IMG Match Rates

2024 Match Rates: A Guide for International Medical Graduates

Match Day 2024 has yielded strong results for international medical graduates (IMGs). According to the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP), the total number of registered applicants this year was more than 50,000, an all-time high number of applicants, and 14,772 of those applicants were IMGs. In the 2024 Match, nearly 39,000 first-year residency positions were offered, including 9,045 to IMGs. Read on for more information about the medical residency match rates for IMGs. 

Who is an international medical graduate?

An international medical graduate, or IMG, is a physician who graduated from a medical school outside the U.S. or Canada. Non-U.S. citizens who graduated from medical schools in the U.S. or Canada are not considered IMGs; however, U.S. citizens who graduated from a medical school outside the U.S. or Canada are considered US-IMGs. 

In order to obtain a medical license in the U.S., IMGs must complete a number of requirements, including obtaining ECFMG® Certification to be eligible to Match with a residency program in America. In general, the final steps for earning a medical license and becoming a doctor in the U.S. are completing a U.S. residency program and passing the USMLE Step 3.

Medical Residency Match Rates for IMGs

The table below showcases the U.S. medical residency match rates for international medical graduates in 2024 compared to previous years. In 2024, more than 9,000 IMGs were matched; this is an increase of 657 from last year and comprises more than one-quarter of all matched applicants.

Match YearNumber of IMG Match ParticipantsNumber of IMGs Matched into a U.S. ResidencyPercentage of IMGs Matched into a U.S. residency

Top Medical Specialties for Matched IMGs

In 2024, the medical specialties with the highest percentage of first-year positions filled by IMGs are as follows:

  1. Internal Medicine – 43%
  2. Pathology – 37.4%
  3. Family Medicine – 31.8%
  4. Neurology – 29.5%

U.S. Residency Program Requirements for IMGs

In order to qualify for a residency program in the U.S., IMGs must first apply for certification by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). There are three main requirements you must complete to qualify for ECFMG certification. 

  • Medical Education Requirements

    ECFMG requires that an IMG’s medical school and graduation year be listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools. In addition, ECFMG must be able to verify that credit was awarded for at least four years of medical school. You must also submit documentation proving the completion of these credits and receipt of your medical diploma.

  • ECFMG Certification Application

    IMGs who want to become certified must first request a USMLE/ECFMG identification number. This number is essential to apply for the United States Licensing Examination (USMLE), a three-step examination required to obtain a medical license to practice medicine in the United States.

  • USMLE Examinations

    IMGs must pass the USMLE Step 1 (an 8-hour long exam centered in testing basic medical and scientific principles) and earn a good score on the USMLE Step 2 CK (a 9-hour long exam focusing on diagnostics and the initial management of patients) to be eligible for medical residency in the U.S. These exams will assess whether a candidate can provide quality care to their patients. Note that every attempt will be noted in your record when applying for a Medical residency position.

For more information about residency requirements for IMGs, check out our country-specific resources:

USMLE Step 2 CK Scores for IMGs

Since USMLE Step 1 transitioned to pass/fail in 2022, Step 2 CK scores have factored more heavily into residency program admissions. In 2022 (the last year the data was available), the average USMLE Step 2 CK score for IMGs that matched into their preferred residency specialties was 240 for non-U.S. IMGs and 230 for U.S. IMGs.

Some of the top medical specialties for which IMGs matched had the following Step 2 CK USMLE scores in 2022:

  • Internal Medicine – U.S. IMGs: 235; Non-U.S. IMGs: 245
  • Neurology – U.S. IMGs: 235; Non-U.S. IMGs: 245
  • Pathology – U.S. IMGs: 228; Non-U.S. IMGs: 238

[ READ NEXT: USMLE Scoring Guide ]

Frequently Asked Questions by IMGs

Below, we answer some common questions about the Match from IMGs. 

Can international medical graduates do residency in the U.S.?

Yes, qualified IMGs can complete a residency in the U.S. For more information about finding a residency that’s right for you, visit the AMA Toolkit.

What is the match rate for international medical graduates?

In March 2024, the medical residency match rate for international medical graduates was 61.2%. 

How difficult is it to match into residency as an international medical graduate?

Matching into a U.S. residency is a very competitive process, regardless of where you graduated from medical school. However, IMGs continue to show a strong performance in the Match, with less than a one percentage point difference between 2023 and 2024. Furthermore, the number of matched non-U.S. citizen IMGs increased by 832 in 2024 compared to the previous year.

What is the hardest residency to match with as an IMG?

In general, the hardest residencies for IMGs to match into are the surgical ones, such as plastic surgery and orthopedic surgery, since they are the most sought-after and competitive.

What is the easiest residency to match with as an IMG?

In general, internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics residencies are easier for IMGs to match into since there are not enough U.S. medical graduates to fill the open positions in these specialties.