Pathways to U.S. Veterinary Licensure

The algorithms below provide simplified overviews of the process of obtaining a veterinary license for clinical practice in the United States. Successful completion of each step is required to pass to the next step: for example, the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) must be passed, not just taken, before a graduate will be considered for state licensure.

Please note that there are alternative pathways for graduates of non-accredited foreign schools. These pathways are depicted as “A” and “B” on the algorithms, and are the result of variation in when the NAVLE is taken.  The National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (NBVME), which owns the NAVLE, requires that candidates in the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) or Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence (PAVE) successfully complete at least the first three steps of foreign equivalency assessment before the NAVLE can be taken. Therefore, the NAVLE can be taken before (depicted as pathway A, below) or after (depicted as pathway B, below) completion of the fourth and final stage of assessment, the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE) for ECFVG candidates or evaluated clinical experience (for PAVE candidates).

All non-U.S. citizens must successfully complete the U.S. Immigration process to obtain full veterinary licensure. Completion of the ECFVG or PAVE program or graduation from an accredited U.S. veterinary college does not guarantee work authorization, permanent residency, or citizenship in the United States. 

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