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· Registered
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here are the steps that you have to follow when registering for the first time with ECFMG in order to apply for USMLE.

First of all check if your medical school is listed in IMED, if it's not you should inform your medical school immediately. To check the IMED list go here

Before applying it's recommended to read the eligibility requirements available in this web page ECFMG 2011 Information Booklet - Examination Requirements

The first step ever is to obtain a USMLE Identification Number also called USMLE ID or ECFMG ID this is done by going to this web page
After you enter your information such as name, email, address, etc they will send you an email giving you your ECFMG ID (8 digits number) and a password to access the online services.
Wait one week and if they don't send you the email (check your junk folder also) then call them +1 (215) 386 5900.
This USMLE ID is yours forever and you should record it in a safe place (not on your Kaplan lecture notes!)

2- IWA application
Before logging in to IWA make sure of the following:

  • Your Internet access is live and continuous (electricity or Internet outage may prove disastrous)
  • Your printer is ready and has enough papers.
Using your ECFMG ID and password you can log in to IWA and begin the application process. You can do that by going to this page
After logging in you will be asked to fill out online forms (be very careful while filling these) and if for any reason you are stumbled upon a question that you don't know the answer immediately, you can save the application and log out and come back to at a later time. Then you will be asked to print out some forms that you have to fill by hand and then send by mail to ECFMG.

3- Forms
Form 344 is a check list of what documents you have to attach.
Form 345 is medical school release request (basically you are allowing ECFMG to obtain your information from your medical school). Two copies needed of this form.
Form 183 or Form 186 these are forms that let ECFMG make sure that you (your name and a your photo) are in fact existent and that this is your signature and this is your ECFMG ID. These forms may have to be signed by your medical school official and/or by a notary public, for detailed information about these forms please read

4- Documents
The documents that you will be sending with these forms are

  • Medical school diploma + translated if it is not in English
  • Two passport sized photographs
  • Some other documents might be needed (like for example if you have transferred credits)
5- Send the forms and documents
Now that you collected and filled all these documents and forms you should send them to ECFMG Philadelphia office (address will be given to you in the forms and during the online application).

6- Wait for confirmation
ECFMG will tell you by email and by mail that they have received your forms and documents then they will send forms to your medical school asking them to verify your medical school credentials and also requesting your final medical school transcript (if you are a graduate) from them.

7- ECFMG to Medical School Forms
These forms you do not have access to it and you are not allowed to send them to your school, The ECFMG will send them.
They will send one copy of your 345 to tell the school that you allowed them to ask about you.
They will also send your Diploma (that you initially sent to them see step 4 above) and they'll ask the school to authenticate it.
They will also send a form called (Verification of Medical Education) the questions in that form are these;

  • what was the requirements before you entered the school
  • how many weeks of medical education you completed
  • what degree was awarded (if you are a graduate)
  • asking to verifying the attached diploma
  • dean or other authorized registration officer's signature, date, and name
  • any interruptions or extensions in your medical education
  • any disciplinary probation you had or currently have
  • any professional misconduct that you have during your school years
  • any negative reports about you in the school
  • any limitations or special requirements by you
8- Medical School to ECFMG
Your medical school would have to respond to these forms and should also send your final medical school transcript (in English, if not you will be asked to pay for the translation fees).
The last two steps may take several months! However, if your school participate in the ECFMG Medical School Web Portal then it may take only few days.

After waiting for steps 7 and 8 above to finish you are now ready to check your status by logging in to OASIS (using your same ECFMG ID and password). The link is this
When logged in look at the left hand side panel and click on "Medical Education Credentials and Standard ECFMG Certificate" and the status that you should be happy with is this "Medical education credentials received and verified", any other status means that you're not done yet.

10- Apply
Once you received that status you can now apply for any step you like using IWA or OASIS.
The fees for the exam has to be paid at this point. Current fee requirements are listed in this web page ECFMG | Selected Fees
Note that you are applying for an eligibility period not for exact exam date.
The eligibility periods are three months for all exams except CS it's 12 months.

