Fill ERAS Common Residency Application by International Medical Graduates

ERAS Application Frequently Asked Questions/Answers By International Medical Graduates

There are thousands of questions on USMLE forums each year regarding the whole Residency application process. I tried to put all those here to make it easy to fill the residency application and save tremendous amount of your valuable time. Most of the answers are general consensus. Please use your own research and discretion while using these answers. This information is obtained after 2 months of observation in USMLE forum discussions.

You can access the official PDF of the MyERAS worksheet for 2016 Residency application here–>My ERAS application Form OR more specifically here. and frequently asked questions here –>Residency Applicant FAQ. You can access the the centralized online application service called The Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®) through which you can transmit your application, along with support documents, to residency programs here—>Applying to Residencies with ERAS.

One important reminder to all the applicants which I noticed is that some programs do not call an interviewee more than once. That means, if you manage to get an interview this year and you stated in your application that you will finish Step 3 by the time of the interview, But, if you did not finish it by the interview time and unfortunately you do not match this year, that same program may not call you next year even though your CV is much stronger than this year. This happened with me. Some programs do not want a candidate two years in a row.

The following are examples of the questions and answers that you need to know so that you can fill the application quickly for IMGs

MyERAS Worksheet

Contact Information:

You may not have pager or SSN, so leave it blank.

Current mailing address and Permanent mailing address:

If you are already in the USA, you can put both mailing and permanent address from here.

NMS Match:-NO

Are you committed to fulfill a U.S. military active duty service obligations/deferments?– NO

Higher Education:-NONE

Membership in Honorary/ Professional Societies:–

Name those societies like American College Of Physicians etc. You can name your home country societies if you are a member. It does not add value to the application.



  1. Training:

Please add any current or prior D.O. Internship, D.O. Residency, M.D. Residency or M.D. Fellowship in which you have trained, regardless of length of time spent in the training.

Reason for Leaving-you probably might have finished the training.

2. Experience:

Please add your additional experience. Clinical and Teaching experience should be treated as Work experiences. Include all unpaid extra -curricular activities and committees you have served on as a Volunteer experiences. Research Experience also. Description 1020 Characters Max-Here you can include observership also

Was your medical education/training extended or interrupted?-

Most likely NO. If you did clerkship in USA before getting medical school degree, it may be considered interruption.


Please add an entry for any of your state medical licenses.-NONE

Are you able to carry out the responsibilities of a resident or a fellow in the specialties and at the specific training programs to which you are applying, including the functional requirements, cognitive requirements, interpersonal and communication requirements with or without reasonable accommodations? – YES

Are you Board Certified? – NO

Below are more than 110 most common and useful answers to the questions that arise at the time of applying for residency in ERAS: 

Should I apply on September 15? – It is better to apply on September 15 or whatever the first day they allow as applications are screened on ‘First Come First Serve’ basis. No difference if you apply a week later according to some.

Payment for Submitting Application: Visa and Master cards Only

How about Couples Match?-Apply at same places. If one of you get an Interview, the other can contact the program and request for an interview.

What if you don’t have your MSPE?-if one doesnt have a MSPE, the ECFMG will submit a document that says “This student doesn’t have a MSPE. For any further details, contact the applicant”. The application looks complete with that. Send them a mail that you can’t secure an MSPE. They will then upload a blank MSPE stating the reason why you can’t procure one.

For those who are applying the second time , are you guys including the reason for not matching in the personal statement or something related to that?– NO NEED

Regarding Personal Statement, what should be font? – 10, put it on ERAS and print it to see what it will look like.

I am going to apply with my CS result pending. Will I be filtered out by programs because of this?-Programs don’t start downloading right away. Most of them only download complete applications. So, it is better to have the complete application when you apply.

If we have multiple visa to USA and the program does not offer visa sponsorship then does it affect our visa status? Where do we stand in such case?-You need J1 or H1B unless you have Green card. All other visas are useless for residency.

If you will apply to adult neurology can you apply to child neurology as well? ( with the same LORs)?-yes but better to have at least one letter from child neurologist and one from pediatrics.

