Initial Certification for Interventional Radiology

Alternate Pathway (International Medical Graduates)

Last verified on June 19, 2024

Prerequisites and Requirements

An international medical graduate who is not planning to enter the standard residency pathway can apply to the Alternate Pathway to be considered a candidate for certification by the American Board of Radiology (ABR). The prerequisites and requirements are detailed below for application to the pathway.


We cannot accept transcripts as proof of documentation for your prerequisites.
  • Satisfy the training requirements of a non-U.S., non-Canadian country.
  • Have documentation verifying the applicant’s ability to practice interventional radiology independently in the country of training or board certification in the applicant’s country (if applicable).
  • Complete one year of clinical training.
    • Foreign clinical training document must state start and end dates of training.
  • Complete a DR residency program with IR training outside the U.S. or Canada.
    • Foreign residency training document must state start and end dates of training.
  • If trained in India, the applicant must have the following degrees to be eligible for the Alternate Pathway: MBBS + DNB and/or MD.


  • Complete five years of IR training. Training may be completed as a residency (up to four years maximum), fellowship, and/or faculty appointment in one institution with an IR training program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
    • Five years of training must be at one institution and completed within 10 years from training start date.
    • Part-time appointments working > 0.5 FTE are allowable, as long as the equivalent of five years of training as a 1.0 FTE is completed within 10 years from training start date. For example, a candidate could train years one through four as a 1.0 FTE and years five and six as a 0.5 FTE to meet the requirement of five years as a 1.0 FTE. Please contact an ABR certification manager at for details.
    • Up to four years of IR residency may count. However, five years of IR residency does not qualify for the ABR Alternate Pathway, as that is the standard training pathway.
  • Pass the ABR Qualifying (Core) Exam: click here for more information.
  • Pass the ABR IR/DR Certifying Exam: click here for more information.
  • Provide proof of valid state or provincial medical license: for those in training, a valid training license is acceptable.
  • Demonstrate high moral and ethical principles. The American Board of Radiology expects candidates for initial certification to uphold fundamental moral and ethical principles.


The Board will assess an applicant’s status relative to ABR policies and the IMG Alternate Pathway to Board Certification only after receiving the following documents:
    • Interventional Radiology/Diagnostic Radiology IMG Application Form
    • Current, detailed curriculum vitae with specific dates of all training
    • Verification of the following:
      • Medical school training
      • Clinical training
      • Radiology residency training
      • Interventional radiology certification (if applicable)
      • NOTE: The Board accepts copies of diplomas or letters from training institutions as verification. If original documents are not in English, an English translation must accompany them.
    • Candidates will be notified when to submit the application fee
    • Copy of Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certificate or Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) certificate
    • Sponsoring Department Agreement (SDA), outlining the applicant’s five-year plan
      • The SDA is intended to be a prospective five-year training plan. Candidates may only use up to two years of retrospective training (prior to submission of the application) as part of their SDA.
      • Credit for research training of up to 12 months will be granted toward IR/DR certification if the research is completed at the same institution as the remaining clinical training.
      • Research may be approved by the ABR to meet the requirements of the Alternate Pathway program. Please submit the details for ABR review in addition to your SDA.
      • Any changes in the above requirements carried out without the written consent of the ABR will be considered as grounds for termination of the individual’s participation in the Alternate Pathway.
      • NOTE: The required five years must be completed in one ACGME-accredited program. At least two of the five years must be focused in IR.
    • Copies of United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE)
      • Steps 1 and 2 score reports
      • USMLE Step 3 is required six months before admittance to the Certifying Exam.
      • Current unrestricted medical license is required at the time of application and also when certification is conferred.


Qualifying (Core) Exam

After an applicant’s application has been approved, and they have completed 36 months of approved training, the applicant may take the Qualifying (Core) Exam.

Certifying Exam

IMG alternate pathway candidates will be eligible for the IR/DR Certifying Exam after they comply with the following:
  • Successfully pass the Qualifying (Core) Exam
  • Complete the five-year plan in one ACGME-accredited interventional radiology residency program
  • The ABR office must receive the Final Verification Form (FVF) signed by the department chair, attesting completion of the applicant’s five-year plan.

Board Eligibility

Please see the Board Eligibility Policy for more details.


A fee schedule for the IMG Alternate Pathway can be found here.