How to Get GMC Registration for IMGs15 Feb, 20238 Minutes
As an international medical graduate, if you want to work as a doctor in the UK, there’s on...
As an international medical graduate, if you want to work as a doctor in the UK, there’s one step you must take: applying for GMC registration. Once you apply and get accepted onto the GMC register, you are licensed to practice medicine in the UK. However, getting there requires a couple of steps – you must prove that you have the necessary medical skills and knowledge to practice medicine safely. It ensures that every NHS doctor practices at the same high level.
GMC Registration: Cost and Eligibility
As of 2023, the registration fee for GMC registration is £433, which is the initial cost that allows you to join the register. For those eligible for an income or fixed-term discount, the payment is less at only £166. To stay on the register, it costs £433 per year. Whichever fee you’re paying, you can do it online. Also, remember that the price tends to go up over time.
To be eligible for GMC registration as an international medical graduate, you must have graduated with a medical degree outside of the UK and EU. The exact criteria you need to be accepted depends on your nationality and whether you have a post-graduate qualification. For example, if you have a post-graduate qualification, you won’t need to take the PLAB test. However, if you don’t have a PGQ, the PLAB test provides access to gaining GMC registration.
Before reading on you to how to apply you might want to watch this explainer video which details all of the criteria for GMC registration:
The GMC makes the process of applying for registration easy by letting you do it through its online portal. Only start this process once you are sure you have everything prepared, as you only have three months to complete the GMC application once you have begun. Here is what you will need:
1: Your Primary Medical Qualification
Every IMG doctor needs a primary medical qualification to join the GMC register. Keep in mind that they accept some PMQs and not others, so you’ll need to check on their website if yours is applicable. Before registration is granted any non-UK medical qualifications need to be verified by the Educational Comission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) – you can do this through the Electronic Portfolio of Internaional Credentials (EPIC). THE ECFMG directly contact your awarding institution to check your credentials.
2: Evidence of Completed Internship
Next, you’ll need to prove that you have done twelve months of a medical internship in a hospital. This experience must have taken place just after (or before) graduation. To prove this, you can show GMC a letter of completion, including the dates you completed the internship.
Some people don’t complete twelve months of an internship straight after graduation. In this case, you have an alternative option – practice medicine for a minimum of two years in a public hospital. Again, you will need a letter from the hospital with all the necessary details about your internship, including the dates.
3: Knowledge of the English Language
Working as a doctor in the UK requires clearly communicating with patients and colleagues. To do this, you’ll need to have a good knowledge of the English language – and be able to prove that. There are two tests you can take to do just that:
The International English Language Testing System has a fee of £175-195, and you need an overall score of 7.5 to pass.
The Occupational English Test requires a B in each of the four sections to pass, and costs a total of £329.
Both of these tests are valid for up to two years after taking them.
The IELTS might tempt you because of the cheaper fee; however, we generally recommend taking the OET – it tests medical language so it more applicable than the IELTS and is thought to be easier and more useful for doctors.
4: Post-graduate Qualification/PLAB
For your GMC application to get accepted, you must prove your skills and knowledge in medicine. There are several options for doing that, with the two most popular being a post-graduate qualification and passing the PLAB.
The PLAB comes in two parts: parts one and two. Part one is a 2-hour exam with multiple choice questions, while part two is an objective structured clinical exam. The PLAB is not a walk in the park, so lots of studying and prep is necessary. You’ll need to pass both parts to gain access to GMC registration (if you don’t have a post-grad qualification).
A large number of post-graduate qualifications from many countries are accepted and simply need verification as discussed above. These tend to be specialist Royal College qualifications such as FRCA for Anaesthesiology or equivalents in other fields of medicine. The GMC registration process will allow you to keep practising in the area you have chosen if you have a recognised post-graduate qualification.
5: Certificate of Good Standing
A Certificate of Good Standing is a document you must obtain from each medical regulatory authority you have worked at over the past five years, which you will need to show to the GMC. These certificates show that you have upheld good medical practice wherever you have held a licence and indicate your level of professionalism and ethics. Keep in mind that your certificates will only be valid for three months after receiving them, so start your GMC application as soon as you have them.
During the GMC application, you’ll have to provide other information, including where you have worked over the last five years. If there are any gaps in your CV, you will likely need to explain that.
You will also be assessed on your health and fitness; this is to ensure you are well enough to practice medicine in the UK. You can detail your medical history in your GMC application.
Why Do IMGs Need GMC Registration?
All these steps might seem like a lot of work, but many international doctors find the process more than worth it in the long run. That’s because GMC registration means having a license to practice in the UK. When working for the NHS, you can expect plenty of benefits – an excellent work-life balance, competitive pay, and access to development opportunities in your chosen field. By applying and ultimately getting accepted for your GMC registration, you prove that you have the necessary skills to be able to reap those benefits.
What Happens After Sending the Application?
Once you have sent your GMC application, it will be assessed within five working days. After those five working days, you will receive an email or letter informing you whether your application has been successful.
After a successful application, you need to attend an ID check in the UK (which you’ll receive the details of, including time and location). At this ID check, you’ll need your passport and address proof on your person. The appointment itself only takes around twenty minutes and is usually in the GMC office in London. Keep in mind, though, that these bookings get taken up quickly, so book your slot as soon as possible!
Remember that many IMG doctors gain their GMC registration in different ways depending on their career goals and current qualifications. In the next articles, we will go into more detail about the specifics of attaining your GMC registration, including the different ways to obtain it, from MTI to PLAB.