If you are using last year’s LORs, you have to finalize your author again in ERAS, only then ECFMG releases.

Is anyone applying to categorical and primary care at same hospital ? Is it advisable ? – May be you can say that you are so interested to work at their hospital as a resident that you wanted to apply to both programs.

Only difference between primary and categorical , is that primary will have more outpatient rotation.. Rest everything is same.

Can anyone clear my confusion between integrated and non-integrated neurology programs? and also categorical vs advanced programs? – If you apply to advanced programs, you need to do a prelim year before you get into the advanced programs like anesthesiology etc. You have to apply separately to prelim PGY1 programs.

Has anyone from India entered our internship as a work experience separately or is it accepted in medical education? – work experience

If the MSPE, medical school transcript and photo are not yet appearing on ERAS, can we apply? – As these are automatically assigned.-Yes, you can and then you can update your application.

Where do we put CME and conferences attended? – Achievements or extracurricular activities. They don’t bother much about both of these. Write whatever you feel like.

What time you will all be applying on the September 15th? – 9am

Where to include observership ? under work or volunteer experience? – Both observership and externship are work experiences.

I was just filling out the ERAS application form and on the first page it asks for the NRMP ID . I cannot create an account on NRMP as it says NRMP registration currently closed and will open on 15 th Sept. How do I proceed?-Yes, you have to proceed without NRMP ID and apply. Later, update your NRMP ID in ERAS.

How many programs are you guys applying to for Internal Medicine?-Apply to as many as you are eligible and can afford usually around 70-100. No regrets later. It is purely personal/financial.

Is it wise to apply to Pediatrics even if you don’t have any USCE in Peads? -Yes, you can. There are people who did that and matched in the specialty they didn’t have any USCE. But, it definitely helps to have USCE in the specialty of your applying.

I have scored 205 on step 1 and 250 on step 2. Should I persue with USMLE, as I am not fitting into eligibilty criteria of most programs. I want to apply for IM/Pediatrics/FM?– Step 2 is a better indicator of match probability. You have a very good chance. you should go ahead. They would appreciate the hard work and determination that you seem to have put in your step 2 after the poor performance in the Step 1. This may make you stand out even better than guys with straight 250s in both the steps.

I have a residency from home country. Do I mention in work experience as well as the section for MD residency above it ? And another question is I did a fellowship but didn’t complete it. Should I mention that in work experience ?-Internship in US, Residency and Fellowship come under Training.

After we submit the application can we track and see when programs are downloading our application ? -Not from the year 2015

Are people applying to Hawaii programs ? Going to Hawaii will cost $1200. So, I would apply to 30 extra mainland programs than applying there. They prefer people who can speak Spanish & Portuguese.

Can any one tell me what the IMG friendly states are? – NY, NJ, PA,MI, IL, MA, MD, CT & FL.

Is it worth mentioning abroad language courses (English/French) on the CV or not? How about TOEFL score in other awards and accomplishments? – Yes, mention everything. You never know who may get impressed with those talents. You can mention everything in Personal Statement.

How to upload and assign? – MSPE should be uploaded through ECFMG’s OASIS and the transcripts through ERAS. No need to assign MSPE and Medical school transcript. You have to assign USMLE transcript ONLY.

While trying to assign documents for the programs, I am not seeing MSPE, Medical school transcript and ECFMG certificate in the list. I am able to assign only the LORs, PS, USMLE transcript and photo in the assign dialogue box. Why is that so? Is it because the MSPE and others are a part of eras application?These get assigned automatically.

Can you please tell me how to request USMLE transcript. Where is that? -Its there in *additional documents*. You just have to ‘authorize’ it’s release.

Will you be using your MSPE and Medical School Transcript this year? -You should click on that and say yes to both. I think, only then, it will be assigned to programs– Correct

If a program says it wants 3 LoR, would it hurt if we assigned 4 LoRs (3 clinical, 1 research)?-Not sure

If I apply on September 15th and and I wanna add an experience after 15, will it be available to programs?-No, Once you have submitted your MyERAS application, you will not be able to make any changes or updates outside of the information provided under the Personal Information section. There are no exceptions.

