Physicians and Surgeons

The Board has transitioned to a new data system, California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) BreEZe Online Services. If you submitted a Physician’s and Surgeon’s application prior to October 1, 2013, the deficiency information displayed online may be inaccurate. Please refer to your most recent status letter to determine the items you may need to submit.

We ask that you not continuously contact the Board to determine receipt of items. Calls and emails are returned in the order received and will most likely take one or more days before they are returned due to the high volume of calls and emails received. Please be patient and do not leave multiple messages regarding the same issue. In addition, please note that the Board’s analysts have a heavy application workload and each call or email takes away from time available to review applications and documents. You will be notified via mail or email if there are any missing documents or issues with your application.

We thank you in advance for your patience while we are in transition to the new data system.

General Information

To be eligible for a Physician’s and Surgeon’s license, applicants must have received all of their medical school education from and graduated from a medical school recognized or approved by the Medical Board of California or must meet the requirements of Business and Professions Code section 2135.7. The medical school's name must exactly match the name on the Board's list of recognized medical schools. Prior to submitting an application, please refer to the Board’s website to verify your medical school is recognized:

If you did not attend or graduate from a recognized or approved medical school you may be eligible for licensure pursuant to section 2135.7 of the Business and Professions Code (effective 1/2013).

Section 31(e) of the Business and Professions Code allows the State Board of Equalization and the Franchise Tax Board to share taxpayer information with the Board. An application for licensure may be denied and a license issued by the Board may be suspended if a state tax obligation is not paid (Business and Professions Code section 494.5). Disclosure of your United States Social Security Number is mandatory. Section 30 of the Business and Professions Code and Public Law 94-455 (42 USCA 405 (c)(2)(c)) authorizes collection of your social security number. An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is not acceptable. Reporting a number on your application that is not your U.S. Social Security Number may be grounds for denial of licensure.

As an applicant, you personally are responsible for all information disclosed on your application, Forms L1A-L1F, including any responses that may have been completed on your behalf by others. An application may be denied based upon omission, falsification or misrepresentation of any item or response on the application or any attachment. The Medical Board of California considers violations of an ethical nature to be a serious breach of professional conduct.

General Questions About Licensure

  • Does California issue a resident or training license?
    No. California only issues a license which allows a person to practice medicine in California. However, an exemption to licensure is offered to residents who graduated from a US or Canadian medical school who are early in their postgraduate (PG) training program (as discussed in the following question).

    NOTE: US/Canadian medical school graduates (US/Can) must complete the Postgraduate Training Registration Form, which the GME Office will submit to the Medical Board (Board). This notice is required so that your participation in a California training program is registered with the Board.

    International medical graduates (IMGs) who are not yet eligible for licensure and wish to participate in postgraduate training in California must apply to the Board for a Postgraduate Authorization Training Letter (PTAL), which must be issued prior to commencing training in California. The GME Office must also submit a Postgraduate Training Registration Form once the international medical school graduate starts training in California.
  • How much training must I complete before I am eligible for licensure?
    A US/Can must complete 12 continuous months of training in a single program to be eligible for licensure. Further, a US/Can must be licensed by the end of the 24th month of training. In calculating these months, the Board counts all approved training in the US (ACGME) or Canada (RCPSC), whether or not credit was granted.

    An IMG must complete 24 months of training to be eligible for licensure; the final 12 months used towards eligibility must be continuous and in a single program. Further, an IMG must be licensed by the end of the 36th month of training. In calculating these months, the Board counts all approved training in the US (ACGME) or Canada (RCPSC), whether or not credit was granted.
  • Should I report incomplete postgraduate training on the application? Is Form L3A/L3B required?
    Yes. You are required to document all postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) on the application, whether or not the program was completed or credit was granted. You must have the current program director complete the Form L3A/L3B to document your dates of training for each program.
  • What are the costs related to licensure?
    There are two fees involved in the licensing process. The first fee is the application fee, which is $491 and includes the $49 non-refundable fingerprint processing fee. This combined fee must be paid before the review of your application can begin.

