Working abroad as a doctor - key considerations

Our guidance covers a list of things you should consider before working abroad as a doctor.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Wednesday 1 May 2024
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Your new contract

  • Check your contract on conditions of employment before signing it.
  • To get industrial relations advice contact the BMA equivalent in your new country of employment.
  • The BMA cannot advise on specific terms and conditions of employment overseas because your new contract will be governed by overseas employment law.
  • Make sure the contract is signed by both parties before departing the UK.
  • Each country will have a unique medical system designed to meet its own medical needs. UK grades may not have an exact equivalent in another country.

For more advice read our guidance on contracts for overseas trained doctors.


Financial matters

Some of the financial matters to consider include:

  • mortgages
  • tax (home and abroad)
  • pension
  • insurance policies 
  • savings and investment policies, national insurance and banking arrangements
  • differences in the cost of living and how these might affect your financial planning. 
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BMA pensions


Contact our pensions department:

How we represent you

GMC register and BMA membership

Notify the GMC and the BMA of your change of address. You must specifically ask the BMA membership department via [email protected] if you wish to receive BMJ Careers when abroad or you can view it online. Receiving it will help you to plan a seamless return to the UK. 

Resigning your registration may save you money but discuss the implications with the GMC before doing so.


Health advice, immunisation and insurance

Check the travel health pro website for more information about health advice for travellers.

You are strongly advised to take out private health insurance if this is not included in your terms and conditions of employment. Make sure that the policy is appropriate (eg long trip, dangerous sports) and that you read the small print.


Human rights and medical ethics

If you are in any doubt about the legitimacy of the work you are being asked to perform, you should contact the BMA Ethics Department at [email protected].



Enquiries about immigration should be addressed to the appropriate High Commission or embassy in the UK. A directory of foreign embassies in the UK is available from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


Medical indemnity


In some countries registration is not organised on a national basis as it is in the UK and it may be carried out at the regional level with requirements varying from region to region.

Ease of registration will often depend on how much the country or region needs doctors. Most organisations recruiting doctors to areas of need will arrange registration for you. Check what the requirements are and what documentation you need before you go.

Before you go you may need:

  • a job offer before you can register
  • a Certificate of Good Standing - this can be obtained from the General Medical Council (GMC) who will send it directly to the appropriate employer or health regulator.

The conditions for registration will often depend on your individual circumstances and the BMA will not always be able to give you a definitive answer.