Regulating doctors, ensuring good medical practice

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).

Required IELTS scores changed on 18 June 2014

The IELTS scores required for international medical graduates who want to book a PLAB test place or apply for registration changed on 18 June 2014.

Read more information about the change to required IELTS scores.

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.
    • A pass in the PLAB test is only valid for three years. Therefore, you must gain registration with a licence to practise within three years of your PLAB 2 exam or you will need to re-sit the PLAB test.
  • 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 be either:

  • a 12 month programme that includes a minimum of three months in surgery and three months in medicine
  • a programme of at least ten months that includes a minimum of three months in surgery and three months in medicine which also includes an additional period of study of up to two months in order to prepare for an exit exam, together with successful completion of all exit examinations
  • the equivalent of two years full time post qualification experience at a publicly funded hospital in at least two branches of medicine and/or surgery.

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