11- Scheduling Permit
When you finish applying online you'll get a scheduling permit with permission confirmation number and exam registration ID that you should print out and take it with you to your exam. (note there is no more orange slips that you have to wait for in the mail as before).

12- Prometric
After receiving a confirmation email and mail from ECFMG for your application status (Scheduling Permit) you can then go to Prometric website and choose your exam date (of course within your eligibility period).
Here's the link to Prometric website Prometric Services: Testing and Assessment


  • These steps are general and there might be significant variations depending on your special circumstances.
  • Be very careful while filling any form online or offline as they will held you responsible for any little thing you say and it's very difficult to change thereafter.
  • Processing times varies with the time of the year and on how fast your medical school responds to ECFMG.

· Registered
3,273 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
So when should we submit form 186!
Sorry if that was not clear in the post

Form 186 is for graduates
There two options:

  • You can get it signed by Medical School Official (before step 8 above) of course this requires that you are living near your medical school at the time.
  • Or you can get it signed by notary public (after step 8 above has be done and ur medical education credentials approved approved by ECFMG) this is useful if you are living away from your school of graduation.

In any case you are not allowed to apply for the exam (step 9 above) before having Form 186 complete and valid in your ECFMG file. Note this is a new rule and it was not there before July 2009 (See this thread for more details).

· Registered
18 Posts
thanks a lot sabio.

you have cleared all the confusion as i find the ECFMG booklet really confusing and could not understand a lot from it.

but your thread is really a lot helpful.

thanks again!

· Registered
47 Posts
thanks sobio for the great information. this process is so long. well today i have filled the application for the ecfmg no. so after a week i will get the number and password, Right?i read all the steps but please guide me step to step, i really scared by this long process. Why printer is needed which you mentioned in 2nd point? I have good internet. now what i have to do now?

i am applying for step 1. and dont know much how to apply?

what is credentials? and how they are transfered?

should i contact my medical school to respond fast to the ecfmg to get the process fast?

· Registered
3,273 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
today I have filled the application for the ecfmg no. so after a week i will get the number and password, Right?
Yes, usually it takes less than a week when they send you your new ECFMG number and password.

I am really scared by this long process.
Don't worry my friend you will get used to it gradually, this process takes weeks and months and you will not finish in one shot.

Why printer is needed which you mentioned in 2nd point? I have good internet. now what i have to do now?
You need the printer so that you can print out the forms that they'll present to you after filling the online forms. These forms you have to fill manually and send them to ECFMG via regular mail.

What is credentials? and how they are transfered?
Your credentials are your medical school transcript and diploma. Transcript is the one with marks and number of hours ..etc while Diploma usually a letter written in big font with your school letter head and stating your name and your date of graduation.
If they are not in English you have to translate them.
ECFMG will ask you for the Diploma and will ask your school for the transcript.

should i contact my medical school to respond fast to the ecfmg to get the process fast?
If your school has a history of delaying responses in the past then YES it's better to call them to expedite and to make sure that they don't make a mistake when replying to ECFMG.

· Registered
47 Posts
thanks sabio! thanks for answering my each and every question. this forum is superb and have very supporting i think when i will get my ecfmg number , then i have to fill form 344 then 345 and then 186 as i am a graduate.

· Registered
3,273 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have elecricity problem in my area? will this effect my process, as it is mentioned in point 2?
It's not that so critical, go ahead and do it.
Your computer will not shut off if it is a laptop.
At all points during the registration process you can save your work so that when you log in again you return to the same point.
If your application is suddenly shut off due to Internet disconnection or electricity outage all what happens is you lose what you have entered (and unsaved info) and you can come back again and finish it.

· Registered
47 Posts
hey, i got my ecfmg number and password so i started the IWA online application for step one. the first question it appeared was my eligibility period. As i was not sure about my eligibility period , i saved and logged out. It was also written on that form that this form is valid for 14 days. Now i just want to know that what will happened if I am unable to complete the form within 14 days because i need some time to decide about the eligibility period. I am worried.
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