10+ Year Member
May 5, 2009
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Hello everyone,

I will be applying to residency programs this year and I had a question regarding the 7 year limit to take all the exams for licensure in some states. I ended up taking my step 3 right after the 7 year limit ended. I wanted to know does this affect me in applying for residencies in the state that have the licensure requirements. For example, Illinois is one of the states with the 7 year requirement for licensure, but could I still apply to the programs for residency there? Or do I just apply to states that have longer or no time limit restrictions.
I am not sure if any one is in the same boat but any help or advice would be much appreciated.



Infernal Internist / Enigmatic Endocrinologist
10+ Year Member
Apr 25, 2008
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
While the FSMB states there's a 7-year limit, I don't see it anywhere on IL's actual application. You'd probably need to either dig into the statutes themselves or ask the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Good luck - they're not very good with communication.
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The Oncoming Storm
7+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
All of Time & Space
I think the best you can do is apply and just cross the bridge when you get there.

If a program does accept you, you will apply for licensure and the program may be able to help you with the board and the rules at that point. Some states they will have you repeat the Step exams that are outside the 7 yr mark starting with the oldest. Other will have a process for waiving the requirement.

It seems that the board is more likely to try to work something out when they are giving you a license to practice under supervision, than if you were say just some IMG attending out of formal training for some years and looking for an unlimited license.

That said, nothing is ever for sure for what the medical board will/won't do, that said, you can still try.

If it effects where you interview/rank, you could even try contacting the boards with the particulars of your situation and ask what can be done, but how helpful or even responsive a board is varies greatly state by state.
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Pastafarians Unite!
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10+ Year Member
Oct 11, 2006
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
There's no simple answer. From a residency standpoint, there's really several questions:

1. Is this a requirement for a training license? Many states have training licenses (or permits) for which the rules are much simpler as you'll be under supervision. Some states don't -- you can just work in a residency program without a license at all. Others just need your PD/program to approve you. Yet others have stricter requirements. It can be difficult to sort out, often buried in state statutes but often on the Board of Medicine's website.

2. Do you need to get a full license as part of your training? Some states (notably CA) require all residents to get a full license at some point. The bar for a full license is always higher, and the 7 year rule may be a problem. In general, I would avoid these states in your case.

3. Is the mission of the program to train people who are likely to stay in the area? If so, and if you won't meet state licensure requirements, your chances at those programs may be lower. That said, not everyone stays where they train, so they might consider you anyway.

In the end, trying to answer these is going to be very difficult. And the Board can always make exceptions to their rules.
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