NRMP ID is not a requirement? -No, it’s not a requirement to apply to programs. NRMP ID allows you to participate in match process. You can buy even the day before you assign your rank order list in February but you will have to pay ‘Late registration fee’ if you register to NRMP after November 30.

Do we need to mention about pediatrics clerkships in the Personal Statemnt for IM ? I mean will it look bad if I mention about only the IM clerkships? – A good LOR from any specialty should help what ever the specialty you apply but same specialty letters have lot of value than the other specialty letters. You should also be ready with an answer for your change in your specialty of interest.

Has Anyone ever applied for a B1/B2 visa Based on STEP 3? -I did my CS with my electives and was issued a 1 year visa. Now I wish to go for Step 3. Any experiences here relating to this?-One person was just given 3-month visa (but stamped for 6 months at ‘Port Of Entry’) for step 2 CS.  So, he returned after 4 months to India and again applied for visa after 2 months showing step 3 exam. They didn’t ask anything second time, just gave him 5 year multiple entry visa.

Is it possible to get matched without Step 3? How much possibility? – Yes, but very difficult due to heavy competition. If you need visa, assume that you need step 3 result prior to submitting rank order list at least but the best thing is to have Step 3 result by the time of the interview. Having Step 3 result ready by the time of applying on September 15th is the way to go to get more interviews.

Should we write a title on personal statement or name?– No. It comes up automatically. Check in print preview.

What percentage of IMG’s is basically required for us to consider the program IMG friendly? -There is no standard criteria for that. Go for any program that can do a J1 or H1B.

How do I classify a published ‘Letter to the Editor’ on ERAS (publication section) – It goes under ‘Non peer reviewed’ as it’s a letter to editor, not a research article.

IMG’s with visitor visa, there is an option separately for B1 and B2. Which one to pick?-Your immigration officer at Airport might have selected only one, either B1 or B2. Check the stamp on your passport.

Where to write CME and Conferences attended and how to write?-Probably not useful to mention them, You may mention in Personal statement with one sentence.

Is it worth mentioning IELTS/ TOEFL results on ERAS CV?– You can mention. Good scores in English language is always a plus point.

Is anyone else having problems copy-pasting the Personal Statement on myERAS ? – Save it first as text file not word, then Copy and Paste it.

Where to put ‘Internship’ back home?– Put it under work experience

‘Step by Step process’ on first day of applying:
1. Certify and submit your application at 9am
2. Apply to programs
3. Get NRMP ID at 12pm
4. Update your profile with your NRMP ID.

Where to mention if I was a Champion in my University Volleyball Competition? – This will go in other awards/accomplishments if you want to include it or else you can mention it in personal statement.

‘FINAL CHECK LIST’ on day of submitting application:
1- Start with your photo .. assign it to all programs
2-USMLE transcript .. assign it to all programs
3-MSPE and MS transcript … Click yes and yes
4- Personal Statement ..assign it to all programs unless you have some specific one to certain programs
5- LORs .. assign them to the programs.

Certify/Submit and then go and apply for all your list and pay. If you don’t get the invoice don’t resubmit. Wait for 30 minutes and call ERAS if you don’t see it.

Can I apply to a new program once I submit and certify and make payment?– Yes

Is it good to add non-medical work experience, like sales or management ? – Does not hurt. It is useful if you worked as a supervisor or did some leadership work in any field. It shows your leadership skills.

When FREIDA says IMG needs to have J-1, H-1 visa about a program, does it mean that the program sponsors the visa? -Yes

If you apply to both preliminary and categorical in IM in a single hospital, will you be charged more? – No, But usually we don’t do it as it shows we are confused and desperate.

Does applying for 2 specialties in the same program completely inappropriate? – Go ahead and apply completely acceptable. But, if they know it is a huge red flag. Try your luck.

