If you are completing MBBS in India and have an idea to practice medicine in USA, you are in for tough journey. Indian Doctors take one of 2 options come to USA.

  1. Complete USMLE 1 and USMLE 2 from India and come to USA to complete USMLE 3, Residency
  2. Apply for Masters programs like Public Health, Biology, get student visa and come to USA.

In order to study and practice medicine in USA, Indian Doctors have to complete Residency in USA and get state license.

Doctor of Medicine

Look at this video to get an understanding of how to become a doctor in USA.  It takes minimum of 11 years to become a doctor in USA.

  • 4 Years or Pre-Med School
  • Take MCAT (like GRE)
  • 4 Years in Medical School
    • Pass USMLE Step 1 after 2 years.
    • Complete 4 years
  • Complete USMLE Step 2 (total of 8 years so far)
  • Complete Residency Program (minimum 3 years, can go to 8 years based on specialization)
  • Take State Board exam to practice.
  • Fellowship for additional specialty (another 2 years or so)

Residency is similar to house surgeon in India. But, house surgeon in India cannot be substituted for Residency.

Indian Doctors in US

Now, lets assume you have competed MBBS in India and you want to complete Residency in USA. You have 2 options as said earlier.

  • Get Visa to come to US to complete USMLE 3, which is offered only in USA. Indian doctors have, they have sufficient money to stay in US to complete the exam.
  • Second option is to apply for Masters degree in USA, get student F1 visa stamping.

I have seen few doctors take the second route. While studying Masters, they prepare for USMLE 3 and once they have completed USMLE Step 3, just like any other professionals, they apply for jobs in the hospitals for Residency.

Doctors are paid during Residency (minimum 3 years). After completing Residency, you have to take state board license to practice medicine in that particular state.

I know couple of doctors who came to USA for doing Masters, but they found full time job for their Masters degree. If you don’t have enough motivation to study USMLE Step3 and happy with the salary from job, you can make living with that.

Hope this blog post gave an overview about options available for Indian Doctors in US. Most of you reading this will be from Engineering background, but this will give an insight into studying medicine in USA.

  • srinivas

    I have a question regarding my brother.
    My brother is currently practicing as a Neurosurgeon in India, he completed MBBS, MS-General Surgery and MCH – Neurosurgery in India.
    What are the options / process he needs to follow to work in USA as a Neurosurgeon.
    Thanks in advance – Srini

  • http://yahoo saumya agrawal

    hello everyone!!!! need ur advice regarding usmle!! i want to do specialisation in cardiothoracic surgery from U.S. so, should i go for residency and then the specialisation immediately after mbbs or i can go for it after completing my post graduation in general surgery from India itself???? will going for the 2nd choice waste my time for i will have to do residency before going for fellowship???? can i go directly for fellowship after passing usmle if i have already done my post gradualtion???? kindly share ur knowlege regarding this!!!!
    thank u!

  • shailesh

    I am an engineer in USA will be working on F1 student visa through OPT. My wife has completed MBBS in india and planning to come to USA to pursue her career further here.
    As i am an engineer, do not have an idea about medical education/ career in USA . Please guide me.
    What are the best options and how should she start the process?

  • sayali k

    Im Postgraduate in OBGYN from medical college in india.I wish to go for fellowship programs in USA.What is the procedure & pre-requisites for that?

    • http://www.happyschoolsblog.com HSB Counselor

      Fellowship programs are very specific. You need to check the website of Medical Colleges you are interested in. This will require a good research work as you would prefer programs specific to your field of study i.e. OBGYN.
      Good Luck!

  • imeimeimei

    i am a graduate from a top medical college in india and also a green card holder acan i give usmle step 1 in usa , does it hve any differences interm of difficulty !!!

    • http://www.happyschoolsblog.com HSB Counselor

      USMLE 1 is for students who are pursuing undergraduate program in medicine. As you have already completed your MBBS in India, as suggested in the write up above, go for USMLE 3 and Residency in US. This would save some cost to you.

      • http://www.happyschoolsblog.com Raghuram Sukumar

        Correction – To get MD after MBBS, one has to complete USMLE 1 – 3.

