Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter (PTAL)
If your an IMG who is interested in doing a residency in California .... you MUST obtain the Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter (PTAL) also known as a "California Letter"
Here is what you need to get it done:
First make sure that your medical school is approved by California by searching for it on this list of medical schools recognized by the Medical Board of California.
Next Download the required Application Forms (These are the forms needed below in 1-4)
Now for the hard part....
Here are the minimum required application and supporting materials required for an international medical school graduate to obtain a PTAL.
- Application Forms L1A-L1E APPLICATION FOR POSTGRADUATE TRAINING AUTHORIZATION LETTER
- Form L2 CERTIFICATE OF MEDICAL EDUCATION
- Form L5 CERTIFICATE OF CLINICAL CLERKSHIPS
- Form L6 CERTIFICATE OF CLINICAL TRAINING (if applicable)
- Application Fees of $493.00
- Two fingerprint cards or a copy of the Live Scan form
- Official examination scores of USMLE Steps 1 and Step 2 (CK) mailed directly from the reporting agency
- Official medical school transcript
- Certified copy of medical degree
Start early! It takes a long time to get everything done.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I apply for the PTAL without having passed USMLE step 1 and 2 exams?
Yes. You can apply now but the PTAL cannot be issued until you passed Step 1 and both components of Step 2(Clinical Skills and Clinical Knowledge).
Can I apply for a PTAL without a Social Security Number (SSN)?
Yes. You can apply for a PTAL without having an SSN, but the PTAL will not be issued until you have one. Also if you don't have a SSN then you can't apply online, you must apply by mail.
When should I apply for a PTAL?
If your going to apply to programs in California using the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), you must submit a Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter (PTAL) issued by the Medical Board of California with your residency applications or if you don't have a PTAL yet (this will be the case for most IMG's), you need to let programs in California know that you are working on getting one by giving proof that you have submitted an application. So you should apply for the PTAL before you apply for the match so you can add it to your ERAS application and assign it to the California programs you apply to.
When I apply for California residency programs in the match, what can I use for the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) to show that I have submitted an application for a PTAL?
You can use the initial confirmation letter you receive from the California Medical Board indicating that your application has been received to provide evidence that you have submitted an application for a PTAL. To add this to your appication, indicate on the Additional Documents page in MyERAS that you will provide a PTAL, upload the letter to ERAS and assign it to the programs that you apply to in California! When you finally get the PTAL you can upload it and replace this temporary letter.
When do I absolutely need to get the PTAL?
California law requires you to have a PTAL at the time you commence postgraduate training. So you need it before you start your residency program.
How long is the PTAL valid for?
The PTAL is only valid for one year which is all you should need. If you don't match and have to reapply the next year, you will have to get a new PTAL. :(
What are the minimum requirements for clinical rotations to be eligible to apply for a PTAL?
Clinical rotations must total at least 72 weeks and must include:
- Surgery (8 weeks)
- Medicine (8 weeks)
- Family medicine (4 weeks)
- Pediatrics (6 weeks)
- Obstetrics and gynecology (6 weeks)
- Psychiatry (4 weeks)