GME Eligibility and Licensing

All residents and fellows must meet credentialing requirements and conditions of employment, in order to work at UW Health.

Eligibility Requirements

Complete these requirements prior to start date:

  • Pass the caregiver background information check
  • Complete the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9)
  • Obtain clearance from UW Health Employee Health Services
  • Complete all required orientation activities
  • Obtain the appropriate medical license for your PG level
  • Obtain appropriate lifesaving certifications
  • Pass the USMLE or COMLEX exams for your PG level
  • Medical school graduation
  • If applicable, obtain appropriate work authorization (Green Card, EAD, or J-1 physician visa) for the current training year

View eligibility requirements for non-US citizens (PDF)

Medical Licensure

Resident Educational License

In the state of Wisconsin, residents entering training as a PGY-1 or as a PGY-2 must obtain a Resident Educational License (REL) by their clinical start date. Your appointment letter lists acquisition of a REL as a requirement prior to beginning your clinical training at UW Health.

Follow the directions to apply for your REL via LicensE, the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services’ online application portal.

Before starting the online application, gather this information:

  • Verification of completion of medical school
  • Dates of employment/training after medical school — do not leave gaps of more than 30 days between medical school graduation and starting residency/fellowship
  • Read the convictions and pending form carefully — if you have/have had convictions or currently have pending charges such as alcohol violations (including underage drinking) or drug violations, be prepared to submit required documentation

Contact the Graduate Medical Education office at (608) 263-0572, option 5, or for assistance.

Unrestricted Medical License

Your appointment letter lists acquisition of a medical license as a requirement prior to beginning your training program. Except in extraordinary circumstances, residents or fellows at the PGY-3 level or above are required to obtain an unrestricted license.

Review the directions on LicensE to apply for your Wisconsin Medical License.

Emergency Educational Center

The Emergency Education Center (EEC) provides the training for lifesaving courses.

  • For current lifesaving certification cards, EEC only accepts American Health Association (AHA) Healthcare Provider cards
  • Current residents can view available courses and schedule a certification course through the UW Health Emergency Education Center. For enrollment help, see the AHA Course Enrollment User Guide (PDF). New residents can check the MedHub new hire portal for the Lifesavings Certifications Requirements document to review instructions and requirements by program
    • New hires must obtain certifications by hire date.

Emergency Education Center (UW Health login required)

International Medical Graduates

UW Health welcomes International Medical Graduates (IMGs) to apply to residencies and fellowships.

To qualify for a residency or fellowship, IMGs must hold a valid certificate from the Educational Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

IMG Definition

An IMG is a physician who received their basic medical degree from a medical school located outside the United States and Canada. The location of the medical school, not the citizenship of the physician, determines whether the graduate is an IMG. This means that U.S. citizens who graduated from medical schools outside the U.S. and Canada are considered IMGs. Non-U.S. citizens who received their basic medical degree from a U.S. or Canadian medical school are not considered IMGs for J-1 visa purposes.

Visa Sponsorship

J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

The Educational Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is authorized by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor foreign national physicians for the J-1 visa. UW Health is a host institution for J-1 physicians sponsored by ECFMG.

To apply for a J-1 visa, an IMG must meet the following criteria:

  • Passed United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE)® step 1 and step 2 CK (or equivalent)
  • Have a valid ECFMG Certificate
  • Have a contract for a position in a program of graduate medical education or training
  • Provide a statement of need from the Ministry of Health of the country of last legal permanent residence (LPR) regardless of country of citizenship

Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

Upon completion of training in the U.S., J-1 visa holders must return to their home country to share the knowledge they gained in the U.S.

An individual must fulfill this obligation by returning to their home country for a cumulative total period of at least two years before being eligible to change or adjust nonimmigrant status or receive an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Related Links

Note: UW Health does not sponsor H-1B visas or accept F-1 OPT for Graduate Medical Education training.