    Once your application is complete, you must pay an initial license fee of $808 before a license can be issued. However, if you are enrolled in an ACGME/RCPSC training program on the date you apply or are licensed, you are eligible for a 50 percent reduction of the initial license fee. To be eligible for the reduced fee, your program must document your current enrollment in the program; a payment of $416.50 will be required.
  • How do I know if I am entitled to pay the reduced license fee when I apply?
    Eligibility for the reduced license fee is based upon your enrollment in an approved postgraduate training program at the time your application is submitted or licensed (Title 16 California Code of Regulations Section 1321).
  • Can I charge my application fee by phone?
    No. However, you may use the Board’s online licensing processing process (BreEZe) if you wish to pay the fee by credit card. Please be aware, you must have a U.S. Social Security number to use the BreEZe online licensing system.
  • Do I have to pay both the application fee and the license fee when I apply?
    • If you use the BreEZe online system, you must pay both the application fee and the license fee to submit your application.
    • If you only wish to pay the application fee when submitting your application, you must submit a paper application.
  • How do I send monies to the Board?
    You may print out a Licensing Fee Invoice Form and include your name, date of birth, file number and amount due, and include it with your payment.
  • When should I apply for licensure?
    Since a US/Canadian medical school graduate is not eligible for licensure until one year of training has been completed and documented by the Program Director, you should not submit your application until after the first six months of training have been completed. Please do not wait to submit an application until all documentation is complete.

    Further, documentation relating to your application can be submitted at any time; you do not need to wait until your application has been submitted, as that may delay the review. The Board will retain documents for 6 months; if you do not submit your application and fees in that time frame, the documents will be destroyed through confidential destruction.

    IMGs who have been issued a PTAL have already met the educational requirements. Once the postgraduate training and final examination requirements have been met, additional forms will be needed to complete the application for licensure.
  • Should I take Step 3 before I apply for licensure?
    You are not required to take and pass the USMLE Step 3 before you apply; however, a license will not be issued to any applicant who has not passed all three steps. To obtain licensure in California, you must pass Step 3 within four attempts. Please refer to Section 2177 of the Business and Professions Code for specific details.

    A PTAL cannot be issued to an IMG until the applicant has passed Step 1 and both components of Step 2 (Clinical Skills and Clinical Knowledge) and a license will not be issued until you have passed Step 3.
  • How long is my license valid?
    Upon approval of your application file and payment of the initial license fee, your license will be issued and will be valid until the last day of your second birth month after licensure. The expiration date is based on your birth month–not birth date. If you choose to wait until your birth month for licensure by submitting the Birth Month Licensure Request Form, then your license will be valid for a full 24-month period. Should you choose to be licensed as soon as possible, your license may be valid for as few as 13 months – depending upon when you reach the second birth month after licensure.
  • If I am unable to practice all aspects of medicine safely due to a disability, can I still get a license?
    Yes, California offers a Limited Practice License to physicians. To apply:
    • Complete the Limited Practice License, Form LPL, to elect to apply for the Limited Practice License. This form is to advise the Board that you wish to apply for the Limited Practice License and consent to sign an agreement to abide by the practice limitations indicated in the independent clinical evaluation and any further conditions or terms set forth by the Board.
    • A clinical evaluation must be performed by a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and/or treatment of disabilities of the same nature as your disability and is familiar with your area of medical practice. The reviewing physician must have a current valid California license with no history of discipline and may not have any personal, professional, business, or social relationship with you.
  • What if I move or change my name after I have submitted my application?
    If you move after you have submitted your application, you must submit an Applicant Address Change Request Form. This form may be faxed or mailed to the Board.

    If you change your name after you have submitted an application, you must submit a signed Notification of Name Change form, along with photocopy or electronic copy of a current government-issued photographic identification (e.g., driver license, alien registration, passport, etc.) and one of the following legal documents as proof of the name change:
    • Marriage Certificate
    • Dissolution of marriage (divorce)
    • Certified Court Order
    The form and supporting documents must be mailed to the Board.
  • Can I submit a 2 x 2 inch passport photo on the L1F form?
    Yes. The photo must meet the instruction specifications. It must be recent and of your head and shoulder area only.
  • Will you discard or destroy any documentation received prior to my application?
    Any documents received prior to your application will be maintained for six months. If you do not submit your application and fees in that time frame, the documents will be destroyed through confidential destruction.

