Have you heard the EPIC news regarding GMC registration?
All those who are applying for provisional or full registration must first get their primary medical qualifications (PMQ) verified by the ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) . If that name sounds familiar, it’s because you must also go through them for verification in order to appear in the USMLE.
What is EPIC?
It stands for the ‘Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC)’. It is the electronic portal via which the ECFMG will ensure all the papers you’ve submitted regarding your PMQ is legitimate and can send the verification to a registered organisation like GMC.
If you intend to register for a license to practice under GMC, you must follow the guidelines by creating an ‘EPIC account’ and ensure your PMQ is verified before you begin your entire process.
What do I need for opening an EPIC account?
In order to start the process, you will need to make an account with EPIC if and only if you will be registering on or after 11th June 2018. They will ask for the following:
- A scanned, full-color copy of the photograph page of your current, unexpired passport
- A scanned, full-color copy of the page that contains your passport expiration date, if applicable;
- A scanned, full-color copy of the section of your passport that is in Latin characters, if applicable;
- A full-color photograph of yourself
- Information about your medical education, including your medical school identification number (if applicable) and attendance and degree issue dates;
- Your medical licensure information, including any identification numbers;
- Your USMLE/ECFMG Identification Number (if you have one); and
- Your ECFMG International Credentials Services (EICS) Identification Number (if you have one)
Create an EPIC account here.
How EPIC verification takes place?
1. Physician establishes an EPIC account and verifies identity by NotaryCam
The physician submits a request to establish an EPIC Account, which includes basic biographic information, details about his/her medical education and licensure history (if applicable), a recent photo, and a scanned image of the photograph page of his/her passport. The photo and passport will appear on the EPIC Identification Form (EIF), which the physician must have certified by an acceptable official (NotaryCam) and then mailed to ECFMG. The ECFMG will email links of NotaryCam once they have the EIF ready to get certified. The physician must have a certified EIF on file with ECFMG in order to use EPIC.
Read here further for clarification regarding confirming your identity with EPIC.
2. Physician uploads a credential to EPIC
With a valid EIF on file, the physician is able to upload electronic copies (PDF, JPG, or TIF) of his/her medical credentials to EPIC. Currently, the types of credentials a physician can upload to EPIC are:
- Final Medical Diploma (This is what you need to get verified for GMC registration if you are taking the PLAB route)
- Alternate Graduation Document
- Final Medical School Transcript
- Student Medical School Transcript
- Pregraduate Internship Credential
- Postgraduate Medical Education Credential
- Specialist Qualification
- Certificate of Medical Registration
- License to Practice Medicine
- Advanced Degree in the Medical Sciences
If a physician uploads a credential that is not in English, he/she also must provide an English translation that meets ECFMG’s translation requirements.
Most applicants will only need to have their PMQ verified. If, however, you are applying because you hold an acceptable postgraduate qualification (PGQ), it will ALSO need to be verified. You don’t need to verify any other documents.
3. ECFMG Primary-source Verifies the Credential
For every credential uploaded to EPIC, ECFMG uses its established process to primary-source verify the credential directly with the issuing institution. Primary-source verification is a rigorous, multi-step process that ECFMG employs to ensure the integrity and authenticity of a physician’s credentials. The process is not complete until ECFMG receives and accepts verification of these credentials directly from the issuing institution. Now it depends upon your institution whether they need you to be there physically when they process your papers or not. Once a credential has been verified, it will become part of the physician’s secure EPIC Portfolio.
4. Physician Requests to Have an EPIC Report Sent
Using EPIC, the physician can request verification reports demonstrating the authenticity of the primary-source verified credentials for organizations worldwide. EPIC Reports include the physician’s name, photo, date of birth, EPIC ID, the physician’s name as it appears on the credential, and information on the institution that issued the credential. Verification reports are accompanied by a copy of the credential and, if the credential is not in English, an English translation of the credential.
5. Organization Receives EPIC Report
This is when you give GMC your EPIC information, they can easily check it as its electronic.
Steps of the entire EPIC verification process
The process of how to get EPIC verification for GMC registration done is summarized below:
- Set up an online EPIC Account
As I mentioned above, check what documents that you need to make an account. after making an account it will take less than two days for you to have an EIF. The ECFMG will give you links of NotaryCam to get the EIF certified. You will get certified by NotaryCam, who will video call you by whichever means you are accessible (e.g. Skype etc). You will be emailed a login and password.
- Log into your EPIC account
Now you will get a prompt to upload the required qualification(s) for verification. As you upload each qualification, select the General Medical Council to receive an EPIC Report for that qualification. This will ensure that the GMC is updated once the qualification has been verified.
- Primary source verification takes place
When you upload a qualification to EPIC, it will first be checked by ECFMG. If the qualification is acceptable, ECFMG will send it to the issuing institution (in most of the cases it is your medical college) for verification. This sending can be free which you can not track, but maybe for a fee you will be able to track. ECFMG will also send you an e-mail confirming that the qualification has been sent. You can monitor your EPIC Account throughout the verification process to check the status of your qualification(s). Once your qualification has been sent for verification, you may proceed to next step.
- Submit your application for registration to the GMC and provide your EPIC ID to the GMC
You won’t be able to submit your application to the GMC until you have confirmation that your PMQ has been sent for verification. ECFMG will send you a confirmation via email. You can also check the status by logging in to your EPIC Account. If you prefer, you can wait until after the qualification has been verified to submit your application, as it can take some time for the verification to be completed.
