If you have a medical license outside the United States and would like to come to the United States to practice medicine, you may be able to in some limited circumstances. It’s important to note that applicants with non-immigrant visas are only allowed to apply for a limited medical license that allows them to serve in health professional shortage areas or underserved areas.
In the United States, the way you obtain a license is by passing the Medical Licensing Examinations I, II and III. Then, you have to complete an English test to show that you are proficient. You will also have a clinical skills assessment to complete before you will be able to practice.
Most non-citizens coming to the United States to practice are already graduates of medical programs but will need to take residency training in the United States. The United States Medical Licensing Examination III should be taken as soon as possible if you’ll be starting as a resident in the U.S.
Different state boards have varied requirements
One thing to keep in mind as you come to the U.S. to practice medicine is that every state is different. Some medical boards have application processes that are simpler than others. You will need to determine which state has a program you want to be in and decide on the state where you would want to work. For example, the New York State Medical Board issues unrestricted licenses to non-citizens if they are permanent residents only.
Regardless of where you apply to work, you will need to have your medical background and degree, past licensure and other certifications verified. Credentialing is normally easier since you already have this in your history, but that doesn’t mean that it’s automatic. If the state board would like more information, it will ask for it.
The process for working in the United States with a foreign medical license isn’t always straightforward. Depending on your background and what you want to do, you may need to verify your foreign license and take several certification tests within the United States to get the credentials you need to practice.