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Applying for registration as an International Medical Graduate

This guidance sets out our requirements for registration with a licence to practise for International Medical Graduates (IMGs).

IMG doctors can apply for two types of registration: provisional registration with a licence to practise and full registration with a licence to practise. If you have completed an acceptable internship either overseas or in the UK you can only apply for full registration with a licence to practise.

If you have not completed an acceptable internship you will be eligible for provisional registration with a licence to practise. Please see our important information on provisional registration.

Help with registration fees for refugee doctors living in the UK

If you are a refugee doctor, you may be able to get a discount on the fees you must pay to register with the GMC. Please see our help page for refugee doctors.

Getting registered

To get registration with a licence to practise you need to give us the following evidence:

Acceptable primary medical qualifications

Your primary medical qualification must be acceptable to us for the purpose of registration with a licence to practise.

For information about our criteria and details of qualifications that are not acceptable please read our guidance on acceptable primary medical qualifications.

English language capability

This will normally be demonstrated by achieving the minimum results in the academic version of the IELTS test. We only accept IELTS scores that are less than two years old.

Sometimes, we will accept other evidence of your English language capability. Please see our English language requirements guidance for more information.

Registration and licensing history

You will have to give details of your registration or licensing for all the medical regulatory authorities of any countries where you have practised or held registration or a licence in the last five years. This includes details of medical regulatory authorities that you have been registered or licensed with but not practised under their jurisdiction.

Certificates of Good Standing

You will need to give us a Certificate of Good Standing (CGS) from each of the medical regulatory authorities that you have listed.

This may be known as a certificate of past good standing if you are no longer registered with that authority.

Certificates of Good Standing can take some time to arrive, please make sure you have all CGS before you apply.

You can find more information on CGS in our application guidance.

Knowledge and skills

  • A pass in the PLAB test
    • For more information please see our PLAB Test guidance.
    • Before September 2017, a pass in the PLAB test is only valid for 3 years. After September 2017, it will only be valid for 2 years.
  • An acceptable postgraduate qualification (PGQ)
    • Details of the UK and international qualifications that we accept can be found in our acceptable PGQ guidance. If your qualification is not on this list we will also accept a letter from a UK medical Royal College confirming that an international qualification is equivalent to its own qualification.
    • The JRCPTB can no longer confirm that an international postgraduate qualification is an acceptable alternative to the MRCP (UK) qualification.
    • You must gain full registration with a licence to practise within three years of passing your postgraduate qualification or we will not accept it.
  • Sponsorship by an approved sponsor
    • We have a list of organisations and individuals approved to sponsor doctors for the purpose of full registration with a licence to practise. If your sponsor is not on this list then you cannot apply using sponsorship as evidence of your knowledge and skill.
    • For further details please see our list of approved sponsors.
  • Eligibility for entry onto the Specialist Register or the GP Register

Experience

If you are applying for full registration with a licence to practise you will need to prove that you have gained the experience necessary to practise as a fully registered medical practitioner in the UK.

To apply for full registration with a licence to practise you must have satisfactorily completed Year 1 of the Foundation programme (F1) in the UK, or a period of pre-graduate or postgraduate clinical experience outside the EEA. This period of clinical experience is usually referred to as an internship. You will need to provide details of your pre-graduate or postgraduate internship.

To be acceptable your internship must meet the criteria set out in either pattern A or B below:

Pattern A

A minimum of 12 months continuous medical practice in a training programme undertaken immediately prior or immediately following graduation, which includes:

  • at least three months of practice in medicine and three months in surgery (for programmes between 12 and 18 month in duration) OR
  • at least six months of practice in medicine and six months in surgery (for programmes of 18 months or longer)

In addition to pattern A above, your experience/internship must meet the following:

The programme must be satisfactorily completed and must be an approved training post. Honorary posts are not acceptable.

Pre-graduate programmes that start outside the final year of study will be considered, providing the programme does not all take place before the final year. We will require verification from authorities overseeing training programmes where the programme otherwise meets our minimum standards but has been completed before the final year because of a requirement to undertake national service. Postgraduate programmes completed more than two years after graduation will require referral to an Assistant Registrar.

All periods of practice must be continuous, uninterrupted internship rotations (or equivalent) completed as part of the training programme and posts which involve observation, such as clinical attachments, shadowing, observerships and clerkships, rather than active medical practice with direct patient contact, are not acceptable.

You cannot be absent for more than 20 days in any 12 month period (in addition to annual leave, which can be up to 5 weeks).

The first 12 months of your practice should otherwise be uninterrupted with a maximum break thereafter of no more than 12 months before returning to complete the programme. The entire programme must involve regular educational and clinical supervision, and confirmation of satisfactory completion of the programme - this can be in the form of a certificate or document which details all of your rotations and confirms the programme was completed satisfactorily. All breaks after the first 12 months must be authorised by the authority overseeing the training programme. Breaks taken for reasons other than the pursuit of medical – related education, training or experience, or contractual maternity/paternity leave will require referral to an Assistant Registrar.

The date of issue of the certificate or document confirming successful completion of the programme must match the date the programme ended.

Pattern B

A minimum of two years continuous postgraduate medical practice in at least two branches of medicine and two branches of surgery. The post graduate medical experience has to have been undertaken in a public hospital that meets the standards for regulation within its jurisdiction and has established supervision, safety and governance systems in place.

In addition to pattern B above, your experience/internship must meet the following:  

Your practice must include a minimum of three months continuous, uninterrupted practice in each of the two branches of medicine and surgery.

You cannot be absent for more than 20 days in any 12 month period (in addition to annual leave, which can be up to 5 weeks). All breaks after the first 12 months must be authorised by employing organisation. Breaks taken for reasons other than the pursuit of medical – related education, training or experience, or contractual maternity/paternity leave will require referral to an Assistant Registrar. 

The first 12 months of your practice should otherwise be uninterrupted with a maximum break thereafter of no more than 12 months before returning to medical practice.

Your postgraduate medical practice must be completed under supervision and confirmation of satisfactory completion provided by your supervising consultant(s).

Whether your training/ experience is acceptable will be decided at the point of dealing with an application for registration. The information on this page is subject to change. You are advised to check these pages regularly for up to date information. Any application for full registration will be assessed in line with the legislation, procedures and criteria in place at the time such an application is received.

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