GMC Registration UK

In the UK, the US medical licensing becomes GMC Registration UK. The following account attempts to simplify the entire GMC UK Registration process. Also, we have included the real challenges that Indian Doctors face in the UK.

Great Britain is the country where the idea of “Medical License’ literally came to be, though the term itself originated in the US. 

Brief History

Almost 300 years before the US, the notion of Medical Regulation began taking shape in the UK. It began as early as the third decade of the 1400s.

Eventually, in 1858, the General Council of Medical Education and Registration of the United Kingdom came into existence. Today, this British Medical Association is the General Medical Council (GMC).


It will be best to quote the General Medical Council official website to actually present a simple picture of what does General Medical Council do?

We help to protect patients and improve medical education and practice in the UK by setting standards for students and doctors.

GMC holds a special significance that one should stop and think about.

At that time, there were no examples or precedents to help them navigate the unexplored waters of medical regulation. It is indeed a landmark event from the perspective of human development.

It is frightening to imagine a world without medical regulation. A world where a quack could kill an unsuspecting fellow and get away with it! In a nutshell, the GMC regulates the upkeep of the integrity of the entire healthcare infrastructure of the UK.

How are the working conditions in UK for foreign Doctors? Now that is a different story altogether. We have a section at the end that you must check out – Challenges that an Indian Doctor faces in the UK.

The GMC is in administrative control of three functional areas -

  • Registration & Licensing
  • Ethical guidance
  • Medical Education

Let’s check GMC registration process in detail.


Types Of Registration GMC UK

For our current discussion, we will focus on GMC registration for overseas doctors.

Remember, there is going to be a lot of ‘evidence accumulation’ involved when you try to enter the GMC Doctors Register!

To remove any confusion, the US coined the term Medical Licensing. The UK uses the term ‘Registration’.

Hence, you should say GMC Registration UK or simply GMC Registration in UK. The expression GMC License may create confusion.

Let us try and understand the process of getting into the General Medical Register of the UK.

Types of Registration

The Registration that you can apply for in the UK depends on the status of your qualification, training, and experience.

So, we have the following –

  • GMC UK Provisional registration: You get to work in the post of approved UK Foundation Year 1*, under supervision.
  • GMC UK Full registration: This gives you the basic freedom of unsupervised medical practice. With a Full registration, you work in the approved UK Foundation Year 2 program*.
  • GMC UK Specialist registration: A Specialist registration with a license to practice makes you eligible to hold the post of a consultant in a medical (or surgical) speciality in any UK health service.
  • GMC UK GP registration: The General Practice (GP) registration is fully equivalent to the Medical License in the US. The GMC GP Register is the database that contains the details of all 3, 49,482 General Practitioners in UK. To work as a GP, you must be on this GP register.

[The 2 years PG Training Program in the UK is like a bridge course between MBBS and specialization and is termed as the UK Foundation Program (UKFP). During this, you are called a Foundation Doctor.
*Foundation Year 1 program (FY1) is the first year of PG Training and is equivalent to an internship. So, here you have supervised interaction with patients.
The **Foundation Year 2 program (FY2) is an additional year of experience before starting specialty training. It is unsupervised medical practice.]

Different Routes

The option of GMC UK Provisional Registration is open for you only if you have not done an Internship. If you have done an Internship, you can try for only the GMC UK Full Registration.

You need to understand the different GMC UK Registration routes in the context of the qualification that you have.

Route through UKMLA

It is relevant to start with exploring the route that involves the PLAB test/UKMLA. This test is perhaps the closest thing to a “Medical Licensing exam UK”.

The UKMLA will replace the PLAB test soon. These tests serve the purpose of evaluating an International Medical Graduate's eligibility for Medical License/Registration in UK.

Firstly, the PLAB test/UKMLA route to the GMC medical register is less challenging when you decide to adopt this path early. By early we mean relative to the completion of your Primary Medical Qualification (MBBS).

However, the only option left for you through this route later will be the GMC UK Full Registration.


Till 2024, the Professional & Linguistic Assessments Board Test (PLAB test) is the instrument to assess the skills and knowledge of an International Medical Graduate. It also judges whether she is fit to be trained to practice medicine in the UK.

In short, an IMG's performance in PLAB determines her eligibility to practice in the UK.

The UKFP has a process of categorizing students based on equivalence.

So, an IMG clears PLAB and she has completed her Internship. In this case, she will be equivalent to a Doctor in UK who starts the Foundation Year 2 program. She has the eligibility to apply for Full Registration.

But, she may not have done her Internship and yet, may have cleared PLAB. In this case, she will be equivalent to one who starts the Foundation Year 1 Program. Therefore, she will be eligible to apply for the GMC UK Provisional Registration.

Stages of PLAB

The PLAB test has two stages. PLAB 1 is an exam that has 180 MCQs that tests your recall. On the other hand, PLAB 2 is a practical OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Exam) that tests your clinical skills.

