I don't get tired of saying this: you must pay close attention to the VIRMP program descriptions. Can you imagine applying to a program only to find out after the fact that you can't accept it if you match there?
This is unlikely to be a concern for students graduating from an AVMA accredited school, and if you do not need a working VISA.
On the other hand, this can be a big problem for foreign graduates and/or graduates of non-AVMA accredited veterinary schools.
I'm in an Avma accredited school and don't need a working VISA
You're part of the vast majority of applicants. You can virtually accept any VIRMP position you match to. Awesome! You don't need to run the extra mile like foreign graduates, and are not restricted on the number of programs you can apply to, other than by the VIRMP package you've chosen (ie. up to 10, 20 or >21 applications).
This doesn't mean you can relax. You still want to find the programs that are a good fit for your ultimate goals, and create a stellar application package. Check our posts on the Match for more information on this.
Non-avma graduate and/or need a visa
You're in the exact same position I was 9 or 10 years ago. You'll have to do extra work and ultimately hope the government does it job on time in terms of issuing you a working VISA.
There are many hurdles for foreign graduates (assuming also non-AVMA accredited) to get a position through the VIRMP. Don't get me wrong, it's totally doable.
There are many that went down this road and emerged successfully with board certification after their name. It's just a harder process, usually associated with multiple Match applications, and having to deal with unexpected problems from the government and even from administrative personnel at the programs you matched with that are not used to deal with the extra requirements that a foreign graduate implies.
If you're in this group, I want you to review the programs you're applying to and confirm you meet all the requirements. Otherwise, you're pretty much wasting an application slot!
First of all, see if the program accepts applicants requiring a VISA. You'll see most do not. This has to do, along with other reasons, with the difficulty to have VISA's approved on time. It is not uncommon for these applicants to have to start late, and unfortunately, some never get approved. This leaves the applicant without a position and the program short of a trainee. Not a good situation either way.
Next, find out the State license requirements. Most (but not all) academic programs do not require a State license per se, and you'll practice under the university license. Private practice programs, on the other hand, will require a State license.
If a State license is needed, you'll need to meet the specific requirements, which can vary greatly between States. Head on to the State website and read the Practice Act and any regulations that apply towards licensure. You'll likely be required to have the NAVLE and the ECFVG or PAVE. If you meet the State's requirements, you're good to go!
It is your responsibility to make sure you can accept a position offered through the VIRMP. There are no mechanisms in place to alert you that you won't be able to take a position!
In a nutshell, if you meet the above, you should be able to accept a position. It is crucial to look for any other requirements that might apply to you. As a foreign graduate, you'll definitely be more restricted in the number of programs you can apply to, but that doesn't mean you can't Match! Due to the above restrictions, I could only apply to 9 programs each time I applied for a residency. Took me two residency matches but I got my position! Don't give up!
If you want more information, check out the book below and the other Match blog posts. If you want to talk about this face to face, check out the coaching sessions.
The Vetducator says
Great advice as always! I particularly appreciate the problem of non-AVMA accredited graduates. With recent political changes in the US, it makes it rather difficult for non-US citizens.