USMLE guide:

This guide is made for medical students who want to apply for the United States Medical Licensing Exam in order to pursue their residency in the U.S.

In this practical guide you will find tips and advice to facilitate this process, any mistake in the application form will cost you time and money.

The information on registration can be found within the USMLE website at  ECFMG regularly updates the registration process, so we advise you to visit their website and stay current with their changes.

ECFMG Registration:

  • ·         Create your account:

Ideally, this step should be done 6 months prior to the desired date of the exam.  Go to create your account

Make sure you enter the right information including your name and date of birth (you will need your passport to do so), any mistake will cost you time.

Once you create your account, it usually takes about 5 days to receive your USMLE ID and password.


  • ·         Fill the forms online:

Before registering for the exam, you will need to apply for the ECFMG certification

You will have to confirm all your personal information entered as well as your graduation date (choose your faculty which is listed under IMED)

Also, you must read and understand the purpose of ECFMG Certification and sign the consent form.

Now you can apply to any of the USMLE steps 1, 2 CK or 2CS in any order you wish.

However, it is advisable to take them in this order: step 1, step 2 ck and step 2 CS.


  • ·         Apply online for step1, step2  CK or CS exam:

Log in IWA (Interactive Web Application) at and start filling your personal information, (all information must match the information in your passport and final diploma). You will then schedule your exam within a 3 month period; any change on this validity period will cost you extra fees.

Once a date has been set, proceed with the payment (you will need a valid credit card

to do so). After making your payment, you will be issued two 186 forms–for graduates, –

One form you will need to fill out and take it yourself to the University (for those who currently live in Algeria)

The other one has a section which needs to be filled by a notary public “US notary” prior to sending it to the university (for those living outside Algeria).

Check the spelling of your name on the form, if it is correct print the form and then proceed to the paper work.

Paperwork: Take your 186 form to the Dean “Le Doyen” if you are in Algeria.  If you are not in Algeria, you will need to send the form to the Dean once you have filled the application and signed by the notary public (le notaire). Also, make sure to fill, sign and date “2 copies” of 344 and 345 forms.  You will need 2 photos “lottery sized photos” ( 2×2 inches or 51x 51 mm) and use glue to fix photo in your 186 form in the designated area. The Dean should stamp the form and part of the stamp should be on the photo then sign and date the form yourself.

Make sure to use black colored pen to fill all your forms. Take two copies of your final diploma “not temporary” and one English translation (English translation can be made online at any US Translation Company by sending a scanned copy of your transcript, they will then send you a translation in a PDF format or a hard copy via mail). The ECFMG will not consider any translation made in Algeria.  Put all the documents (186, 344 and 345 forms, 1 photo, 2 copies of your diploma and the English translation of your diploma) in an envelope, write your medical school address and make sure the seal of the envelope is stamped with your medical school stamp, and send to the address below:


3624 Market Street, 4th Floor,

Philadelphia, PA




Send the envelope preferably via DHL, you will receive a confirmation email within 10 days and after 3 weeks you will be notified about the outcome of your application.  ECFMG will approve your application if there is no mistake; personally, I had to go through this process 3 times because Dean’s signature was not clear the first time, the second time was the diploma translation done in Algeria so I had to redo it online via a US translation company (as explained before).

You can Also Fill the 186 at a US Public Notary “US Consulate if you are outside of USA” and send it with the complete folder to ECFMG and Then ECFMG will send your application to your university.


Get your exam permit: if approved, the ECFMG will send you your exam permit via email with a validity period of 3 months, if your application is done before the validity period you selected while filling the online part, it will remain the same. But if your application is done and your validity period has already started or expired, the ECFMG will assign you a new validity period which starts from the day that you receive your permit.

Book your exam date: with the information on your permit, you can schedule an examination date at a PROMETRIC Center online at, or via phone at 1-800-MED-EXAM (1-800-633-3926).

You will be able to reschedule your date within the 3 month validity period for free, or charged additional fees depending on the date.

The D day: make sure to take your passport and your permit with you to the center. You will have to go through a biometric process “photo and finger print”.

Get your scores: 3 to 4 weeks after your exam, ECFMG will send you your scores report via email with a pass or fail grade, a 3 digit score and a 2 digit score.

ECFMG certification: you will be ECFMG certified after passing the step 1, step 2 CK and CS exam.

Billel Gasmi