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How Long Does it Take to Get a License or a PTAL?

  • What are the time frames for getting licensed?
    To be considered an applicant, you must submit both the application and the application fee. All application forms and supporting materials are stamped with the date and time they are received in the office.

    Once an application and the application fee have been received, staff must complete the initial review within 60 working days, although this often occurs in less time. The applicant then is notified in writing of the application status and given an itemized list of documents needed to complete the file. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that any missing documents are sent to the Board. These subsequent documents also will be reviewed in order of receipt. The length of time it takes to obtain a license is related to how long it takes for all required documents to be received at the Board.

    If the application is complete and approved upon first review (including receipt of the initial license fee) a license will be issued promptly, unless you have requested Birth Month Licensure by submitting the Birth Month Licensure Request Form. Birth Month Licensure is not available for a PTAL.
  • Can I pay an extra fee to have my application expedited?
    The Board reviews applications in the order in which they are received. You cannot pay a fee to expedite the review of your application. When deciding when to apply, please allow sufficient time for all your documents to be received and reviewed by the Board, particularly if you have a deadline for licensure or the issuance of a PTAL.
  • How will I know if there are missing documents or other issues with my application?
    You will be notified if there are any missing documents or issues with your application once the application is reviewed. You will receive a deficiency letter from the Board.
  • If I apply online, do I still have to mail in a signed and notarized copy of my application with my picture?
    You must submit a signed, notarized copy of the Form L1F (with your photo attached) if you submit your application online.
  • What constitutes a “submitted application”?
    An application is considered “submitted” when the Board has received:
    • All applicable fees
    • Forms L1A through L1F
    • Paper L1F Form (for online applicants only)
  • Can I call or email my analyst if I have questions or want to check on my application’s status?
    You may call or email your analyst. Calls and emails are returned in the order received and will most likely take one or more days before they are returned due to the high volume of calls and emails received. Please be patient and do not leave multiple messages regarding the same issue. In addition, please note that the Board’s analysts have a heavy application work load and each call or email takes away from time available to review applications and documents. You will be notified if there are any missing documents or issues with your application.
  • How long do I have to complete the application process?
    You have one year from the date the application was received by the Board to complete your application. Applications incomplete after 1 year are considered “abandoned” and may be destroyed (including all supporting documentation). If you wish to keep your application open, you must resubmit Forms L1A-L1F prior to the date of the previous application’s expiration date. Please note that the Board may close an application if the applicant fails to show progress toward licensure.

    If your previous application was abandoned, any subsequent application will be treated as a new application and you will be required to meet all licensure requirements in effect at the time of the subsequent application. You must also resubmit all required documentation (including new fingerprints), and pay the application fee.

    For additional information on what “failure to complete the application” means, please see Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations, Section 1306.
  • How long will it take for me to receive my license once it is issued?
    Please allow 2-4 weeks from the date of issuance to receive your pocket identification card and wall certificate.

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Questions Regarding Examinations

  • Are there any other exams besides the USMLE that are acceptable for licensure?
    The USMLE examinations are the most common examinations used for meeting the examination requirement. However, Title 16, Section 1328 of the California Code of Regulations includes a complete list of other acceptable examinations.
  • How are my examination scores verified?
    The Board must receive verification of your exam scores directly from the appropriate organization(s). Verification of examination scores may be obtained by contacting the following agencies:

    Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB)
    • Phone: (817) 868-4041
    Medical Council of Canada (MCC)
    • Phone: (613) 521-6012
    National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME)
    • Phone: (215) 590-9500
    Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates
    • Phone: (215) 386-5911

    Note: Although the Board does not require you to submit a FCVS package, if you choose to do so, the provided score report may be used. Please have the appropriate organization(s) send the examination scores directly to the Board's Sacramento headquarters address:

    Medical Board of California
    Licensing Program
    2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1200
    Sacramento, CA 95815

