Information for doctors about pre-registration verification of qualifications

From 11 June 2018, applicants for provisional or full registration with a licence to practise will need to have their primary medical qualification independently verified before we can grant their registration, if they:

  • qualified at a medical school outside of the UK, EEA or Switzerland OR
  • are a national of a country outside the UK, EEA or Switzerland who graduated from a medical school outside the UK AND
  • do not already hold provisional registration with a licence to practise

Verification will be carried out by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), through their online system - known as the Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC) service. ECFMG will verify the qualification is genuine by checking this directly with the doctor's awarding institution.

If you're planning to apply for registration with a licence to practise after 11 June 2018, you'll need to read the information below.

What do I need to do?

From 11 June 2018, you'll need to have your qualification(s) verified if you're applying for registration with a licence to practise. After this date, you won't be able to apply until you have set up an EPIC account, and they have sent your qualification(s) to be verified.

We strongly recommend you start the verification process as early as possible and have your qualification(s) verified before starting your application. The time it takes to verify qualifications varies, depending on a number of factors, and we can only keep applications open for 90 days.

We also strongly recommend you read our information on Acceptable overseas medical qualifications to check that your PMQ is acceptable. We would advise you to create a GMC Online account as a first point of checking. If you are applying using your postgraduate qualification, you should also read our guidance on  Acceptable postgraduate qualifications. If your qualifications don't meet our criteria, we won't be able to grant your registration with a licence to practise, even if they have been verified by ECFMG. If you aren't sure whether your qualification is acceptable, you should contact us before starting the verification process.

Who are ECFMG and what is EPIC?

ECFMG stands for Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. They are a not-for-profit organisation based in the United States and they already provide this service for other regulators around the world. They have more than 30 years' experience in primary source verification. For more information on ECFMG, visit www.ecfmg.org.

EPIC (Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials) is ECFMG's online verification portal. The EPIC website is where you will set up an account and upload your qualification for verification. 

The EPIC verification process is managed entirely by ECFMG.

If you have any questions about the EPIC verification process, you can contact EPIC at info@ecfmgepic.org . Or you can ring  +1 (215) 966-3900, Monday - Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST ( US Eastern Standard Time).

For further information, you can read the special instructions for GMC applicants.

How does it work?

Once you're sure your qualifications are acceptable, the first step is establishing an EPIC account, and confirming your identity. Once you've done this, you'll be able to upload your qualifications for verification. ECFMG will assess your qualifications and communicate directly with your awarding institution, to confirm their authenticity. When they've verified your qualifications, you'll be informed by email and will be able to notify us.

For further information, please see the EPIC website and the special instructions for GMC applications.

If you have any questions about the EPIC verification process, please contact EPIC at info@ecfmgepic.org . Or you can  ring +1 (215) 966-3900, Monday - Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST (US Eastern Standard Time).

Why are you introducing this?

As a regulator, it is important that we provide the public with the confidence that doctors have the medical knowledge and skill, as well as the qualifications and experience, to provide excellent medical care. Checking directly with awarding institutions that medical qualifications are genuine, provides an extra level of assurance. This is in addition to what we already do to make sure that doctors who qualify outside of the UK are safe to practise. This level of assurance is becoming increasingly important as more doctors cross borders to practise medicine.

   

How will this benefit me?

Many medical regulators around the world are introducing this as part of their application processes. Once your qualifications have been verified, you can use EPIC to provide proof of this to other medical regulators who use ECFMG for this service; there's no need to have them verified again. This can save you time and money, if you choose to work in a country outside the UK.

 

Which qualifications need to be verified?

Most applicants will only need to verify their primary medical qualification. However, if you are applying because you hold an acceptable postgraduate qualification (PGQ), you will also need to have your PGQ verified.

You don't need to verify any other documents.       

What if I've already had my qualification verified by ECFMG?

If your qualification has already been verified by ECFMG, you won't need to have it verified again. Simply enter your existing EPIC ID number in your application.

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.

How long will verification take?

This depends on a number of factors including:

  • the time it takes for your awarding institution to respond to ECFMG (most schools respond within 90 days, but some take longer)
  • whether your institution accepts these requests electronically (sending requests by post or courier take longer)

We strongly recommend you start the verification process as early as possible and have your qualification(s) verified before applying because of these factors. We keep applications open for only 90 days.

How can track the progress of my verification?

ECFMG will email you when they send your qualification for verification, and again when it has been verified. If you want to monitor the status of your verification, you can do it via your EPIC account. If you have any queries about your verification, you should log into your EPIC account. You should not contact us as we won't be able to help.

For further information, please see the EPIC website and the special instructions for GMC applications.

If you have any questions about the EPIC verification process, please contact EPIC at info@ecfmgepic.org . Or you can  ring +1 (215) 966-3900, Monday - Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST (US Eastern Standard Time).

What happens when my qualification is verified?

ECFMG will contact you once they've verified your qualification(s). Once you've confirmed that they can share this information with us (you can do this when you create your EPIC account or once they've completed the verification), they'll automatically send us the report.

What happens if my qualification can't be verified?

It is rare that ECFMG are unable to verify a qualification, although occasionally it can take some time for some awarding institutions to respond. We strongly recommend you start the verification process well in advance of applying, as we only keep applications open for 90 days.

In the event that ECFMG are unable to verify your qualification within the required timeframe, we will need to understand the reasons why, before advising you on the next steps.

How much will it cost?

The fees are charged in USD and you'll need to pay ECFMG directly.  Based on exchange rates as at January 2018, it can cost anywhere between £155 - £260, depending on how many qualifications you need to submit for verification.

These fees are set by ECFMG and you should contact your bank or check currency conversion sites for the most up to date foreign exchange rates. Please see the Fees section of ECFMG's website for further information.

If I change my mind, or my qualification can't be verified, can I get a refund?

Refunds aren't available once ECFMG have started the verification process. If your awarding institution has not responded to the verification requests, you should contact them directly. If you have any further issues regarding the verification, you will need to contact ECFMG. Please see the Fees section of ECFMG's website for further information.

I'm a refugee - will I receive financial support?

If you have been granted refugee status in the UK, we will pay the verification fees on your behalf. You should contact us before creating your EPIC account.