banner background

Physicians and Surgeons

A Physician or Surgeon (M.D.) is an individual issued a license allowing them to practice medicine. A physician may diagnose, prescribe, and administer treatment to individuals suffering from injury or disease.

 Apply Early! - License Application Processing Times

Physicians and Surgeons

The Board issues Physician's and Surgeon's (P&S) Licenses to allow the practice of medicine in California, in which you may diagnose, prescribe, and administer treatment to individuals suffering from injury or disease.

Physician's and Surgeon's License

To be eligible for a P&S License, you must have:

  • Attended and graduated from a U.S., Canadian, or an international medical school approved by the Board pursuant to Business and Professions Code (BPC) section 2084;
  • Received credit for either 12 (United States and Canadian medical school graduates) or 24 (international medical school graduates) months of board-approved postgraduate training (BPC section 2096); and
  • Passed all required examinations (BPC section 2170).

Board-approved postgraduate training is training accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) if completed in the United States and its territories, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and/or The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) if completed in Canada.

If you have received credit for 12/24 months of Board-approved postgraduate training in another state or in Canada and are accepted into a California ACGME-accredited postgraduate training program, you shall obtain your P&S License within 180 days after beginning your postgraduate training program. If you do not obtain your P&S License, you must cease all clinical service at the end of the 180 days. All clinical service thereafter shall constitute unlicensed practice and you will be subject to disciplinary action. (BPC section 2065(g))

P&S Initial License Renewal Requirement

As a requirement of the initial license renewal, you must provide verification of receiving credit for 36 months of Board-approved postgraduate training.

If your training was part of the MD-integrated Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) postgraduate training program, then you must provide evidence of receiving credit for at least 24 months of postgraduate training accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) to meet the initial renewal requirement. CODA-accredited postgraduate training must be part of an oral and maxillofacial surgery postgraduate training program after receiving a medical degree from a combined dental and medical degree program.

You are NOT required to provide this documentation of postgraduate training after the issuance of your P&S License if you:

  • Provided verification of receiving credit for 36 months of board-approved postgraduate training, or
  • Are licensed pursuant to BPC sections 2135, 2135.5, 2151, 2428, or if you used experience under a BPC 2113 Special Permit to qualify for a P&S license.

Proof of the required postgraduate training must be mailed to the Board and postmarked no later than 60 days after the initial license expiration date to be considered by the Board. Please note that your license will be automatically placed in delinquent status pending review if you do not submit proof of the required postgraduate training within sufficient time for the Board to process it before the end of the 60 days.

For licenses issued January 1, 2024, or later, proof of the postgraduate training required for renewal must be submitted to the Board before the license expiration date, as the initial license will be issued for a period of two years and 60 days to allow additional time to provide the Board the required documents. After the first renewal, the license is only valid for a two-year period until the next renewal.

Expedited and Priority Review

The Board may give your application for a P&S License priority or expedited review if you:

  • Have served as an active-duty member of the United States Armed Forces and were honorably discharged;
  • Have received and accepted an offer of employment to work in an area of California formally designated as an underserved area or underserved population;
  • Are going to provide abortions within the scope of practice of your medical license;
  • Are a spouse of, or in a domestic partnership or other legal union with, an active-duty member of the United States Armed Forces who is assigned to a duty station in California under official active-duty military orders; or
  • You were admitted to the United States as a Refugee, granted Asylum, or have a Special Immigrant Visa Status.

You must submit the required documentation with your application to receive priority review. Please review additional requirements and required supporting documents on the Priority Review and Expedited Application Process.

P&S Temporary License

If you are a spouse of, or in a domestic partnership or other legal union with, an active-duty member of the United States Armed Forces who is assigned to a duty station in California under official active-duty military orders, you may qualify for a P&S Temporary License. For detailed information, visit the Physician's and Surgeon's Temporary License webpage.

P&S Limited Practice License

If you are eligible for a P&S License but are unable to practice some aspects of medicine safely due to disability, visit the Limited Practice License webpage for detailed information.

Professional License Portability and State Registration for Service Members and their Spouses

The federal Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) authorizes service members or their spouses who currently hold a valid license in good standing in another state, district, or territory to practice in California within the same profession or vocation, if they relocate to California because of military orders. For individuals who desire to practice in California under the terms of the SCRA, please visit:

How to Apply for a Physician's and Surgeon's License

If you have or have ever held a Postgraduate Training License (PTL), refer to the Transition from a PTL to a Physician's and Surgeon's License application page.

Third Party Services

You may use electronic commercial services to assist in completing your application for licensure. The Board does not mandate any of the electronic services. For additional information, visit the Third Party Services webpage. The Board is providing this information as a convenience to you.

To allow sufficient time for processing and remediating deficiencies, the Board strongly encourages you to submit your Application for a Physician's and Surgeon's License six months in advance.

Apply Online

All applicants must apply online. Applicants without an SSN or ITIN should email the Board at for information on how to apply for a license.

BEFORE APPLYING, read the Application for a Physician's and Surgeon's License Information & Checklist as a guide through the license application process.

To apply online, you must complete the following using the Board's BreEZe online services system.

  1. Answer the application questions.
  2. Pay all required fees.
  3. Attach a copy of completed Request for Live Scan Service for electronic fingerprints, if applicable.
  4. Attach a completed Notification of Name Change if you recently changed your legal name (i.e., first, middle, and/or last name) or if some of the supporting documents may have a variation of your alias or previous legal name, if applicable.
  5. Attach Explanation to Application Question (Form EXP), if applicable
  6. Attach Timeline of Activities (Form TOA), if applicable (FCVS TOA without gaps is acceptable)
  7. Attach supporting documents verifying request to expedite the licensing process, if applicable

To complete the application process, the Board must receive the items below. Contact the appropriate program or organization to proceed with items you are not responsible for submitting.

You must submit:

The certification/examination organization must submit:

The medical school(s) attended must submit all document(s) through the Board's Direct Online Certification Submission (DOCS) portal, Third Party Services, or by mail:

The training program(s) must submit all form(s) through the DOCS portal, Third Party Services, or by mail:

Wallet Card and Wall Certificate: Once your P&S License is issued, you may generate and immediately print your own wallet license using the Board's Wallet License Generator. A wallet license will not be mailed to you. The Board will mail your wall certificate to your address of record within two to four weeks.

Note: Do not complete this application packet if you are applying for licensure as an osteopathic physician and surgeon. Please contact the Osteopathic Medical Board of California at (916) 928-8390 for an application and further information.