  • How long are my test scores valid?
    For purposes of licensure, passing scores on a written examination are valid for a period of 10 years from the month of the examination. This period of validity may be extended by the Board for good cause and time spent in a postgraduate training program, including, but not limited to, residency training, fellowship training, remedial or refresher training, or other training that is intended to maintain or improve medical skills. The 10-year period also may be extended if you are licensed and practicing in another state; you will receive definitive information relative to your status upon receipt of a complete application.
  • Do I need to document all of my attempts at the written licensing examinations?
    Yes. You must document each attempt for each written licensing examination. If additional space is necessary, provide the information on the Addendum to Question #15 Form. If applying for licensure, California law requires that you must pass Step 3 of the USMLE within not more than four attempts.
  • Can I submit all of my application information via FCVS – Federation Credentials Verification Service Application?
    No. The Board accepts FCVS as a courtesy to applicants. FCVS is NOT a requirement for filing a Physician’s and Surgeon’s Application in California. You may request FCVS to submit directly to the Board your “Medical Professional Information Profile”. The Board will review the information provided, along with your application, and determine, on an individual basis, the items that will be accepted from FCVS. The Board will usually accept the following documentation from FCVS:
    • Examination Test scores;
    • Medical School Transcripts (if provided to FCVS directly from the medical school; transcripts submitted by the applicant to FCVS are not acceptable);
    • Medical School Diploma (if provided to FCVS directly from the medical school; diplomas submitted by the applicant to FCVS are not acceptable);
    • Verification of Postgraduate Training may be accepted in lieu of Form L3A & B – Certificate of Completion of ACGME/RCPSC Postgraduate Training Form (if provided to FCVS directly from the ACGME/RCPSC training program); and
    • ECFMG certification Status Report for international medical school graduates (if provided directly to FCVS by ECFMG).

    The Board does not accept the following documentation from FCVS:

    • Letters of Good Standing / License Verifications; and
    • Timeline of Activities.
    Whether or not you choose to use FCVS, you must still submit Forms L1A-L1F of the application. The L2 – Certificate of Medical Education, L4 – Current Postgraduate Training Enrollment (if applicable), L5 – Certificate of Clinical Training (if applicable), and L6 – Certificate of Individual Clerkship Training (if applicable) forms must also be submitted directly from the appropriate organization to the Board.

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Questions Regarding Fingerprints

  • Do I have to get fingerprinted?
    Yes. In California, the process is completed using Live Scan, which is an electronic fingerprinting process. Your prints will be sent to both the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to search for any criminal history. Out-of-state applicants may submit the traditional paper fingerprint cards approved to be used in California or come to California to use Live Scan.
  • I don’t live in California; how can I get paper fingerprint cards?
    If you live out of state, once you have submitted your application and fees, the Board will automatically send fingerprint cards to you. If you have already submitted your fees and application but have not yet received the fingerprint cards, you may contact the Board’s Consumer Information Unit at 1-800-633-2322 to request that they be mailed to you. You may have your fingerprints taken by a local law enforcement agency or any other business approved for fingerprinting.
  • I already have been fingerprinted previously; can the Medical Board access those prints?
    No. Federal law allows a Criminal Records Report to be released only to the requesting agency. You will need to undergo the fingerprinting and criminal history check process again specifically for the Medical Board.

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Questions About Criminal Convictions

  • Must I disclose all criminal convictions, even minor offenses in college?
    You must disclose all convictions as well as all cases in which you pled guilty or nolo contendere, even if they have been expunged pursuant to Section 1203.4 of the Penal Code. This includes every citation, infraction, misdemeanor and/or felony, including traffic violations. Convictions that were adjudicated in the juvenile court or convictions under California Health and Safety Code sections 11357(b), (c), (d), (e), or section 11360(b) which are two years or older should NOT be reported. Convictions that were later expunged from the record of the court or set aside pursuant to section 1203.4 of the California Penal Code or equivalent non-California law MUST be disclosed.