Can we assign 3 letters of recommendation when applying to a program and then add a 4th one to the same program few days later? – Yes, you can assign the fourth letter. 4 Letters are maximum you can assign to any program. Once you assign, you can not remove.

Is it necessary to upload at least one LOR from the medical school you studied back home (it’s unwaived) when u have all four waived US LORs or can you upload all four US LORs without uploading one from your medical school? – Many programs actually require you to submit an LoR from the Head of Department of your medical college in the specialty you are applying to. You should upload the LoR from the Head Of the Department (HOD).

My PS of 634 words is coming on two pages when I uploaded it on ERAS! I don’t know what to do to make it on one page. Any advice?–

Some useful links.

Should we put the number of hours in the experience or it doesn’t matter? – yes, you may put hours/duration.

How long should be the personal statement?– 600-800 words, approximately one page. or 5 paragraphs. Quality is more important than quantity.

We do not assign MSPE and Med school transcript, like we assign PS, LORs, Photo and USMLE transcript. Those two will be sent to programs automatically.

I am a repeat applicant and ECFMG has already uploaded my School transcript and MSPE. Should I select Yes or No ? – Select yes, as these documents are uploaded.

Can I mention ACLS and BLS training which I got in home country which is certified by AHA? – It does not hurt to include.

Whats ECFMG ID? Is it same as USMLE ID? –  Yes

MSPE available but viewed on October 1st for everyone? or what? – Yeah, MSPE will be released to programs only on October 1st.

In my photo I am in Indian traditional dress , is this OK or I should upload another photo? – Photos are not visible to programs until they offer you an interview. However, it is better to upload photos in professional dress.

Why USMLE transcript isn’t showing up in applied programs details ? – You need to go to USMLE transcript and ‘resend my scores’. After few minutes it will show up in applied programs.

No need for NRMP ID for submission…now? – No, not a must for applying to programs.
Read info on how to register for NRMP match. Go to NRMP to register for main residency match 2016 and make payment. Once you have registered there, enter that ID in ERAS application.

USMLE transcript not uploaded when you open track documents. Why? – Yeah it will be done later.

I still didn’t submit my application. Can I change the Personal Statement font? It has a really weird font after printing – It will have default font and you cant change it.

Can I submit my applications before all my LoRs are in? – Yes, you can apply to programs before all of your letters of recommendation are submitted. A completed application is preferable to an incomplete one, so if you think your letters will be in very soon (i.e., within one week), wait and apply when everything is in. If you think it may be a while before all the letters are in, go ahead and apply now.

If all my letters are not in when I apply, do the programs frequently check back or re-download my application? – Programs are sent a message each day that tells them when applicants have new information. They are looking to complete your file, so they should download all new information. Source –

With the said automatic filters for e.g. Year of Graduation, what about old graduates like year 2008, 2009. Do we have any chances to get a letter.? – Call the programs individually or email them, that’s what  I did and surprisingly a lot of them responded back with flexible graduation year cut off . By the way, I am a psychiatry applicant. Besides a few, most programs stated they weigh the application on the whole. If the CV is very good they may ignore the graduation date.

Is there any way to include research work that has been accepted for publication? ( not published yet)
also where to include poster presentation and oral paper presentation? – Just go down the publication drop down list.

I just wanted to confirm the calculation for myERAS payment. So we have to pay $80 extra as the ERAS processing fee for the release of our USMLE transcript to our assigned programs and this is a one time fee. And there is $70 fee to get the NRMP ID which amounts to $150 in addition to the fees for the each of the programs we apply.

When we have to pay for USMLE transcript? – September 15th

I thought we had to pay separately for Categorical & Preliminary spots? – Categotical and prelim in the same program is the same fee. No double charge.

Do I have to assign documents separately to each program or I can do that at once? – You can do each document at once to all programs.