  • johar

    can i do Mphil after MBBS in USA?
    IF YES which university you prefer?
    IF NO what are rest of the options beside doing USMLE
    i did my MBBS in 2007 n after marriage came to USA i now have my green card

  • Bharath

    Most of you reading this will be engineers. Bang on! I am a engineer, mostly fewer med school grads go to us, only the filthy rich can afford an md from us i guess. its not the same with engineers, they are jokers in a a deck of cards. They fit with any setting. I think thats why they are called smart ?:0 Kidding anyway!

    • Mohit

      i think brother u dnt kno mch about india’s current situation n crisis dat almost 80-90% of Indian engineering students are facing..due to mushrooming of thousands of engineering colleges in cheap setups of indian streets..u may be right also..but for medical students the conditions are much much better..atleast dey dont ve to think about placements..n lemme tel u onething..indian doctors are doing much better in foreign setups..n appointed at posts of directors n Head of departments in various Foreign medical universities and hospitals..so pls kindly brush up ur knowledge..a li’l bit..

  • Manu

    From experience: the reality watching so many foreign doctors go through this -

    There is no gaurantee for IMGs even by taking the ECFMG exams – Understand that the USMLE exams are just exams-like GRE. Know that ECFMG is just a testing committee. They make no promises to make you a doctor in the USA. You will pay a lot, sacrifice a lot, and can pass their exams. But it stops there. You ‘may not’ get into residency. Happens to almost 55% of the foreign doctors who pass these exams. Check the statistics they publish.

    Nobody in the USA cares about ECFMG certification -except to apply and get into residency. If you pass but did not get into residency- then that certificate is of no use. Every job or education program will want other licenses.

    Many foreign doctors not selected for residency try to re-apply for residency year after year- but after spending time, effort and money- the reality is that there are fresh applicants and so chances become smaller if an older graduate. Better is to study for other degrees then.

    So best options: if brilliant and lucky- good chance in becoming an US MD. Otherwise: If you want to be a doctor – then work in your country. If you want to live in USA- then study and get any other degree and find a job.

    Good luck and understand that you do not need to be a student forever-start earning and become part of mainstream life with a job (hopefully as a doctor), family and savings. Wherever you decide to settle :)

    • saumya agrawal

      this was really helpful. thank u so much. I m a 2nd year mbbs student and m looking forward to give the step 1 next year. Since the time i have decided for it, dilemmas and confusions engage my mind regarding my success and result of this exam. I want to go for surgery but have heard that its not good to go for it in U.S. is is true??? are indian docs not allowed to do surgery there or it is impossible to get surgery in residency???? I just want to study there, for i feel, it must be very advanced there, would help me in making my career bright. but what are the actual pros and cons of this exam??? should i proceed ?????? Thank u so much.

  • sandeep

    it’s a fine information. but i need more infos.

  • Gagan

    Hi Everyone,

    I’m an Indian doc. I want to know if I can apply for a bachelors program rather than a masters. Is it ok to do so?

  • Rachel Shore

    Are you or do you know a US board certified critical care physician who is interested in working in India for a high US salary?

  • dr yash upadhyay

    hello colleagues, i wanted to understand concept about 3 years residency programme , which is above mentioned.
    i wanted to know , that post clearing step 3 , we apply for residency ,in hospitals. so is that masters for 3 years , in various specialities ? or just to obtain state license for practising physician ? and if so. how to go about for masters after step3 , please guide


    Thank you for the post Sir

    I need to know about the carribean route. They say they prepare you for usmle in addition to doing your M.D. (=M.B.B.S. in India) and you save a year or so. Should i prefer this after high school ?? Moreover how many years does it take to complete specialisation (as a surgeon) after becoming a general physician (including residency). Do i get to practice in good hospitals(in USA) and get paid for it after completing.my residency. ,or should i be focussing on.doing M.B.B.S in India and then.coming to US.

    Thank you for your precious time.

  • Roaa

    thank you for suggestion about options for doctor

    I need to know when doctors apply for master in US

    need to take GRE & Toffel ?

    thank you

    • jimmy

      hey roaa——there are two ways . first one is u can go on visitors visa and give ur exams of usmle and cm bak .

      sacond option is u can go by getting admitted in sm masters program like health care or public health in such case u need to take up gre and toefl…….hope it helps