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Special Instructions and FAQs for Applicants to the Health Professions Council of South Africa

Special Instructions

ECFMG partners with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to primary-source verify medical credentials of internationally educated physicians who are applying for registration to practice medicine in South Africa. If you are applying for registration with the HPCSA and you obtained your basic medical qualification in a country other than South Africa, you must have certain required medical credentials verified through EPIC.

To have your credentials verified through EPIC, complete the following steps:

  • Step 1 – Establish an EPIC Account.

    See Getting Started for complete instructions. Once ECFMG has processed your request and established your EPIC Account, ECFMG will e-mail you login information so you can access your EPIC Account.
  • Step 2 – Confirm your identity with EPIC.

    See Confirming Your Identity with EPIC for detailed information. Confirming your identity with EPIC requires you to submit an EPIC Identification Form (EIF). Once this form has been accepted by ECFMG, you will be able to upload credentials required by the HPCSA to EPIC for primary-source verification.
  • Step 3 – Upload the credentials required by the HPCSA and select the Health Professions Council of South Africa to receive notification when your credentials are sent for verification.

    Log in to your EPIC Account and upload the required credentials for primary-source verification. See Credentials Required by the HPCSA below to determine which credentials you need to upload. As you upload each credential, be sure to select the Health Professions Council of South Africa to receive notification that the credential has been sent for verification. This notification will include a copy of the credential that you have submitted for verification. For more information on notifications, see the About EPIC Notifications section of the FAQs for Physicians page.

    Note that if your credentials have already been primary-source verified by ECFMG for ECFMG Certification or through ECFMG’s International Credentials Services (EICS), you do not need to upload the credentials that were previously verified by ECFMG. These credentials will be added to your EPIC Portfolio at no cost. Simply provide your ECFMG/USMLE ID and/or EICS ID when you establish your EPIC Account. ECFMG will review your file typically within 10 business days; if your file is acceptable, ECFMG will add your previously verified credentials to your EPIC Portfolio.
  • Step 4 – Once all of the required credentials have been verified, send EPIC verification reports to the HPCSA.

    EPIC does not automatically send verification reports directly to the HPCSA. ECFMG will notify you by e-mail as each credential is verified. You can also monitor your EPIC Account to check on the statuses of your verification requests.

    Once all of your credentials have been verified, go to the “My Reports” tab in your EPIC Account and request that an EPIC Report for each credential be sent to the HPCSA. When sending reports, be sure to select Health Professions Council of South Africa from the drop-down list or your request will be rejected. For more information on EPIC Reports, see the EPIC Reports section of the Using EPIC page.
  • Step 5 – Submit your application to the HPCSA.

    Once Reports on all of your required credentials have been sent to HPCSA, you can submit your application to the HPCSA. You should not submit your application to the HPCSA until all of your required credentials have been verified.

    For more information on applying to the HPCSA for registration to practice medicine in South Africa, please visit the Registrations section of the HPCSA website or contact the HPCSA.

Credentials Required by the HPCSA

Credentials required in support of your application to the HPCSA depend on whether you are applying for registration as a General Practitioner or a Specialist, as outlined below:

  • For Physicians Applying for Registration as a General Practitioner:
    • Medical School Diploma
    • Medical School Transcript
    • Postgraduate Training Certificates, including Intern Duty Certificates
    • Medical Licensure/Registration Certificates in other jurisdictions with which you have been licensed/registered

  • For Physicians Applying for Registration as a Specialist:
    • Medical School Diploma
    • Medical School Transcript
    • Postgraduate Training Certificates, including Intern Duty Certificates
    • Medical Licensure/Registration Certificates in other jurisdictions with which you have been licensed/registered
    • Specialist qualification obtained for registration of specialty
    • Registration Certificate as specialist issued by regulatory/registration authority (upload as a Medical Registration Certificate/License to Practice Medicine in EPIC)

For a full accounting of EPIC Fees and Payment methods, please visit the Fees page

If you have any questions regarding EPIC and the EPIC verification process, please contact EPIC at info@ecfmgepic.org or 001 (215) 966-3900. Telephone assistance is available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time in the United States.

