Military Activation

This policy applies to candidates for certification in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery who are in any phase of the examination process. This policy also applies in an identical way to all specialties or subspecialties in which the ABS certifies.

Individuals who are either on active duty in the U.S. military outside the United States or receive active duty orders that preclude them from completing a previously scheduled examination of the American Board of Surgery will be excused from such examinations without penalty and with full refund of any examination fees paid. The application fee is non-refundable.

Individuals in the examination process who receive active duty orders and must postpone their examinations should forward a copy of their orders by mail to the ABS office with a request for postponement. Written approval of this request with a refund of examination fees paid will be mailed to the candidate's address of record. The application for certification will be retained and can be reactivated upon completion of active duty.

The admissibility period granted per ABS policy to an applicant for general surgery certification will be extended by the period of active duty so that all examination opportunities that would be made available to the applicant can be offered.

Individuals who completed general surgery residency after July 1, 2012, but did not apply for the Qualifying Examination immediately following residency and lost examination opportunities may be eligible to have these opportunities reinstated if the delay was due to military obligations. To be considered for such a waiver, a copy of their orders must accompany their application.

Individuals who completed general surgery residency prior to July 1, 2012, but did not apply for the Qualifying Examination within three years of completing residency or did not take the exam within two years after application approval may be eligible to have this requirement waived if the delay was due to military obligations. To be considered for such a waiver, a copy of their orders must accompany their application.

Active duty military personnel who may encounter difficulty in taking an examination due to their service should contact the ABS office as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements may be made. When possible, the ABS will permit active duty military personnel to take a Computer Examination toward certification or recertification while stationed overseas. All such determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the ABS.

Updated: September 2012

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