Your nationality


Your nationality

Doctors who are EEA nationals, from Switzerland, or have EC rights

If you are an EEA national, you are free to come to the UK to work. You don't need a visa, or a job offer, or to be earning a particular salary. You can also bring your family members to the UK with you. You must, however, have the necessary knowledge of English before being granted a licence by the GMC, and may need to take a test. You will have to do some form of induction and training.

There is no limit on how long you can stay in the UK – it will depend on the contract of employment. However, once an EEA national has been in the UK for five years, they and their family members can claim permanent residence providing they have been working or self-employed for those five years. The BMA has information on claiming permanent residence for EEA nationals.

Croatian nationals need to seek specific permission to work in the UK. Further details are available from the Croatian nationals page of GOV.UK.

Registration and licensing

If you graduated from a medical school in the EEA or Switzerland and completed a medical internship, you may be able to use this qualification to apply for full registration. The GMC website provides a list of the specific documents that you need to provide, depending on their country and date of qualification.

GP registration

Doctors who attained a GP qualification in the EEA or Switzerland which is listed in The Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications for the country in which they obtained the qualification are entitled to mutual recognition of that qualification.

Doctors who attained a GP qualification in the EEA or Switzerland which is not listed in The Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications for the country in which they obtained the qualification are entitled to an assessment of their qualification under the general system. This will compare the training they have undertaken to the UK GP curriculum. Doctors in this position should read the guidance for Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR) applicants.

Doctors from outside the EEA 

If you are a non-EEA national, you will need a job offer and a visa to work in the UK. A Tier 2 (General) visa is required and there are several rules you need to meet. More information can be found on the GOV UK and BMA websites.

If you are from outside the EEA, you may have specific rights to live and work in the UK, if you are the spouse of an EEA national, or because you have commonwealth ancestry rights. If you think this may apply to you, please check the GOV.UK website.

Immigration and visas

Immigration and visa rules change dramatically and frequently and the current system is extremely complex. For overseas doctors working and training in the UK who are subject to the immigration rules, how visa rules are applied can be disruptive. 

BMA members can access a free Immigration advice service which provides basic immigration advice in connection with your employment and study in the UK.

You can stay up to date by signing up to the BMA's free visa alerts service

Registration and licensing

If you do not hold a UK primary medical qualification, there are three ways you can obtain full registration with a licence to practise:

These assess whether you have the required knowledge and skills to practise medicine safely. Whichever route is followed, you must hold an acceptable primary medical qualification.

To obtain a GMC licence to practise, doctors from outside the EEA must prove that they have the necessary knowledge of English to communicate effectively so that the safety of patients is not put at risk. This includes speaking, reading, writing and listening.

There are several ways that doctors from outside the EEA can demonstrate they have the necessary knowledge of English, including achieving the required scores in the International English Testing System (IELTS). More information can be found on the GMC website

GP registration 

Doctors who have either a postgraduate qualification in general practice, or a minimum of six months GP training – undertaken anywhere in the world – can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR). The GMC does not automatically recognise any GP qualifications attained outside of the EEA, although evidence of GP training undertaken overseas can be useful supporting evidence for CEGPR applications. Similarly, RCGP accredited international membership assessments leading to MRCGP [INT] are unique to each of the nine countries where international members have qualified. As such, MRCGP [INT] is not automatically deemed equivalent to UK MRCGP, but can be used to support a CEGPR application. 

Once you have gained a CEGPR you are automatically included in the GP Register.

Certification of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR) applications

A CEGPR application can be made by doctors who feel that their knowledge, skills and experience are equivalent to the standards required by the current approved curriculum for UK general practice.

Applicants will need to provide verified documentary evidence showing how they have achieved all the competencies required by the current GP curriculum. They will be asked to provide referees who can comment on their recent practise and skills, and will also need to submit 'primary evidence' of their work, such as patient logs and case studies. As a general guide, most applicants submit around 500-800 pages of evidence. It can take around six months for your application to be considered from the point of application.

The RCGP and GMC have produced detailed guidance on the evidence a doctor should submit in support of their CEGPR application.

If you would like to gain MRCGP once you have a CEPGR, you will also need to complete Membership by Assessment of Performance (MAP).

Read about Antony's move from Australia to London (PDF) and Dr Charlotte Cant's move from Alaska to Scotland (PDF). Dr Cant has written also provided some top tips on applying for a CEGPR (PDF).

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