Cost of applying for a residency program in US

How much will you be spending before match day? Can you afford it?


Applying to a residency program is not a easy task. Apart from the hard work, years of preparation and numerous obstacles, applying to residency programs can prove to be an expensive affair.

As a foreign medical graduate you want to make sure the financial costs are bearable. Below is a brief estimate of the overall cost. Cost of some items might vary based on your personal criteria.
Please note the estimate is approximate and has several assumptions factored in and the actual cost might be much higher. All figures in US Dollars and accurate as of April 2010. The costs are categorized for US Citizens and Foreign Medical Graduates (FMG).

applying for residency costs money.

Figure: Spending all that money does not guarantee you a seat.

Note: Costs listed below are based on assumptions, please do your own research to arrive at a more accurate total.

USMLE Exam Cost

US Citizen
USMLE Step 1 505 940
USMLE Step 2 CK 505 940
USMLE Step 2 CS 1075 1295
USMLE Step 3 700 700
Other costs for USMLE
 US Citizen  FMG
Air Travel for USMLE Step2 CS
Air Travel for USMLE Step3 150+ 1800*
Accommodation STEP 2 CS - Share, paying guest
300* 300*
Accommodation - STEP 3 300* 300*
Food & Misc (phone,travel to and from etc)
300^ 300^
Total 3985 8375

* - Assumes you travel once for Step2 CS and once for Step 3. The cost listed is from Asia Pacific region. Rates may vary for country from which FMG is.
+,+  - Domestic flight rates may vary.
*     - Accommodation is assumed to be shared (paying guest). Several paying guest places offer $20 per day      fee. The estimate assumes you stay 15 days to write your Step 2 CS and another 15 days for Step 3. 

^      -Assumes travel to and fro from airport and to examination to about 100$. About 30-40$ on phone and rest for food.

Residency Application Process
The costs listed below are for one speciality only. If you intend to apply for more than one speciality, cost will be more.

Number of programs per speciality US Citizen FMG
1 to 10 65 65
11 to 20 8 each
8 each
21 to 30 15 each 15 each
31 or more 25 each 25 each
Total (from Example 1 below) 295 295

Example 1: An applicant applies to 30 Emergency Medicine programs, AAMC fees are $295. [$65 for first 10 applications + ($8 each for second 10 applications) + ($15 each for third 10 applications)]=65+80+150
Example 2: An applicant applies to 20 OB/GYN programs, and 10 Family Medicine programs. The fees are $210 [$65 + ($8 x 10) for OB/GYN programs and $65 for Family Medicine programs].

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Other Fees

  US Citizen FMG
ERAS Token 90 90
NRMP Registration 50 50
USMLE Transcript 60 60
Total 200 200


  US Citizen FMG
Travel 750 750
Hotel 500 500
Food & Misc (travel to and from) 300 300
Total 1250& 1250&

& The cost below is for five interviews only. A candidate attends any where between 5-15 interviews. Multiply the Travel cost by total number of interviews and the stay on hotels might be between 1-2 days.

Assuming you attend 5 interviews. Travel 5 X $150 and Hotel 5 X 1 night @ 100$ a day

Assuming that hotels provide free shuttle to the interview venue (aranged by the program) and free return shuttle to the airport. Food assumed to have bought ready to eats from Walmart or home country.


  US Citizen FMG
Sending documents 250 250
Other 150 150
Total 400 400


The grand total adds up to: $6730 for an US Citizen, based locally and $10820 for a FMG. As you can see the total cost is based on a lot of assumptions and you costs might vary. Example: You might have a friend or family you might be kind enough to let you stay with them for a few days for free. Most of the changes in cost would be around travel and accommodation. As an FMG if you are planning to do observership or externship in US to improve your chances in a match your costs might go up further. The fixed cost in all this would be your USMLE exam fees and other fees associated for a program match.

Did we miss something? Let us know so we can revise it. Tell us in the comments below.

Further Reading

The fees are subject to change, please check the rates from the official sites:
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