R 200053Z FEB 02
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS
SPECIAL EMBASSY PROGRAM
POUCH AMEMBASSY BELGRADE
UNCLAS STATE 032247
VISAS -- INFORM CONSULS
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Revised ECFMG Requirements for Foreign Medical Graduates
1. The purpose of this cable is to inform posts of current requirements necessary for foreign medical graduates wishing to enter the U.S. to take the Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA).
2. The Visa Office has been advised by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the organization that certifies foreign medical graduates to enter U.S. residency and fellowship programs and conductor of the CSA, of a recent change in procedures. ECFMG reports that a small number of individuals who have attempted to come to the United States to take an examination which is required as part of the certification process offered by the ECFMG may have been disadvantaged as consular officers may be unaware of ECFMGs new procedures.
3. ECFMG certification is required for all graduates of international medical schools as a prerequisite for entry into accredited advanced medical training programs in the United States. In addition to verification of their medical education, applicants must pass four different examinations. These are the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE) Step 1 and Step 2, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Clinical Skills Assessment.
4. The CSA is offered only in Philadelphia; therefore candidates must travel to the U.S. in order to take the examination. Formerly, ECFMG had required that applicants pass both the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 examinations as well as the TOEFL examination before they were eligible to take CSA. However, those prerequisites were adjusted approximately two years ago. Currently, ECFMG requires that candidates must have passed USMLE Step 1 (or its equivalent) and the TOEFL (or equivalent) prior to taking CSA. Candidates no longer must pass USMLE Step 2 prior to taking the CSA exam.
5. ECFMG reports having received reports from a small number of applicants who claimed that they had been denied travel visas to come to the U.S. to take CSA because they had not passed USMLE Step 2. Obviously, whether this was the actual basis of their denial or not would be known only by the consular officer. However if that were the case it would not be consistent with current ECFMG policy and requirements.