specialties by number matched PGY-1

Top IMG friendly specialties by percent

  1. Pathology-anatomic and clinical (44% IMGs)
  2. Internal medicine (35% IMGs)
  3. Pediatrics/Medical Genetics (32% IMGs)
  4. Family medicine (27% IMGs)
  5. Neurology (27% IMGs)
  6. Pediatrics (20% IMGs)
  7. Child neurology (19% IMGs)
  8. General surgery*[cat+pre] (17% IMGs)
  9. Radiation oncology (16% IMGs)
  10. Psychiatry (15% IMGs)
  11. Thoracic surgery - integrated (10% IMGs)
  12. Radiology-diagnostic (9% IMGs)
  13. Transitional year (8% IMGs)
  14. Vascular surgery - integrated (8% IMGs)
  15. Emergency medicine (8% IMGs)
Most IMG friendly specialties by percent matched PGY-1

Frequently Asked questions about medical residency programs list for IMGs.

How many programs should I apply to for residency?

IMG friendly residency programs often receive thousands of applications and need to reduce this number to hundreds in some automated way. Programs use various approaches to achieve this goal. The probability of a successful match increases with the total number of applications by apply to programs with all types of various filtering algorithms that are used. According to NRMP research, the probability of a successful match stabilizes after 100-170 programs, depending on IMG applicant qualifications and specialty. The maximum probability of a match and a corresponding minimum number of programs to reach 90-95% of this probability is unique for each applicant and depends on the specialty and the applicant's qualifications. In general, the more competitive the specialty, the more programs needed to reach this individual probability maximum. The weaker the applicant, the lower the number of reasonable applications, and the more focus that should be placed on friendly positions. Selecting programs by suitable admission requirements, US/non-US IMG friendliness, graduation preferences, etc. helps to find the optimal programs to apply to.
Unfortunately, applicants cannot agree with each other to reduce the number of applications. Candidates should use the same number of friendly programs as others to keep chances equal. The number of friendly programs (that can consider candidate's application) correlates with interview chances and probability of the match. This correlation is linear for small numbers but essential saturation point exists if the number of friendly programs is high, and the probability near stabilizes after reaching of the certain number of applications. According to our research, even the strongest IMG applicant needs to apply to at least 80 programs to have a good probability of a successful match. Mid applicants may need to apply to 120-150 programs. Weak applicants often try applying to a large number of programs, but the number of programs with suitable minimum requirements is limited and probability can't be increased to high levels even by applying to all programs. Weak applicants should strive to apply to all suitable programs but not just to a big number of programs.

How many programs to apply to residency

The blue graph shows that applicants who applied to 100 programs have best chances, in average, but this does not mean that particular applicant need to apply to 100 programs to have the best chances. This just mean that highly qualified applicants are majority of those who decided to apply to 80-100 programs.

How can I create a list of friendly programs?

Previous match statistics and minimum requirements are the key. Researching residency programs and their requirements often takes an enormous amount of time. We are collecting statistics, program requirements and providing unique filtering interface to help with creating your personalized list of programs.

How will a personalized list help me?

Personalized lists save your time for researching program requirements and match statistics, increases the probability of a successful match. IMGs usually apply to more than 100 programs in order to match into a U.S. medical residency. The application is not free. For example, applying to IMG friendly residency programs in 2022 costs $519 for the first 30 programs and $26 for each additional program. If you applied to 100 programs, it would cost you $2339. The personalized list helps you to apply for the right programs and often saves thousands of dollars that you could spend on gaining more USCE, for example.

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

Many residency programs require US clinical experience and clearly mention this in their application requirements. Programs that do not require US clinical experience officially in their application guidelines may instead prefer applicants with prior US clinical experience. In reality, the probability of a successful match without US clinical experience is much lower than with US clinical experience. Without a doubt, 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. 

Research IMG Friendly Programs