The Top IMG Friendly States in the US - Why Location Matters

Why Location Matters When It Comes to Residency Match: The Top Ten IMG Friendly States in the US

February 29, 2020

IMG Friendly States

IMGPrep the Top 10 Most IMG Friendly States

When International Medical Graduates (IMGs) are considering where to apply for their US-based residency programs, they often have their own personal preferences, yet a look at trends as to which locations offer the best opportunities for a successful match is key. Having a strong, well-developed ERAS application is paramount, but a key question is where best to send that application. A savvy IMG should conduct in-depth background research to learn which locations offer the best prospects for a good match, because targeting the application in this way will increase the chances of garnering an interview. The simple fact is that some US states are more amenable to accepting IMGs than others and, thus, are considered “IMG Friendly.”


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Every year since 1952, the National Residency Match Program® (NRMP®) issues a report that is full of useful matching data on trends and statistics. The more candidates understand these trends and statistics, the more effective the targeting of their application will be.

According to the 2019 NRMP report, the following states were listed as the top ten most IMG friendly:

  • New York
  • Michigan
  • Florida
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • Texas
  • California
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts

Typically, what this means is that residency programs in these states have established a strong track record of granting interviews and matching IMG applications. Acceptance rates can vary, depending on the specialty, however, it is important to keep in mind that no state specifically excludes IMG applicants, and, overall, the trajectory is positive. Highlighting NRMP data for 2019, the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) noted that “the success rate for all IMGs in obtaining first-year residency positions was 58.8%, up from 56.6%” in 2018. This increase is part of an overall upward trend, says ECFMG, and IMGs are “experiencing the highest match rates in more than 25 years.”

Table 1.1: Top Ten IMG Friendly States in the US (according to NRMP)

So how can you improve your chances for a successful match? It is important to get professional help from a knowledgeable resource that can help you sort through the matching criteria and target the best prospects in a customized way. IMG Prep LLC has years of experience in guiding students through the process of selectively applying to residency programs.IMG Prep, LLC’s Customized Residency Program Lists offer the most detailed examination of residency programs in the US, and IMG Prep staff can help applicants save time and avoid unnecessary costs. After all, application fees can be expensive, so applications should be targeted to programs for which a candidate qualifies.

In sum, when applying to programs, it is important to make an informed decision. The more a candidate understands trends and statistics in matching criteria the more effective the targeting of their application will be. Location matters, and where a candidate sends an application is important, because the higher the receptivity of an application, the greater the chance a candidate has of securing an interview and enjoying a successful residency program experience.

IMGPrep is a leading educational consulting firm dedicated to assisting IMGs in reaching their goals, dreams, and potential. Check out our other Articles and learn more about IMGPrep services at:

IMGprep is not associated with the NRMP® or the MATCH®