What do we fill in the column that asks “are you board certified” and DEA registration number? -NO to both. Non US boards don’t matter in this application

If someone’s Step 2/CK result is coming out after applying and wants to retransmit his USMLE transcript how should he go about it? Is there a way programs could know the CK result ? – Documents->Additional documents->On the right side of USMLE transcript, below Actions, press the orange sign. There is an option to RESEND the scores! Eras ecfmg nrmp fsmb are friends. .once given permission or fees..they communicate well.

“IMPORTANT NOTE: Only those LoRs that were transmitted to your ERAS application during ERAS 2015 will be available for reuse for ERAS 2016. If you submitted an LoR but did not reserve a slot for the LoR in MyERAS during ERAS 2015, that LoR was not transmitted to your ERAS application and will not be available for reuse for ERAS 2016. To use that letter for ERAS 2016, resubmit it to ERAS Support Services.” – from this page:

Is there a way to assign documents to ALL programs once? I can’t do this for each and every program? -go into the documents and then Whatever documents you want to assign to all programs

Is it okay to share our programs list with others or is that a violation?– You can share, No violation

For those who are applying internal medicine, does anyone know whats the difference between the categorical programs with code C0 and categorical/SACM programs with code C1. Can we apply to them?– I think this is for doctors from Saudi Arabia, Saudia Arabia Culture Mission  SACM

My Old LORs still not uploaded by ECFMG. I confirmed them on the 10th Sep:( All it shows confirmed for upload-yes . I selected them in OASIS, then added them and confirmed them in MyERAS . Now since 10th September, I get to see confirmed for upload in a blue box.  Do I need to do something else? – Nothing else..other than waiting..Hope you get them soon..Good luck.

After applying on the 15th, I sent in a few more applications later. I assigned the photo, personal statement, Usmle transcripts, and the LORs. I’m hoping the MSPE, and Med school transcript and ECFMG certificate will get transmitted automatically ? – I did not have an option to send them in the second time. I’m presuming once I said ‘yes’ to release them on the 15th, I don’t have to do anything more ?-Yes, all things get transmitted automatically

Do all programs always send rejection mails to applications who they don’t consider for IV ? Or do they simply ignore too ?– Nope. Many programs even mentioned on their websites that they might not write back for rejection.

How long is it taking for the Letters of recommendation to be uploaded an available in ERAS?-Around 7-8 days.

AAMC ID remains same or differ, (this question is for repeaters), because In LORs if they mention our AAMC ID no. Can we use that next year?-same, you don’t have to upload the letter again, you can just choose the option reuse on Oasis

I guess we will not be able to see if our applications got downloaded or not?…Yes , I asked ECFMG ! They told it was on old software ! From this year(2015), we can’t see whether the program downloaded or not.

Can we change ERAS photo after applying?-Yes we can. I had called them and they said that if we upload, the new one replaces the old one.

Does it really increase your chances of getting IM if you apply only in IM like all the 150 applications.?– whether you apply to all IM or IM and other specialty, no program would know that. So it doesn’t matter/does not increase chances.

After I applied, in tracking box, there is an ‘assign’ sign.  Does any one know the importance of it?-If you have not assigned LoR, Personal Statement, Photo or USMLE transcript, you can assign it.If you already have, you can edit it and assign a new Personal Statement if you want.

If we did electives taking a break in internship, should we write that as an interruption? – My MSPE states I had a gap and I took that to do electives.-Just mention the same in application.

What is the last date to take STEP 3 to be eligible for H1B Visa ?-It is the best by December [or by the time of the interview which ever is earlier]. It is best to have step 3 result by September 15th when you apply for programs.

Anybody with money deduction issue ? Money is still not  deducted from my account by Sep 19. I submitted my application on September 15th. Any advice in this regard?-Same here. I have called them. They said not to worry about your application as it’s available to programs.

I want to upload updated version of my non waived  LOR. My old LOR is already in MyERAS account. How do I replace old LOR with the new one? – You can replace it-there is a option there from where you upload it- LOR Portal …..Replace option is there.

What should  we write in the (organization) if someone had work experience as observership in private clinic? Shall we write it as private clinic or office or what is better? – Private clinic.