    Applicants should be aware that the Board receives information regarding actions that have been dismissed or expunged, and the application forms advise applicants to disclose all prior convictions including those that have been dismissed or expunged. If in doubt as to whether a conviction should be disclosed, it is best to disclose the conviction on the application. Please be aware, the Board will be notified of all future criminal actions through subsequent reports from the DOJ and/or the FBI.
  • What happens if I fail to disclose information on a criminal conviction?
    As an applicant, you are personally responsible for all information disclosed on your application, Forms L1A-L1F, including any responses that may have been completed on your behalf by others. An application may be denied based upon omission, falsification or misrepresentation of any item or response on the application or any attachment. The Board considers violations of an ethical nature to be a serious breach of professional conduct.
  • I was arrested but not convicted of a crime. How should I respond to the Criminal Record questions?
    You are not required to disclose an arrest which did not result in a conviction.
  • I received traffic tickets (sometimes called a citation); how should I respond to Question 55 on the L1E Form?
    Question #55 on the L1E directs you to include all citations, infractions, misdemeanors and felonies, including traffic violations.
  • How might a criminal conviction affect my application for licensure or a PTAL application?
    The Board frequently receives questions about criminal convictions and how they could affect an application for a physician's and surgeon's license and/or an application for a Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter (PTAL).

    The Board is unable to provide legal advice to applicants or their representatives. Every situation is unique and is addressed on an individual basis. The Board reviews each conviction based not only on the conviction itself in relation to the statutes, but also on the underlying issues that led to the conviction.

    The Board does receive information regarding actions that have been expunged, and the application forms advise applicants to disclose all prior convictions, including those that have been expunged. In addition, pending charges must be reported by an applicant immediately upon notification of the charge. The Board will learn of these actions through the fingerprint criminal history check.

    A conviction that does not, at first glance, appear to be substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of a physician, may, under closer scrutiny, be revealed otherwise (e.g.; reckless driving, DUIs, and sex crimes). All information related to an applicant's criminal history is considered. The specific conviction; when it occurred; the circumstances surrounding the conviction; the number of convictions; compliance with the court's terms and conditions; and rehabilitation are all factors considered when determining an applicant's eligibility for licensure. Failure to disclose a conviction is considered to be dishonest, and therefore an egregious breach of ethics and is unprofessional conduct. The failure to disclose a conviction is grounds for the Board to deny an application for licensure or PTAL.

    The Board has three options relative to licensure/PTAL: issue a license or PTAL; deny a license or PTAL; or issue a probationary license. These actions must be substantiated by appropriate evidence.

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Questions Regarding Recognized Medical Schools

  • How do I find out if my medical school is approved or recognized by the Board?
    You may select the link below to determine whether your school is on the Board’s recognized medical school list. US and Canadian medical schools that are accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) are recognized by the Board. International medical schools that the Board has determined have met the requirements for recognition under California law are also recognized.

    It is the Board’s policy that the name of your medical school, as indicated on your diploma and transcripts, must match the name on the Board’s recognized school list exactly.

  • What if my medical school is not on the Board’s list of recognized medical schools?
    A medical school may request recognition by the Board by sending a written request (on school letterhead, in English, signed by the dean, rector, or principal of the medical school) to the Board at the following address:

    Medical Board of California
    Licensing Program
    2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1200
    Sacramento, CA 95815

    After receiving an official request for recognition from the school, the Board will request specific information from the school that will allow the Board to determine whether it may be eligible for recognition under California law. This process may be lengthy, depending upon the school’s response time and whether multiple requests and responses are needed.
  • If I attended an “English Language” or “English Medium” program at a recognized medical school, does that mean my program is recognized by the Board?
    No. Recognition of a school’s native language program does not include any English Language, English Medium or “International” programs offered at the school. English Language programs fall under a separate category of California law and must go through an in-depth review process to determine eligibility for recognition. If a school’s English Language Program is recognized by the Board, it will be specifically noted on the Board’s recognized school list.
  • What if my medical school becomes recognized, but the recognition does not cover the dates I attended?
    If you attended a medical school that becomes recognized, but the recognition does not cover the entire period of your attendance at the school, you will not be eligible for postgraduate training in California, but you may be eligible for licensure after meeting certain requirements. California Business and Professions Code Section 2135.5 and 2135.7 provide pathways to licensure for individuals in the above situation if they satisfy certain requirements.