The GMC ascertains your linguistic skills by assessing your score in specific tests. It may be the IELTS (Band Score 7.0 or higher) or OET (Grade B in reading, writing, listening & speaking).

After you pass PLAB 1 & 2, you apply for the GP registration. There is one constraint. You have a window of 2 years after clearing PLAB 2 during which you may apply, not later.


By 2024, the UK Medical Licensing Assessment will replace the PLAB. The COVID pandemic has resulted in a major change that has affected life everywhere and at every level.

Especially the healthcare sector has faced unprecedented pressure. Consequently, the GMC UK is changing certain things in PLAB and creating the UKMLA exam. For a detailed analysis of the UKMLA exam

Download PDF

Once you clear the PLAB test/UKMLA, you can apply for the GMC UK Registration.

If you have not done your Internship, you are eligible to apply for the GMC UK Provisional Registration. If you have completed your Internship, you can only be evaluated for the GMC UK Full Registration.

GMC UK Provisional Registration

Through a GMC UK Provisional Registration, you first complete the UK-approved F1 Program which is more of an advanced Internship. After completion of the program, you become eligible for GMC UK Full Registration.

To be able to consider applying for this registration, you must be anyone of the following –

  • A UK medical graduate
  • An IMG with an acceptable Primary Medical Qualification who has not done her Internship but has cleared the PLAB test/UKMLA.
  • Qualified from a European country featuring in an approved list of European countries like France, Poland, etc.
GMC UK Full Registration
GMC UK Full Registration

The first of the GMC registration requirements for Full Registration would be checking the authenticity of your primary medical qualification.

  • You start by opening a GMC Online account.
  • Here, you need to provide a copy of your primary medical qualification which would be your MBBS degree.
  • The GMC UK will confirm if your primary medical qualification is acceptable.
  • Once that is out of the way, you will have to get it verified independently.
  • You will send the documents to the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates ECFMG.
  • The ECFMG verifies the awarding institution online through the EPIC service (Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials).
  • Once your qualification is duly verified, the ECFMG intimates the GMC UK.
  • You will have to provide evidence of your Internship. One must have an Internship from a public hospital with duration of at least 12-18 months. You must have spent at least 3-6 months in Medicine and 3-6 in Surgery.
  • You send a Certificate or letter of completion from the hospital with details of your Rotations – dates and specialties. Make sure the letter is made out in the letterhead of the hospital


Other proofs
  • Needless to say, you have to verify your identity which will be taken care of by your passport details.
  • Also, you need to send a certificate of good standing (CGS). This should be from a relevant medical authority you’re registered with in your country. If you studied elsewhere, you need the CGS from the country you have done your degree from.
  • Even if you are not registered, these authorized medical authorities may issue a certificate. You can visit the CGS Directory in General Medical Council official website. Here you can find out the medical authority relevant to you at GMC online.
  • In addition, you will need to furnish the details of your activities over the last 5 years. You will need to clarify whether they are related to medicine or otherwise. Your MBBS degree speaks for itself if you are a fresh graduate. If you have passed out earlier, the foreign doctors in UK requirements mandate you to send details of your engagement.
  • In case you have been engaged in non-medical work, you will have to furnish employer references. And then there is a Declaration Tool Declaration Tool on the GMC online register that you will have to answer. It contains 10 questions regarding your ‘health & fitness’.
Post Application

Upon submission of your complete application, the General Medical Council will ask for a number of documents.

These you may send in the form of PDF to or you may also send it by post.

However, the General Medical Council official website says that they are not accepting posts due to the COVID situation. GMC online registration is on and GMC registration check is also online. Just make sure the documents reach GMC UK within 28 days of their sending you the mail.

Finally, you get a chance to work in an ‘approved practice setting’ if:

  • Your documents are in order.
  • Your application for work permit for Doctors in UK is successful.
Approved Practice Setting

An ‘approved practice setting’ is one that -

  • Supervises and regularly appraises the Doctors
  • Ensures training and continuous skill developments
  • Monitors the Doctors’ acumen to practice medicine.
Designated Body

A ‘designated body’ means an organization that has set clinical administrative protocols including a system of skill-appraisal of Doctors.

That means, the Doctors having a connection to a ‘designated body’ are supported by the body for their Revalidation*. The primary objective of a ‘designated body’ is the protection and promotion of patient interests.

All ‘designated bodies’ are ‘approved practice settings’ but not necessarily vice versa

What about IMGs ?

For International Medical Graduates UK, it is mandatory to work in an ‘approved practice setting’ till their first Revalidation*. This applies to the UK Graduates too.

This restriction doesn’t apply if the Doctors enroll in the GP/Specialist Register. So, when the GMC UK revalidates the Doctors or they get registered in the GP/Specialist Register, this restriction is lifted.

Of course, the restriction doesn’t apply to those who have Provisional Registration.

So, those who seek UK Medical License for foreigners need to first, find the ‘designated body’ they are connected to. After that, they need to update it on GMC online .

