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Old 05-27-2012
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Question Timeline for ECFMG certification, step 3 and H1 visa

Hello guys,

I am a foriegn medical graduate who is trying to apply for the 2013 match. I am trying to be prepared for a H1 visa.

I want to make sure of my timeline.

1-To apply for an H1 visa when do I need my step 3 results? and the next question is when shall I take the exam and apply for that step 3 exam then?

- From what I understand, I need my results by March, so I need to take the exam before the end of December 2012, so I must apply for it before the end of August 2012.

Can someone please confirm this or tell me if I am wrong?

2- And to apply before the end of August, I need to be ECFMG certified. I can apply from the day my certificate is issued.

- Do I need the physical ECFMG certificate to apply for step 3, or it`s enough to have all step results? Is a certificate number for example required to apply for step 3?

I will really appreciate any help.

My proposed time line:
- Last step exam: early August 2012
- All results (Step1, CK, CS) available: Late August 2012
- Apply for Step 3: Before end of August 2012 (just after all step result available, without physical ECFMG certificate).
- Take step 3: before end of December 2012
- Step 3 result: March 2013

Again, I will appreciate all the help

Thanks in advance

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Old 05-27-2012
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Your plan is good..
You can apply as soon as you the ECFMG certificate, it takes like 2 weeks after your last step result. They mail it to you then, you don't have to wait to receive it, as soon as it is issued you can apply for step 3. There is no number or anything, they know if you are ecfmg certified or not. They will ask about the date of issue, that will be available on ecfmg.org as soon as it is published.
You don't need that much time to apply for step 3. As soon as you apply, you have to send a paper to them (certificate of identification), notarized. Once they receive it, it will take 5 work days to get your application approved. After that you will have to wait another week till your scheduling permit is issued. You can then apply for the test within 90 days of the issuance of the scheduling permit. Not that unlike the CS, you don't get to choose your 90 day eligibility period; it starts when the scheduling permit is issued.

Good luck
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titan25 (08-14-2012)
Old 05-28-2012
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Thanks alot for the help DrSeddik

I just want make sure of something. Does it take 2 weeks for the ECFMG certification to be issued after the last test result? Adn I mean issuing, not mailing or receiving the physical certificate.

And about step 3, do you mean I don`t need to apply by late August to take exam before end of December to apply for the H1 by the match? Can I apply later in September and still catch it in Late December?

Thanks again

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Old 05-28-2012
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Just to explain the last question, if I apply for step 3 in the 2013 cycle that starts October, 1 2012, will I be able to take the test before the end of the year to catch the 2013 match ready for an H1 visa?
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Old 02-04-2013
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I'm a FMG too, and I would love to get a H1B visa, but it's not that easy. ECFMG is just ONE of the requirements to take the Step 3 exam. You do need a MD or DO degree in order to be eligible to sit for the Step 3 exam. Yes, ECFMG certification requirements are just that you clear the Step 1/2 CK/CS exams. However, you also need your MD degree.

It states specifically on their website that you cannot apply until after you receive your diploma: http://www.fsmb.org/usmle_apply.html

However, it's not impossible. I am also applying for 2013 match. I will finish the requirements to graduate by May 2nd, 2014. My diploma date is May 9th, 2014. My residency will start in July 1st, 2014 most likely. Hence, if I take my Step 3 exam as soon as possible after May 9th, I can still get my scores in time for H1B visa. It takes 4 weeks for Step 3 results.

This all depends on how you set up your rotations. If you have them set up so that you graduate as fast as possible, then you get more room to take Step 3.
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