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California Letter(PTAL)

by Ulrike Streit, MD

 

To pursue a residency in California or work as a physician, one needs to obtain authorisation from the Medical board of California ( www.medbd.ca.gov/ ), in form of a PTAL( Postgraduate Training Authorisation Letter) or a license.

The Application material can be downloaded on the website:

http://www.medbd.ca.gov/applicant/application_international.pdf

Or an application package can be requested webmaster@mbc.ca.gov to be sent by mail.

 

It is a very lengthy (6-9 months) and expensive process (493$, non refundable fee), so the application should be send as early as possible. When applying for residency in September it is best to start applying at the beginning of the same year. Unfortunately most residency programs in California will not consider applications without it or at least a status report on the PTAL. Not having it will definitely slim the chances for interviews.

So during the ERAS application process definitely include the PTAL Status request as your fourth Letter of recommendation!  Also do not forget to request a USMLE transcript for the Medical Board on the ECFMG website.

 

Especially for international medical graduates meeting the requirements is tough. A detailed medical transcript is required, proving that 6 weeks of core clerkships in pediatrics, 4 weeks in psychiatry and 8 weeks in surgery, 8 weeks in medicine and 4 weeks in family medicine and 6 weeks in OB/GYN have been performed. If you have performed clerkships abroad, you will also have to fill out a form (L6) for each of the clerkships and obtain a signature from each head of that department with a hospital seal and that might not always be easy to obtain a year after. The Medical Board will not accept the general attendance certificates issued by the hospitals or university after having finished the clerkship / elective.

 

Another problem for IMG’s who do not possess a Green card, is obtaining a US social security number.  Without a working permit or special visa types like J1, a social security number will not be issued. Check out the website: http://www.ssa.gov/

 

The Medical Board of California website informs that all the documents and data sent to the Board have to be complete before they will start processing it, including the social security number. After calling the Board and speaking to multiple people there, I was assured that you are permitted to send the documents without filling in a SSN at first and will not be losing the 493$ fee or be charged a 100$ penalty fee as mentioned on the website The documents will be processed, but the PTAL will not be issued until you have a SSN, meaning a job offer and work authorisation. That might make starting residency in California difficult for the unfortunate mentioned above.  

There might still be a loophole, as I was told by the Medical Board. To obtain the SSN from the Social Security office with the simple indication, that having a SSN is a requirement for the PTAL might be possible. But the Social Security office could not verify that to me yet. Written confirmation from the Medical Board, however, will not be issued to support that case.

 

Something else that needs to be obtained for the License are the fingerprints for the background check. If you are in or visiting California for some reason, try to do it there. It is the easiest way, because they have a special electronic system only in this state that will allow fast processing. It will cost an additional 20$ -30 $. (You will still have to pay the fingerprint processing fee included in the 493 $ application fee.) It is a very simple and quick process. Find locations to take fingerprints here: http://www.ag.ca.gov/fingerprints/publications/contact.php

If you do not have the chance to go to California, your fingerprints have to be taken manually with ink. Cards for that will be sent to you by the Medical Board. Especially if taken outside the US, I suspect long processing times and maybe problems with the acceptance.

 

This is as much as I know at the moment. I will keep updating information.  Good luck!

 

psychiatry requirements for IMG's

I am currently doing internship in India. According to the medical board of california, there is a requirement that says we need to do 4 weeks of psychiatry. During internship, I did 2 weeks and in my 2nd year, I did 2 weeks. Is it required that i do another 2 weeks during internship or is what I've done enough?
Thank you and I appreciate your help.

PTLA letter

Dear Umar,

I am currently in my 3rd year of M.B.B.S. from Mumbai and i wish to obtain a residency in california.
I have a green card and a SSN and i have read up a bit about the PTLA procedure however i still have a few queries.

My queries are as follows :

1. do i need a california letter for applying to california universities for CLINICAL AND RESEARCH ELECTIVES as well or this letter is only required when applying for residency?
I ask this because according to my understanding you need all your step scores ie steps 1, 2cs an 2ck submitted to the california board to obtain this letter however i would not have completed these steps before i go for electives hence the confusion.

2. do we need one year of minimum USCE in surgical branches to apply for california universities as well?

3. i'm currently preparing for step1 so i would really appreciate your guidance as to what else i can do right now to increase my odds of a surgical residency in USA

thanks a lot !

awaiting your reply,
Imran

P.S. i would really appreciate it if anyone else, who also has an idea on this, replies to my doubts. thanks a tonne !

getting work done in advance!!

aoa,

i graduated in 2011,,and did my housejob under module system which covers most of the above mentioned rotations,,,

1.i wanit to ask if the certificates provided at the end of all rotations in hjob, can they be used for california letter plus the rotations that we did during medical school can they be included in that too.

2. ill be appearing for step1 exam next yr aug,, can i get into the process of getting the letter beforehand , i dont have a green card,or citienship. will be goin to u.s in march next yr.

thanx in advance.

waiting for reply

 

do we need this ca letter for september application for match

hi sir, 

I am not sure whether we need this CA letter in hand while we apply for september 1 match if we r gonna apply for colleges in CA . ?

kindly give me a confirmation reply . so that i can start the process, though i know that its late.

what do u think of applying to colleges in CA. No use or do we indians have a chance?

