California is a leader and progressive state in many facets of life; technology, economic policy, social rights and medicine. This makes it the one of the most competitive state to match for residency. The speciality you are interested in, your board scores, and your overall application will determine the level of difficulty to matching in California. For International Medical Graduates, matching to a residency program in California requires a Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter or PTAL to be submitted with your ERAS application. The PTAL is also known as the California Letter.
The PTAL will take three months to one year to complete, so it needs to be done well before your anticipated time to apply. It is valid for one year and can be renewed yearly. The process is lengthy and complicated. We will be happy to assist you in procuring the PTAL if we feel you are a realistic candidate for California.
The application can be found at http://www.mbc.ca.gov/Forms/Applicants/application_ptal.pdf
Specifics requirements of the application can be reviewed on the application form, however, the following is an overview of the process and requirements.
Step 1: Determine Minimum Eligibility Requirements
- a. Ensure your medical school is recognized by the California Board of Medicine Refer to http://www.mbc.ca.gov/Applicants/Medical_Schools/Schools_Recognized.aspx
- b. Disclosure of Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if online system is used. SSN or ITIN is not required for a mail-in application, however it is required for the actual issuance of PTAL.
- c. Passed USMLE 1 and 2 Clinical Skills and Clinical Knowledge Components
- d. ECFMG certification
Step 2: Begin the application
Begin the application for California Licensure, payment of $491.00 and completion of forms L1A-L1F. The easiest way to do this is through the online BreEZe system found at http://www.mbc.ca.gov/Applicants/Physicians_and_Surgeons/
Step 3: Send fingerprints.
This can be done via fingerprint card through regular post or preferably through LiveScan fingerprint process, which requires your fingerprints to be taken at a LiveScan facility in California.
Step 4: Your medical school is required to send the following forms directly to the California
Board of Medicine
- a. Form L2- Certificate of Medical Education
- b. Official Medical School Transcript
- c. Certified copy of your diploma
- d. Certified English Translations as applicable
- e. Form L5: Certificate of Clinical Training- A report of ALL clinical clerkships
- f. Form L6: Certificate of Individual Clinical Clerkships- A report of clerkships done OUTSIDE of primary training center
Step 5: Send miscellaneous documents
- a. ECFMG Certification Status report must be mailed directly to the California Board
- b. Certified Transcripts of USMLE Step 1 and 2 (CS and CK) must be sent directly
- to the California Board
- c. Curriculum Vitae
- d. Complete Timeline from graduation of medical school until present
Your application is required to be reviewed by the Board within 60 days at which time the PTAL will be issued, denied or missing/incomplete documentation may be requested.
California is a beautiful state and the medical training is excellent. It is highly competitive among U.S. graduates, and even more so among international students. Careful consideration on where and how to apply is crucial. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have, we are here to help.