If you have questions regarding the HPCSA’s application processes, please contact the HPCSA.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Applying to the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)

I am applying to the HPCSA for registration; do I need to use EPIC?

Medical graduates applying for registration to the HPCSA who obtained their basic medical qualification outside of South Africa will need to create an EPIC Account and have their credentials (qualifications) primary-source verified through EPIC.

I already submitted an application to ECFMG’s International Credentials Service (EICS) in support of my application to the HPCSA; do I need to have my credentials (qualifications) primary-source verified through EPIC?

If you submitted your credentials to ECFMG for verification through EICS prior to August 1, 2016, you do not need to create an EPIC Account and have your credentials primary-source verified through EPIC. Your credentials will continue through the EICS process until either they are verified or attempts to have them verified have been exhausted. Verification through EICS includes the initial request for verification and up to three reminders, as needed. If attempts to have your credentials verified through EICS are unsuccessful after all attempts have been exhausted, you will need to create an EPIC Account and upload the unverified credentials to EPIC if you wish to have them verified.

Which credentials (qualifications) do I need to submit to HPCSA through EPIC?

Credentials required in support of your application to the HPCSA depend on whether you are applying for registration as a General Practitioner or a Specialist, as outlined below:

  • For Physicians Applying for Registration as a General Practitioner:
    • Medical School Diploma
    • Medical School Transcript
    • Postgraduate Training Certificates, including Intern Duty Certificates
    • Medical Licensure/Registration Certificates in other jurisdictions with which you have been licensed/registered

  • For Physicians Applying for Registration as a Specialist:
    • Medical School Diploma
    • Medical School Transcript
    • Postgraduate Training Certificates, including Intern Duty Certificates
    • Medical Licensure/Registration Certificates in other jurisdictions with which you have been licensed/registered
    • Specialist qualification obtained for registration of specialty
    • Registration Certificate as specialist issued by regulatory/registration authority (upload as a Medical Registration Certificate/License to Practice Medicine in EPIC)

If you have questions regarding the credentials you are required to submit, please contact the HPCSA.

How far in advance of applying for registration to the HPCSA do I need to upload my credentials (qualifications) to EPIC?

We recommend that you create an EPIC Account and upload your credentials to EPIC as soon as possible after you have decided to apply to the HPCSA. Through EPIC, your credentials are verified directly with the issuing institution. The time required to complete the verification of credentials varies and depends on a number of factors, including the time it takes for the issuing institution to respond to our verification requests. You should not apply to HPCSA until all of your required credentials have been verified through EPIC.

About the Verification Process

How long does it take to have my credentials (qualifications) verified through EPIC?

The time it takes to complete the verification of credentials through EPIC varies and depends on a number of factors, including the time it takes for the issuing institution to respond to verification requests.

When you upload a credential to EPIC, it will be processed typically within 5 business days. If the credential is not acceptable, this will be reported to you through your EPIC Account, along with the reason why the credential was not acceptable. If the credential is acceptable, ECFMG will send a verification request to the issuing institution.

If the issuing institution participates in ECFMG’s electronic Credentials Verification program, the request will be sent electronically. If the request cannot be sent electronically, it will be sent as a paper request either by mail or by courier, depending on which option you chose when you uploaded the credential. For paper verification requests, if ECFMG does not receive a response from the institution within 60 days, ECFMG will send up to three reminders on a 60-day cycle as needed to obtain verification.

Once ECFMG receives the verification from the issuing institution, ECFMG will review that verification typically within 5 business days. If the verification is acceptable, the credential will be added to your EPIC Portfolio and you will be able to request that a verification report and a copy of the credential be provided to the HPCSA. If the verification is not acceptable, we will resend the verification request to the issuing institution.

Are all credentials (qualifications) verified electronically?

No. Only credentials from medical schools that participate in ECFMG’s program for electronic Credentials Verification will be sent for verification electronically. If the option to send your credential for verification via courier was unavailable when you uploaded your credential to EPIC, and the school to which the verification request is being sent participates in ECFMG’s electronic Credentials Verification program, the verification request will be sent to the school electronically.

How will I know when my credentials (qualifications) have been verified through EPIC and can be submitted to the HPCSA?