Yes you do... apply for it

umar's picture

Yes you do... apply for it asap... every year many South Asians match in CA...

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

california letter


hi,


i am from india,completed mbbs 2 months ago,cleared step 1 nd 2,have green card.


1.my question is to be able to apply for residency in california,i need the letter,so if i get proof from my medical college that i did those postings there signed and stamped is it enough or is that the clerkships have to be only from a hospital in the us?


2.secondly in india there is nothing like family medicine,but there is social and preventive medicine(SPM),so getting 4weeks in that is enough?

1. it has to be from home med

umar's picture

1. it has to be from home med school..

2. i m not sure...

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

ptal

hello

I graduate from a medical school in Mexico, I want to apply to a UCLA IMG program but one of the requirements is the ptal letter...i just want some information on what it is, and steps to do it.

thanks

PTAL

Hi, I am an IMG from Mexico as well, currently doing research in Los Angeles. Any updates regarding your application?

There is sufficient

umar's picture

There is sufficient information regarding it in the above mentioned article...

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

California Letter

Hello, I graduated from a German medical school and want to get the California letter. Unfortunately, during my studies I only had 4 weeks of pediatrics and 3 weeks of OBGYN. This was the standard German time for these subjects. Now I am a finished doctor. How should I go about making up the missing required weeks now that I am finished with medical school and no longer a student??? Thank you and I appreciate your help.

Hello ba, I think I heard the

umar's picture

Hello ba, I think I heard the same quesiton from Ulrike sometime last year... well as far as I remember the only conclusion we reached with discussion from various german students and other docs, was that you could do externships(preferably) or observerships to make up for the no. of weeks.. hope it helps...

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

China Medical School

Hello 

I am studying in China,my school is listed in the california database but there they have mentioned a column as follows

Warning: Some recognized medical schools that teach in their native language are opening English language medical school programs. The English language programs are not recognized unless specifically stated, e.g., "University of Pecs Faculty Medicine" and "Pecs University Medical School English Program (6-year English Program)." The English language programs must apply for recognition and receive approval from the Medical Board of California for the education received from the English language program to be eligible to qualify an applicant for licensure requirements in California.

Can you guide me on how must i proceed?




I am sorry... I dont have any

umar's picture

I am sorry... I dont have any idea about it.

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

some questions

hello i have had 3 moths of observer in jackson memorial during my intership .Do you think , i should use the L6 form for this or just avoid it?...(this observer wast not necesary for get my medical degree)
another question ...i dont need the california letter right now,but i can fill it out and sing by my Dean in advance around 2 years in advance..

thaks very much!!!

hi paul... i m sorry i did

umar's picture

hi paul... i m sorry i did not understand ur questions... can plz express them in detail... thanks

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

SSN! the Update.

I came to USA for electives on B2 visa. We all know that we are not allowed to work on B1/B2 visa. So there is no chance of getting a work permit and thus no SSN.

I tried all measn to get a SSN. Even the drivers license office(DMV) doesnt need a SSN for a DL. Otherwise it could have issued a letter for getting a SSN for DL obtaining purposes.

Only way to get SSN is thru F1 visa, J1 visa or green card.

So people going for electives/research on F1/J1, better get a SSN and fingerprinting done.

Best Wishes.

 Thanks for the update

umar's picture

 Thanks for the update dear... 

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

ptal

what if i meet all the requirements but the psychiatry portion is there anything i can do about that i graduated in 2001 and i have attended the ward but it was just before graduation and they cannt seem to find my record  so in my transcript i have everything but psy i didnt think anything of it at that time so is ther anyhting i can do about it 

thanks 

do a psychiatry externship...

umar's picture

do a psychiatry externship...

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

Psychiatry requirements for Indian Med stds needing PTAL

This was a good query and a good article posted. Even i didnt know abt it. Indian students according to the MCI have to do only 2 weeks psychiatry clerkships(ward duty in final mbbs years). So we are short of 2 weeks. In our internship, we can choose 2 electives of 15 days. better choose one of them as psychiatry. You can do that! This way your 4 weeks requirements is met.

Students who are in internship here in India, kindly note if u aspire to get a California Letter.

Best Wishes

Query

Hello ,

Being a Final Year Student right now (for 1 more month from now), what are prospects of getting PTAL as the problem regarding SSN is mentioned here , without any green card.

Is it worth applying or not? When should i apply?

Regards

 I am sorry Deepak, I have

umar's picture

 I am sorry Deepak, I have absolutely no idea about it, anyhow if someone knows the answer to this question please post it here for others! Thanks!

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

research elective

Hi  Umarbhai,

                     I have got two months of electives in internal medicine mount sinai. For the further month should I apply for a research elective so that it shall be both clinical as well as research experience.Please let me know,

 Please post the query under

umar's picture

 Please post the query under relevant section.... this is the residency section and California Letter webpage.... tc n best of luck!

I am very busy these days and won't be replying to anymore queries. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. All the best.

nice update!

 nice update! Thanks for the info!

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