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Nov 20, 2005
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My name is Ravi, and I really need your advice...
I am in my final year (6th) MD in National medical university, Kiev, Ukraine. It is recognised by the IMED and WHO. I will get my Diplom in June 2006. And have not done my internship yet.
I am an Indian citizen but will be getting a green card (hopefully) in the beginning of 2006. I would like to do my postgraduation in Surgery in the USA, but I don't know which way to go?
What are the plus points of me having a green card?
What if I don't get a green card, then what should I do?
Is Usmle the only way out? I want to study in the US, and not work, but do I still have to give all 3 steps of Usmle? Its a very long procedure and risky too...
What is the meaning of residency? Is it working as a doctor in the US?

I am so confused, please help...
Thank you,


In order to work in the U.S. as a physician, you will need to be certified by the ECFMG.

In order to gain certification, you will need your medical diploma and complete:
  • USMLE Step 1
  • USMLE Step 2 CK
  • USMLE Step 2 CS
Thereafter, you need to compete for a residency position (postgraduate specialist training) in the NRMP "match" based on your USMLE scores and letters of recommendation. To my knowledge one cannot "study" surgery in the U.S., outside a residency position. See FREIDA for listings and requirements of residency positions.

A green card has many very significant advantages for foreign medical graduates. As a foreign graduate if one does not have a green card (or alternatively US citizenship), one will need to obtain either a H-1 or a J-1 visa. H-1 visas are very prized and difficult to obtain, because they potentially allow the holder to remain in the U.S. after completing their residency. J-1 visas do not allow the holder to remain in the U.S. after completing the residency, unless certain requirements are met. J-1 visas are much easier to obtain.

Foreign graduates who are about to acquire green cards usually put off applying for residency positions until they are certain about it, as if one applies to a program on a J-1 visa, one cannot convert it into a greencard and will either need to leave the U.S. or apply for a waiver.

In addition, obtaining a greencard makes it much easier to travel to the U.S. for examinations such as Step 2 CS and travel to interviews.


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Nov 26, 2005
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Be advised that the immigration service in the USA is very non user friendly. They will tell you that you can reschedule your interview for a green card, if you give notice and a have a valid reason. What they won't necessarily tell you is that if you do reschedule, you are very likely to go to back to the end of a two or three year long line. Then it will take someone extremely influential to get any kind of helpful action from them. They do not respond to certified or registered mail. The people at the service booths (help desks) have no authority to do anything and often have no desire to help you. Money doesn't help and if you offer it, you may end up deported or in jail.
I know from personal experience that this is true, although I knew not to offer anyone money. Also be aware that unless an immigration attorney (lawyer) is very influential, and very few of them are, they will take your money for legal advice and help, and nothing will happen. This is an unfortunate fact. It is much easier to get into a program with a green card and you won't be as afraid of the Program Director. Program Directors like to hold the power of the J-1 or H-1 visa over your head like a sword. They will indirectly tell you that you will lose you visa if you don't kiss their posterior (ass). Good Luck