No. The request must come from your residency program director, once you are enrolled in an ACGME-accredited program. The ABS offers credit only toward general surgery or vascular surgery training. Please see our International Training page for further information.
Yes. A certificate issued by the ECFMG is required for all international medical graduates. The certificate must be valid indefinitely for all international medical graduates who complete an ACGME-accredited surgery residency program in the United States. International medical graduates who complete a Canadian surgery residency program accredited by the RCPSC will have an ECFMG certificate with a "valid until" date. The valid until date must be after the date of application to the ABS.
Applicants who are currently enrolled in a non-standard fellowship that is preapproved by the ECFMG do not need a letter of support from the ABS for a visa extension. (See www.ecfmg.org for a list of preapproved programs.) Applicants who have completed their training programs and require a visa extension to take an ABS examination may write the ABS with the specifics of their situation to obtain a letter of approval. Requests must be sent by mail or fax, not email.
To obtain ABS support for a J-1 visa applicant who wishes to complete a research fellowship, a formal written request must be made by the program director. Requests must be sent by mail or fax on official letterhead to the ABS office (no emails) and cover the information outlined in this document (pdf). Programs will be notified of the decision by letter from the ABS executive director.