Keep in mind that a GMC registration without PLAB is a possibility.

“* To understand Revalidation.

Download PDF

Route with a valid Post Graduation

For this, you need a Medical PG from an approved University. That means the University should feature in the approved list of the General Medical Council.

If you are an IMG and hold a valid Primary Medical Qualification (an MBBS) and you have a Medical PG that is acceptable to GMC UK, you may opt to explore this route.

You should begin by double-checking if the University features in this list.

As you can see in the list above, none of the Indian Universities feature in this list. This indicates that a Medical PG from India is not recognized by GMC UK, prima facie.

However, you may try to get a Recommendation Letter from the UK Medical Royal College. This is because the GMC UK may accept that. But that letter in itself is a rarity.

If you have an acceptable post-graduation or recommendation letter, the rest of the procedure is similar to the UKMLA route above.

The route through other exams

Interestingly, UKMLA is not the only competitive exam acceptable as one of the requirements to practice medicine in UK. If you have cleared any of the following, you have a shot –

  • United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) If you have cleared the USMLE step 1 and USMLE step 2, you are eligible for consideration by GMC UK. For obvious reasons, USMLE step 3 is inconsequential. To understand every detail of the USMLE and how we help numerous students to clear this exam, About USMLE.
  • Medical Council of Canada Qualification Examination 2 ( MCCQE 2)is also acceptable if you have taken it in English. know more About MCCQE
  • Australian Medical Council Clinical Examination ( AMCCE) is also acceptable.

Most importantly, you should have passed the ‘Clinical Skills’ section of these less than 2 years before the date of application. Or, you need to prove that you have been practising medicine for at least 3 years in the last 5 years.

Also, keep in mind the USMLE Step 2 CS and MCCQE 2 have been suspended due to the COVID pandemic. Keep your ears to the ground for any change in this status quo.

Route via Sponsorship

Apart from the common qualifications like your primary medical qualification, you may become eligible for GMC Registration if -

  • The UK Medical Royal College/faculty or one of the few selected PG Institutions has selected you for post-graduation.
  • One of the sponsors from the “approved sponsors’ list” sponsors you.

Do keep in mind that this sponsorship is entirely different from the Sponsorship for UK visa. Also, you need to have done Medical practice for 3 out of the last 5 years.

Route via applying for CESR or CEGPR

The ‘CE’ in the acronyms in the heading above expands to ‘Certificate of Eligibility’. So, these are Eligibility Certificates issued either for Registration for General Practice or as a Specialist.

  • CEGPR stands for Certificate of Eligibility for General Practice Registration
  • CESR stands for Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration.

This route requires time to process (6-9 months). There are a lot of formalities to be taken care of, mostly verification. This verification is of the details that you submit so you will yourself need to accumulate a lot of evidence.


To be eligible to apply for a GMC UK GP registration, you need to start with either GP Training (outside or within UK) or gain equivalent competencies.

The GMC UK doesn't accept every claim of GP Training from outside the UK.

“We would expect that this (GP Training) is in a program approved by the local training provider in that (concerned) country and therefore fully supervised.”

This is not ‘a piece of cake’ when you keep the required training details in perspective.

To take the GP Training, you need to start by getting on a primary medical performers’ list.

The primary care organizations manage these lists and so, you will have to apply to one of these in the relevant country that may be England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales. Read these links very carefully.


When you take the speciality route, you may either choose a certificate of completion of training (CCT) speciality or a non-certificate of completion of training (non-CCT) speciality.

The specialities approved for the award of a training completion certificate fall in the former category. The latter includes those specialities that are not approved for such a certificate.

For the latter, you must demonstrate credentials equivalent to a consultant in any of the UK Health Services.

The CCT speciality eligibility requirements may be

  • Either a specialist qualification (in the particular speciality), or
  • A minimum of 6 months of specialist training in it.

The evidence you need to provide is a copy of your qualification or a relevant employment certificate.

Similarly, the non-CCT speciality eligibility requirements include -

  • Either a non-UK specialist qualification
  • Or at least 6 months long specialist training. This Training must be non-UK and in a non-CCT speciality.

Now, whether CCT or non-CCT, your speciality has to be appropriate. You will need to demonstrate that your credentials match that of a UK health services consultant.

You may check the appropriateness of your speciality by sending an email to right away. Also, the GMC UK acknowledges that the names of specialities may be different in different countries.

Evidence accumulation

Let us now see what kind of ‘evidence accumulation’ you will be dealing with. Whether it is Provisional Registration, Full Registration, GP registration, or UK specialist registration, you will need to convince the GMC UK of your–

  • Identity
  • Primary medical qualification.
  • Command over the English language – IELTS or OET scores.
  • Fitness to practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

National Exit Test (abbreviated as NExT) is a proposed examination for all MBBS students in India that is required to pass the final year and obtain a license to practice medicine.[1] Admissions to postgraduate courses will be based on the merit of a candidate in NEXT.