On ERAS in track documents. My MSPE has been released on Sept 15 but it says ‘viewable’ after October 1. It has been months since I uploaded my MSPE. Is it just me or there are few others like me as well?  So does this mean I won’t be getting any interview calls till Oct 1?-It is like October 1st is the date when PDs get Everyone’s MSPE.

How to make pic dimension smaller?-Use IrfanView. It’s a simple photo editing software that allows you to cut, crop, resize, etc.

I have a question regarding LOR. After applying to programs with 3 LORs, can we add another one once it is uploaded? – Yes

What are the acceptable ways to contact the program after submitting application?– There are two times programs can be contacted 1.) If a current resident is your friend, he/she can go to program director and endorse your application if in case you have a strong application. 2.) Contact the program coordinator if you get a new step 3 score after you submitted your application. Otherwise, try not to disturb the program coordinator. It may have a negative impact.

If we do a 6 month research on J1 but leave it after 3 months, does the waiver still hold?-Yes, you would be subject to the rule. Your J1 once stamped for 2 yr HRR would be valid irrespective of when you terminate your status.

How is the idea to edit your Personal Statement after submitting the application? Is it going to make any difference to the programs which have not downloaded our application yet? Please share your advice -Yes, if programs haven’t downloaded the application the updated version will be available to them.

I got an interview via interview broker. How can I send thank you email to the program?-Click on the link provided in the interview invitation. Book the interview on your desired date and email the program coordinator that you are scheduled for an interview with them on ‘so and so date’ and that you look forward to meeting them.

Which is the best place to set up camp during this Interview season, taking into account the number of programs and ease of traveling between states? NYC, NJ or Philly?-Any city in PA is quite reasonable and logically easier to travel to. Consider Pittsburgh if you have applied to Ohio, IL, NY, NJ and PA. Well connected and cost of living is lower and it is a student town. Otherwise, if you have someone with whom you can stay in NYC or NJ, that may be OK too.

I am applying to Pediatrics and FM and by mistake I uploaded the Peds’ Personal statement to the FM programs?– You can assign the correct PS again to the correct specialty.

Do you give your Designated Dean’s Office permission to view your application once it has been submitted?– Yes, ECFMG is the Designated Dean’s Office for IMGs

What is the best time to schedule the interviews?– It depends upon where you want to rank that program. If you want to rank it low then schedule early, and if want to rank it high, schedule later So that you can prepare better for good program IVs by testing our skills in not so good program IVs. Most people schedule calls late for southeast and southwest area and early for east coast and Midwest because of the harshness of the weather. In my view, November and December are the best time for scheduling interviews.

Is there  way to tell if a program is IMG friendly by looking at their freida profile?– Yes, Go to Faculty & Trainees column and there you will see the IMG%. Not all of them have the % written but most do.

Hey guys is this normal? I just paid for everything and when I checked my ‘Track Documents’, it says ‘USMLE Transcripts-not uploaded’. And when I went to check my transcripts, it says “Processing Request” Now how long does this take? Again 2 weeks? -It doesn’t take long. Check after 1 or 2 hours. You have to go to ‘documents’ and ‘resend’ the USMLE transcript.


How to update USMLE transcript on ERAS?-Go to additional documents and choose resend scores when you get any new score report and ECFMG certification gets updated automatically.

Do u guys have an idea-“If I buy an eras token now but don’t apply to any program this year,will I be considered a repeater next year? I just want to have an AAMC ID so as to get the fresh LORs uploaded right now instead of the hassle of calling up people next year to upload them. -No , you will not be considered a repeat applicant unless you apply to a program. I did the same last year and I applied this year for the match. It is actually better to get the letters uploaded when we are still fresh in their memories. However, the date as to when the LOR is uploaded appears along with the letter.

Till when can I buy eras token? -Entire season

Are programs able to see the picture of the candidates prior to inviting for an interview?-probably Yes.

Can we check the USMLE transcript transmission status?-Yes, Check Documents–>USMLE Transcript request status report–> “Transmission failed” shows if there is a problem.

This information is going to be improved to make your application process very easy.