EPIC will notify you by e-mail when a credential has been verified. You can also monitor the status of the verification process through your EPIC Account. Please note that unless otherwise instructed by the HPCSA, you should not send EPIC Reports to the HPCSA until all of the required credentials have been verified.

About Using EPIC

Will I have access to my medical credentials (qualifications) after I apply to the HPCSA?

Yes. The credentials that you upload to EPIC remain available to you as part of your EPIC Portfolio. You can use EPIC to send copies of these credentials along with reports verifying their authenticity to organizations worldwide at any time throughout your career.

Will credentials (qualifications) that I upload to EPIC after I complete my application to the HPCSA be sent to the HPCSA?

Credentials that you upload to EPIC are not automatically sent to the HPCSA, whether you upload them before completing your application to the HPCSA or after. Once all of your credentials have been verified, for the HPCSA to receive a copy of the credential and a report verifying its authenticity, you would need to log in to your EPIC Account and request that an EPIC Report be provided to the HPCSA. Please note that unless otherwise instructed by HPCSA, you should not apply to HPCSA until all of your required credentials have been verified through EPIC.

Will the HPCSA have access to my EPIC Portfolio?

No. The HPCSA will not have direct access to your EPIC Portfolio. The HPCSA will have access only to the credentials (qualifications), notifications, and verification reports that you make available to them through EPIC.

I need to have my Intern Duty Certificate verified through EPIC but there seems to be no category for this credential. Which category should I select?

Intern Duty Certificates, Certificates of Experience, Attestations of Postgraduate Training, and equivalent documents should be uploaded to EPIC as Postgraduate Medical Education Credentials.

I uploaded a credential (qualification) to EPIC and requested that the HPCSA be notified when it is sent for verification. How do I know that the HPCSA received the notification?

You will be informed that your credential has been sent for verification by e-mail. You also can monitor the status of your credential in your EPIC Account. When your credential is sent for verification, notification will be sent to the HPCSA automatically, if you requested such notification at the time you uploaded your credential. To confirm that the HPCSA has received this notification, you must contact the HPCSA.

I requested that EPIC Reports on my verified credentials (qualifications) be provided to the HPCSA. How do I know if the HPCSA received the verification reports and copies of my credentials?

After you request EPIC Reports for the HPCSA, the HPCSA will have access to the reports and copies of your credentials through the EPIC Report Portal. If you need to confirm whether the HPCSA has accessed your reports through the Report Portal, contact the HPCSA. After sending a Report to HPCSA, please allow the HPCSA one business day to access your EPIC Report.

Can I select the HPCSA to receive notification that my credentials (qualifications) have been sent for verification only once, or should I do it for every credential individually?

You should select the HPCSA to be notified each time that you upload an individual credential to EPIC for the purpose of applying to the HPCSA.

Do I need to use EPIC when applying to the HPCSA if my credentials (qualifications) have already been verified by ECFMG for a purpose other than applying to the HPCSA?

If you are applying to the HPCSA on or after August 1, 2016, and your credentials have already been primary-source verified by ECFMG for ECFMG Certification or through ECFMG’s International Credentials Services (EICS), you will need to create an EPIC Account and use EPIC to provide your credentials and verification reports to the HPCSA. However, you will not need to upload the credentials that were previously verified by ECFMG; they will be added to your EPIC Account at no cost. Simply provide your ECFMG/USMLE ID and/or EICS ID when you establish your EPIC Account. ECFMG will review your file typically within 10 business days; if your file is acceptable, ECFMG will add your previously verified credentials to your EPIC Portfolio.

How much does it cost to use EPIC?

EPIC is an affordable tool that you can use throughout your career. Please visit the EPIC Fees page to see current pricing for EPIC’s services.

If I have questions or problems regarding EPIC, should I contact EPIC or the HPCSA?

If you have questions regarding EPIC’s services—such as creating an EPIC Account, uploading your credentials (qualifications), managing your portfolio, the verification process, sending verification reports, or fees—please contact EPIC at info@ecfmgepic.org or 001 (215) 966-3900. Telephone assistance is available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time in the United States.

If you have questions regarding applying to the HPCSA—such as necessary documentation, required qualifications, or registration categories—please contact the HPCSA.

Last updated October 6, 2017