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As an overseas medical graduate you can not practice as a doctor in the UK without having GMC registration and a license to practice. There are a few ways you can get GMC registration; let's find out how.
Types of registration
For medical practitioners, there are four types of registration routes:
- Provisional Registration
- Full Registration
- Specialist Registration
- GP registration
Specialist and GP registration can ONLY be applied after you have completed the respective training in an approved training post.
Your Nationality and Primary Medical Qualification
GMC is no longer concerned about your nationality when you are applying for registration. They are more concerned about where you obtained your primary medical qualification (PMQ) or medical degree from.
If you have graduated from an acceptable EEA country, you may not need any exam to obtain GMC registration. With this route, it may be that you also qualify for full GMC registration and not just provisional.
For more information on this route, check out the official GMC guidance.
What are the eligibility critera to apply for full GMC registration
This is the type of GMC (UK) registration that most of the International Medical Graduate, overseas doctors go after. The criteria are:
- Having an accepted Primary Medical Qualification
- Completed an acceptable pattern of internship
- Having completed any of the below:
- Passing the PLAB
- Having an acceptable post-graduation qualification
- Being sponsored by an approved sponsor for registration
- A valid English Language Proficiency test (IELTS/OET)
- Having your PMQ EPIC verified (your PGQ as well, if you take that route)
Medical qualification (PMQ) recognized by GMC
To find out whether your medical qualification as an overseas doctor is recognized for GMC UK registration or not, if not then how to get it recognized - Please read the article - How to get Medical Qualification recognized by GMC.
An acceptable pattern of Internship
GMC has some stipulations regarding how an internship has to be structured to be acceptable for FULL registration, Find out more here - Internship and UKFPO.
Passing the PLAB test
You have to have obtained the required score in the English language test (IELTS/OET) BEFORE you can take PLAB 1. It also has to be valid until you apply for registration.
IELTS/OET stays valid for 2 years. PLAB 2 has to be taken within 2 years of passing PLAB 1, and GMC registration has to be applied within 2 years of passing PLAB 2.
So, technically if you don't want to re-take IELTS/OET after you have obtained the required score for PLAB 1 - then you have finish everything within 2 years (as that is the period your IELTS/OET will stay valid).
Detailed discussion about taking the PLAB route can be found here - How to plan your PLAB journey
Having an acceptable Postgraduate Qualification (PGQ)
The postgraduate qualifications that are accepted by GMC for registration are listed here: Acceptable post-graduate qualification. If you have any of the qualification listed here, you don't have to take PLAB.
Please remember you need to COMPLETE these qualifications. You can not apply for registration with completing part of it.
As an overseas doctor, for GMC (UK) registration, you would still require to obtain required score in IELTS/OET prior to your registration application if you take this PGQ route. Also get EPIC verification of both PMQ and PGQ.
Sponsorship route (MTI scheme)
This route is not for many, but some who are found eligible can apply for it and get registration without having to go through PLAB or any postgraduate qualification.
GMC registration via acceptable overseas registration exam
This is newest path an international medical graduate (IMG) can get GMC registration. With acceptable overseas registration exams like USMLE, MCCQE and AMC, an IMG can apply for GMC ergistration.
Read more here- GMC Registration via USMLE, MCCQE, or AMC.
GMC (UK) Registration: Getting the required score in IELTS/OET
Whichever route you take (even through MTI) there is no way to get exempted from IELTS/OET for GMC registration if your Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ) was obtained in a non-English speaking country.
Detailed discussion regarding the required score at different level can be found here- IELTS/OET for PLAB, GMC registration and Tier 2 visa
EPIC Verification for GMC (UK) registration
You have to get your Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ) EPIC verified before you can proceed on with your GMC registration application. Detailed discussion- EPIC Verification for GMC registration.
Summary: How to get GMC (UK) registration
To summarize the steps of how to get registered with GMC (UK):
- Check whether your Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ) is recognized by GMC
As a rule of thumb if you can find your institution in WDOMS directory then it is accepted. Read more here - How to get Medical Qualification (PMQ) recognised by GMC
- Choose the route you want to pursue
Depending on your situation, resources and circumstances choose any of the route PLAB or PG qulification or MTI etc
- Apply for GMC registration via your GMC Online account
If you haven't already, check here how to open a GMC online account.
- Complete a GMC ID check (if you need to)
If you are taking the PLAB route, there is no need for taking any separate GMC ID check appointment but for other routes taken, that is a necessary and the last step.
How to work as a doctor in the UK: Watch our Video
Frequently Asked Questions
What is after GMC registration with a license to practice?
When you have your name in the GMC's register as a medical practitioner, you are appointable as a doctor anywhere in the NHS. You have to Find a job in the NHS and then proceed on with your career in the UK.
Doesn't GMC registration gets me directly into a training job?
No. Having GMC registration is one of the eligibility criteria for getting into a training job, but there are other criteria you have to fill before you can make your training job application when the rounds open. Read more here to find the person specifications - Specialty Training opportunities in the UK.
Can I have GMC registration but not work in the UK for a period of time?
Yes. You can have GMC registration for as long as your pay the annual retention fee. But to keep having the "license to practice" - you need to go through five yearly re-validation for which you need to work. You can have a pause on that "license to work" and restart it again when you start working, without an issue.
Does the GMC registration expire?
Technically speaking it doesn't. But as you have to go through a re-validation process every five year - which comprises of yearly appraisals which is arranged by your employer/responsible person - so in other words your GMC registration is refreshed every five year.
I have completed an MSc or a master's degree in a UK University, can I apply for GMC registration?
No, there is no other way you can get GMC registration other than as stated in the post above. The masters degree gets you points in your training application afterwards, but it doesn't help to get your GMC registration. Read more here - Master's degree and PG Diploma in the UK.