Matching for a non-citizen with an LCME-accreditation

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New Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2017
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Hi everyone,

I'm currently in a Canadian MD program and looking for some insight into how I can build up my CV in order to be a competitive applicant for residency. As of now, I'm a year into my program.

Seeing as I will graduate with an LCME-accredited degree, I won't be considered an IMG. Nevertheless, I'm not a citizen of either the US or Canada, which will undoubtedly set me back.

Firstly, what specialties can I aim for? I'm not looking to enter Pediatrics or Family Medicine. I researched Dermatology and realized it's a very steep uphill battle. Can anyone suggest some good specialties for me? I was thinking of Internal Medicine, but don't understand the pathways beyond the residency. Any other suggestions are welcome.

Secondly, when should I aim to do the USMLE steps? I've also heard that doing step 3 will make it easier to obtain an H1b visa for residency training. Is there any truth to this? What ideal scores should I aim for, and what should I do in addition to reading First Aid? I will also refer to the numerous posts here regarding USMLE prep.

Lastly, what else should I do to build up my CV in order to become a highly competitive applicant? I've heard terms like "research" and "articles" thrown around, but could someone give me a thorough understanding of all the extra requirements that would make me better than most applicants?

I'd really appreciate any help or feedback from you guys.

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Full Member
10+ Year Member
Oct 13, 2012
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Applying without US citizenship or permanent residency as an LCME-accredited student does not put you at much of a disadvantage. I would look at the 2016 Charting Outcomes ( to see the general characteristics of applicants for each particular specialty.

In general, you want good USMLE board scores, good grades, good letters of recommendation, research (especially if applying for competitive fields like dermatology or aiming for top programs), and good interview skills. It is true that a passing Step 3 score makes it easier to obtain an H1-B visa but that depends on the program. I would definitely call programs to ask their policies. New York City programs are especially open, but call to find out.