    Business and Professions Code Section 2135.5 requirements:

    • The applicant has held an unlimited and unrestricted license to practice medicine in another state continuously for a period of at least FOUR years prior to the date of application (any time spent by the applicant in an approved postgraduate training program or clinical fellowship is not included in the calculation of the four year period);
    • The applicant is certified by a specialty board approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties;
    • No disciplinary action has been taken against the applicant by any medical licensing authority;
    • The applicant has not been the subject of adverse judgments or settlements resulting from the practice of medicine that constitutes a pattern of negligence or incompetence;
    • The applicant has not committed any acts or crimes constituting grounds for denial of licensure.
  • What if my medical school chooses not to apply for recognition?
    Although some medical schools will choose not to apply for recognition by the Board, you may still be eligible for licensure in California if you qualify under Business and Professions Code Section 2135.7. This section of California law allows individuals who attend unrecognized medical schools to be eligible for consideration for licensure. Some of the requirements include, but are not limited to:
    • The applicant has held an unlimited and unrestricted license to practice medicine in another state or states and has held that license and continuously practiced for a period of at least TEN years prior to the date of application. At least five of the ten years of licensure must be continuously in a single state or federal territory. Continuous licensure includes any postgraduate training after 24 months in an ACGME or RCPSC accredited program.
    • The applicant is certified by a specialty board approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties;
    • The applicant has successfully taken and passed the required examinations.
    • The applicant has successfully completed three years of postgraduate training in an approved AGME or RCPSC accredited program.
    • No disciplinary action has been taken against the applicant by any medical licensing authority;
    • The applicant has not been the subject of adverse judgments or settlements resulting from the practice of medicine that constitutes a pattern of negligence or incompetence;
    • The applicant has not committed any acts or crimes constituting grounds for denial of licensure.
    Business & Professions Code Section 2135.7
  • What if I attended a school on the Board’s disapproved list?
    If you attended a disapproved medical school, you may still be eligible for licensure in California if you qualify under Business and Professions Code Section 2135.7. This section of California law allows individuals who attend disapproved medical schools to be eligible for consideration for licensure. Some of the requirements include, but are not limited to:
    • The applicant has held an unlimited and unrestricted license to practice medicine in another state or states and has held that license and continuously practiced for a period of at least TWELVE years prior to the date of application. At least five of the twelve years of licensure must be continuously in a single state or federal territory. Continuous licensure includes any postgraduate training after 24 months in an ACGME or RCPSC accredited program.
    • The applicant is certified by a specialty board approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties;
    • The applicant has successfully taken and passed the required examinations.
    • The applicant has successfully completed three years of postgraduate training in an approved AGME or RCPSC accredited program.
    • No disciplinary action has been taken against the applicant by any medical licensing authority;
    • The applicant has not been the subject of adverse judgments or settlements resulting from the practice of medicine that constitutes a pattern of negligence or incompetence;
    • The applicant has not committed any acts or crimes constituting grounds for denial of licensure.
    Business & Professions Code Section 2135.7
  • I attended more than one medical school; do I need to document all of the institutions I attended on the application?
    Yes. You must document all institutions you attended. Each institution must complete the Certificate of Medical Education, Form L2. Additionally, certified copies of medical school transcripts must be provided from each institution you attended.
  • Can I provide a certified or notarized copy of my transcripts or diploma?
    No. You must request certified copies of these documents be sent directly from your medical school to the Medical Board of California. Certified copies must:
    • Have the original signature of the dean or registrar of the medical school;
    • Be affixed with the official school seal; and
    • Include a statement attesting that the copy is a true and correct copy of the original.

