If you have received training and certification in Australia, Canada, Great Britain or New Zealand you may be eligible to receive initial board certification through ABFM if: 

  • You are a member in good standing in one of the following colleges:  
    • Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners 
    • Royal College of General Practitioners of Great Britain
    • College of Family Physicians of Canada
    • The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • You reside in the United States
  • You have satisfactorily completed formal family medicine training in a residency program accredited by the nationally recognized accrediting organization within the country in which you are certified

In addition,  if you are a current ABFM Board-Certified Diplomate, you may be eligible to seek certification by one of these colleges, with the exception of the Royal College of General Practitioners of Great Britain.

Australia

If you are a fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, you may apply to take the ABFM Family Medicine Certification Examination if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are a member in good standing of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • You have completed the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Training Program 
  • You reside in the United States
  • You have obtained and continuously maintain a medical license(s) which complies with the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure and Personal Conduct 
  • You are actively involved in family medicine in the United States 

If you have questions or would like to begin the application process, please contact Erik Tousseau at [email protected] or 859.538.7169.


Canada

If you are a Canadian trained physician seeking ABFM certification, there are two reciprocity agreement options available to you. 

Additional Year of training pathway

If you have satisfactorily completed two years of training in a family medicine residency program accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, you may apply to take the ABFM Family Medicine Certification Examination, if you meet the following requirements:     

  • You have successfully completed a third year of training in an ACGME-accredited Family Medicine program, or you have completed a third year of training in a Canadian program that meets the following criteria:
    • Your third year of training was approved by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
    • You obtained prior approval of the American Board of Family Medicine for your training. 
    • Your request for approval included documentation of satisfactory performance of your first two years of training and included a description of your curriculum and was signed by your program director. 
  • Your total residency experience was in compliance with the ACGME "Program Requirements for Residency Education in Family Medicine" 

If you have questions or would like to begin the application process, please contact Kathy Botner at [email protected] or 859.429.7360.


College of family physicians of Canada certification examination pathway 

If you have successfully achieved a passing score on the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) Certification Examination in Family Medicine, you may apply to take the ABFM Family Medicine Certification Examination, if you meet the following requirements: 

  • You are certified by Exam through the College of Family Physicians of Canada at the time you submit your ABFM certification examination application and maintain your CFPC good standing until the date of your ABFM examination. 
  • You are a member in good standing of the College of Family Physicians of Canada
  • You have satisfactorily completed two years of post graduate residency training in family medicine accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada
  • You have been resident in the United States for least six months
  • You have obtained and continuously maintain a medical license(s) which complies with the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure and Personal Conduct
  • You are actively involved in family medicine in the United States.

If you have questions or would like to begin the application process, please contact Erik Tousseau at [email protected] or 859.538.7169.


Great Britain

If you are certified by the Royal College of General Practitioners of Great Britain through successful completion of the examination, you may apply to take the ABFM Family Medicine Certification Examination if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are a member in good standing of the Royal College of General Practitioners of Great Britain
  • You possess one of the following certificates of completion of training:
    • Certificate of Prescribed/Equivalent Experience issued by the Joint Committee on Post Graduate Training for General Practice
    • Certificate of Completion of Training issued by the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board
    • Certificate of Completion of Training issued by the General Medical Council 
  • You reside in the United States
  • You have obtained and continuously maintain a medical license(s) which complies with the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure and Personal Conduct 
  • You are actively involved in family medicine in the United States 

If you have questions or would like to begin the application process, please contact Erik Tousseau at [email protected] or 859.538.7169.


New Zealand

If you are a member of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, you may apply to take the ABFM Family Medicine Certification Examination if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are a member in good standing of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
  • You have successfully completed the General Practice Vocational Training Program 
  • You reside in the United States
  • You have obtained and continuously maintain a medical license(s) which complies with the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure and Personal Conduct 
  • You are actively involved in family medicine in the United States

If you have questions or would like to begin the application process, please contact Erik Tousseau at [email protected] or 859.538.7169.


Reciprocity Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Do I Get Started?

If you have reviewed the reciprocity requirements specific to your country and are ready to move forward, please contact Erik Tousseau at [email protected]. Once your documentation has been reviewed and approved, an ABFM profile can be created and you may log in and get started with your examination application.

2. What Qualifies as Active Involvement in Family Medicine?

Active involvement is paid employment in a role that is related to Family Medicine. The role cannot be volunteer or training (as a trainee). Examples of acceptable roles include clinical practice, teaching, administration, and research. The minimum time, by country, is:

  • Canada: Six Months 
  • Great Britain, New Zealand & Australia: One Month

While ABFM cannot verify that you are board-certified or board eligible until these pre-requisite requirements are officially accomplished, we can verify your progress toward achieving these requirements. This may be helpful with employers who require board certification or board eligible status. Please contact Erik Tousseau at [email protected] if you would like a letter of verification that describes your progress toward qualifying under a reciprocity agreement.

3. How Soon Can I Apply for the Family Medicine Certification Examination?

Once your ABFM profile has been created, you may apply to sit for the initial certification examination. If you are still in the process of meeting the Family Medicine involvement requirement, you may begin an application, but your application will not be approved until the requirement is met. Note that in order to sit for an examination all requirements must be met by the posted deadline to clear pending requirements.

4. Am I Required to Complete Certification Activities to Gain Initial Certification Under a Reciprocity Agreement? 

No. The requirements to sit for the Family Medicine Certification Examination under a reciprocity agreement do not include certification activities such as the Knowledge Self-Assessment or Performance Improvement activities. You will participate in these activities as part of your ongoing continuous certification process, but you are not required to do so to gain initial certification.

5. I was Trained Outside the United States and Not in One of the Countries that has a Reciprocity Agreement with ABFM.  How Can I Gain Certification? 

If your training and certification was in a country that does not hold a reciprocity agreement with the ABFM, you must complete the same requirements that United States trained residents complete for initial certification eligibility. This includes completion of a 36-month, ACGME-accredited family medicine residency training program and meeting the requirements of the Resident Certification Entry Process.

6. What Can I Do if a Potential Employer Requires Board Certification or Board Eligible Status? 

While ABFM cannot verify that you are board-certified or board eligible until these pre-requisite requirements are officially accomplished, we can verify your progress toward achieving these requirements. This may be helpful with employers who require board certification or board eligible status. Please contact Erik Tousseau at [email protected] if you would like a letter of verification that describes your progress toward qualifying under a reciprocity agreement.