Starting on June 23rd, International Medical School Graduates (IMGs) can obtain their ERAS Token that is required in order to apply for US-based residency programs. This article provides basic information about the steps and organizations involved and offers information on changes that are taking place for the current application season in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is an ERAS token and where do I go to get one?
First of all, the ERAS token is not a tangible object. It is an eight-digit code that must be purchased in order to register with the MyERAS portal of the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). While US-based Medical Graduates were able to obtain this code through their dean’s office starting on June 3rd, IMGs must obtain theirs via ERAS Support Services of the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) starting on June 23rd.
Do I need to do anything before I apply for the token?
An important first step is to register with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). You can get started here. Applicants must have an AAMC account in order to obtain their token from ECFMG. In addition to having registered with the AAMC, you will need to have your USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 scores available to be able to enter that information into your token application. If you have not taken the USMLE exams, please visit USMLE.org for more information.
Why do I need a token in order to apply for US-based residency programs?
The token, or unique eight-digit code, is a step in the process of getting verified by the ECFMG, which is the organization that is responsible for ensuring that IMGs meet certain standards prior to entering the US for medical study and practice. According to their website, “Certification by ECFMG is the standard for evaluating the qualifications of IMG physicians before they enter U.S. graduate medical education (GME), where they provide supervised patient care. ECFMG Certification also is a requirement for IMGs to take Step 3 of the three-step United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) and to obtain an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States.”
How much does it cost to purchase an ERAS token?
As of 2020, there is a non-refundable $130.00 fee required for token issuance payable by credit card.
What do I do after receiving the ERAS token?
Upon obtaining this token, IMGs can proceed to the MyERAS portal, enter their unique token number, and start inputting their application information. Please keep in mind that the token is good for only one application season. So you cannot use last year’s token again. And you must use this year’s token before the end of the 2021 season.
What about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic? Does that change what I need to do with regard to obtaining the ERAS token?
The pandemic is creating unprecedented challenges for those organizations assisting IMGs with their residency applications. All organizations are modifying their procedures and requirements. One of the most significant changes was USMLE’s May 26th announcement that it is suspending the Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) testing for at least 12-18 months. Since the ECFMG requires that IMGs have these test scores available in order to obtain a token (and for other purposes), it is having to assess if and how it will be able to continue to certify IMGs for US-based residency and study. For more information about what ECFMG is doing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit their webpage, which contains videos, podcasts, and the latest news releases on their progress.
If I have a specific question about the token, how can I contact the ECFMG?
With regard to obtaining the token, IMGs can call or send an email. The phone number is: 215-966-3520. And the email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Applying to the Residency Match for 2020? Take a look at our article on the ERAS 2021 Timeline. Choosing the programs to apply to once you have your Token? Our customized Residency Program Lists will help, Do you have need for assistance with your application? Contact a professional advisor at IMGPrep,com today!