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Questions About the Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter (PTAL)

  • What is a PTAL and who needs to have one?
    A Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter, or PTAL, is a document issued by the Board that authorizes an individual to seek and commence ACGME accredited training in California. International medical graduates who are not yet eligible for licensure and wish to participate in postgraduate training in California must have a current PTAL at the time they commence postgraduate training.
  • When should I apply for a PTAL?
    California law requires you to have a PTAL at the time you commence postgraduate training. A PTAL cannot be issued until the applicant has passed Step 1 and both components of Step 2 (Clinical Skills and Clinical Knowledge) of the USMLE examination in addition to other requirements. If you need a PTAL by a particular date, please allow time for documents to arrive from your medical school and be reviewed by the Board when determining when you will submit your PTAL application. You may apply up to nine months prior to your anticipated graduation date.
  • How long is my PTAL valid?
    Your PTAL is valid for a one year period. If you wish to renew your PTAL for an additional year, you must resubmit forms L1A-L1F, an updated Timeline of Activities, and a current Curriculum Vitae (CV). If you have been in an ACGME program for at least one year, you will also need to submit L3A/B and L4 forms. If you have previously submitted a L4 form, it is not necessary to submit another one unless you have changed programs.
  • How long can I hold a PTAL before I am required to become licensed?
    Graduates of international medical schools may engage in three years of ACGME accredited postgraduate training without a license. In calculating the maximum three years of training, the Board calculates all approved training completed in the U.S. and Canada, whether or not any credit was granted. At the end of the three-year period, you must be licensed or all clinical activities in California facilities must cease.
  • Do I have to have a social security number to apply for a PTAL?
    You may apply for a PTAL without having a Social Security Number, but you must have a Social Security Number before the Board can issue you a PTAL. A social security number is required to register for the BreEZe online application system; therefore, if you do not have a Social Security Number, you will not be able to apply online.
  • Which USMLE exams must I pass before applying for a PTAL?
    A PTAL cannot be issued until the applicant has passed USMLE Step 1 and both components of Step 2 (Clinical Skills and Clinical Knowledge).
  • Do I have to submit my USMLE scores from FSMB if I have already submitted my ECFMG Certification Status Report?
    Yes. You must submit both the ECFMG Certification Status Report and your USMLE scores.
  • I do not have my PTAL; can you provide me with a letter indicating my application is in progress for the purpose of filing the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS)?
    No. You may use the initial confirmation letter you receive from the Board indicating that your application has been received, or you may use any of the deficiency letters sent informing you of missing items. Both letters provide evidence that you have submitted an application.
  • Do I need to complete the Birth Month License Request Form for a PTAL?
    No. A PTAL is used once all requirements have been met. Birth month licensure is only available when applying for a license, not a PTAL.
  • Do I need to fill out an L4 Form if the L3A-L3B says all the same information?
    Yes. In order to qualify for the reduced license fee, you must submit the L4 form.

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Questions About Translations of Documents

  • Do I have to have my transcripts and diplomas translated if they aren’t in English?
    Transcripts, diplomas and any other academic documents prepared in a language other than English will need to be accompanied by a certified English translation. Please refer to the Translation of International Academic Credentials information sheet for details regarding acceptable English translations. The certified translation must be mailed directly from the translator to the Board to be acceptable.

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Questions About Clinical Rotations

  • What are the minimum requirements for clinical rotations?
    Clinical instruction must total at least 72 weeks. Of those 72 weeks, you must have at least 40 weeks of instruction in the core clinical courses of surgery (8 weeks), medicine (8 weeks), family medicine (4 weeks), pediatrics (6 weeks), obstetrics and gynecology (6 weeks), and psychiatry (4 weeks). Business and Professions Code Section 2089.5 provides additional information on clinical instruction requirements.
  • How do I know if my clinical rotations will be accepted?
    In general, clinical rotations may be acceptable if they are conducted:
    • at your medical school’s teaching hospital;
    • in a US facility that has an ACGME accredited program in the specialty in which you are doing the rotation; or
    • in an institution that your medical school has an affiliation agreement with that has been previously approved by the Medical Board of California.
    Please do not contact the Board to ask if your rotation will be acceptable. Until you submit an application and processing fees to the Board and receive the required documents from your medical school and the facilities where you completed clinical rotations, the Board is unable to determine if your undergraduate clinical training meets the requirements of Section 2089.5 of the Business and Professions Code. If a rotation is not acceptable and needs to be remediated, you will be notified. Please contact your medical school for further assistance.

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