- Verification complete and GMC notified
Once verification of a qualification has been received from the issuing institution and ECFMG has confirmed that the qualification is authentic, ECFMG will confirm this with the GMC. ECFMG will also notify you by e-mail that your qualification has been verified.
To summarize the process
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I do it?
It’s a good idea to start this process as quickly as possible and ensure that your college knows that they need to respond as soon as possible. A good idea is to start the process after your PLAB 1, before your PLAB 2 if you have time. Otherwise you can do it anytime as this verification is valid for your lifetime.
Which document I have to get EPIC verified?
If you are applying through PLAB route
You will ONLY need to get your Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ) verified. It’s understandable that your college may not use the term PMQ/final medical diploma. In case you’re still unsure as to what needs to be sent, please have a look at the table below.
|Country of Medical School||Required Credentials (in PLAB Route)|
|China||Bachelor of Medicine in Medicine or MBBS degree certificate|
|Egypt||MB ChB diploma|
|Libya||MB BCh or MB BS diploma|
|Nigeria||MBBS or MB BCh diploma|
A lot of doctors encounter confusion regarding the term ‘diploma’. It’s just the certificate which states that your degree was awarded to you. It’s NOT your marksheet, it’s the degree certificate. You DO NOT need to verify your marksheet.
1. a certificate awarded by an educational establishment to show that someone has successfully completed a course of study.
an official document or charter.
If your country is not named in the list above, please take a look at this reference guide to know what is your country’s PMQ is called.
If you are taking the accepted PG qualification route
In this case BOTH your PMQ and the PG qualification needs to be EPIC verified. That means in this case, your cost will go up a bit to get the whole process done.
How much is this going to set me back?
Fees vary from case to case, and depends on how many qualifications you’ll have to submit to be verified. As the ECFMG is an American based organization, you will have to pay in USD, but the general range of cost you can expect is £155 – £260. Be very sure you have everything right the first time and that you are committed to this process, because as soon as the verification starts, no refunds will be given.
For the most part, the costs are as follows:
- Opening an EPIC Account – $125
- Verification per credential – $90 (Here is where you are paying more if you are taking the acceptable PGQ route)
- Cost of the postal service that you can track – $30
- The cost for you to send the verified and signed documents back to ECFMG – variable.
You can pay with the following credit cards:
- American Express
But wait I’ve already done registration via ECFMG before!
If your qualification has already been verified by ECFMG, you won’t need to have it verified again. ECFMG will add those credentials and their verification to your EPIC portfolio at no cost. Simply provide your ECFMG/USMLE ID when you establish your EPIC account. You don’t need to worry about having these credentials verified again, or wait for the verification, or pay the associated fee.
What if I already have been verified by EICS?
If your qualification has already been verified by ECFMG for ECFMG Certification or through ECFMG’s International Credentials Services (EICS), you’ll need to create an EPIC account. However, ECFMG may be able to use that previously verified qualification to complete your request. After you create your account, ECFMG will review your file, and if it is acceptable ECFMG will add any previously verified qualifications to your EPIC Portfolio.
Is EPIC verification required to sit for PLAB?
No. It’s needed for your GMC registration. EPIC will be required after your passing PLAB 2 when you finally apply for GMC registration. But, you never know how long EPIC may take, so I would suggest if you’re looking at getting registered after 11 June 2018, start your process as soon as possible.
The name on my passport differs from the name on my degree!
As part of the evaluation of your credential, ECFMG may contact you to request documentation to validate your name as it appears on your credential, if that name differs from the name on your passport.
How long will it take to process my verification?
The time it takes to verify your credential depends on a number of factors, including the time it takes for your institution to receive the verification request, the time it takes for the institution to respond, and whether the institution charges a fee to verify credentials.
When you upload a credential to EPIC, ECFMG will process that credential within five business days. If the credential is not acceptable (for example, you did not include a translation for a document that is not in English, or it is not an appropriate document type), this will be indicated in the Physician Portal. If the credential is acceptable, a verification request will be sent to the issuing institution.
Once a response has been received from the issuing institution, it will be reviewed, typically within five business days. If the verification is acceptable, the credential will be added to your EPIC Portfolio. If the verification is not acceptable, a verification request will be resent to the institution. You can monitor the status of the verification process for your credentials through your EPIC Account.
Can I expedite the verification?
Because the time required to complete the verification process depends on a number of factors, including the time it takes for the issuing institution to respond to our verification requests, there is no way to expedite the verification process. However, at the time you upload your credential, you may have the option to request that ECFMG send the credential to the issuing institution by courier rather than airmail. ECFMG recommends this service as it reduces transit time, but please note that there is an additional fee for this service.
If you would like your verified credential returned by the issuing institution to ECFMG via courier, you will need to make arrangements directly with the issuing institution. ECFMG does not arrange for return courier service from the issuing institution. Please note, if you make arrangements with the issuing institution to return the credential via courier, the credential still must be returned to ECFMG directly from the issuing institution.
If the option to send your credential via courier is unavailable at the time you upload it for verification, and the issuing institution participates in ECFMG’s electronic Credentials Verification program, the credential will be sent to the institution electronically.
So, EPIC will speed up my GMC registration?
No. GMC registration runs along at it’s own pace. If you are applying for GMC registration after 11 June, 2018, you HAVE TO have your PMQ verified through EPIC, otherwise your application won’t be scrutinised. If you are applying before that, you don’t even need EPIC verification.
I’m still confused!
That’s understandable. There’s a lot of new information and steps to be taken now, and it’s definitely not easy to absorb it all in one go.