COVID-19: guidance for international doctors

We offer guidance for IMGs and international students about your visa, GMC registration, exam cancellations and how to help during the pandemic.

Location: UK
Audience: Medical students International doctors
Updated: Monday 7 September 2020

If you are on a visa

The Home Office published further COVID-19 related immigration measures on 3 April 2020.

Please note the following concessions for NHS workers:

  • doctors employed by the NHS, together with their family members, and whose visas are due to expire before 1 October 2020, will have their visas automatically extended, free of charge, for one year and will not be subject to the immigration health surcharge
  • existing applications received for indefinite leave to remain will be processed
  • individuals who have applied to switch visas will be prioritised
  • the restriction lifted on the number of hours a doctors can work or volunteer each week
  • doctors can work in any NHS hospital during the coronavirus pandemic if their sponsor can maintain their sponsorship duties
  • dependants of NHS workers who sadly die on the frontline due to coronavirus will automatically be granted indefinite leave to remain without having to pay a fee.

If you are a BMA member, and want to talk through your immigration concerns please contact the BMA immigration advice service on 0300 123 1233, where a dedicated team will be able to assist you.

The BMA international and immigration department are continuing to work closely with the UK Home Office to ensure further concessions are secured so you are able to work without concern about your, and your family’s immigration status.

Implications for EEA/Swiss nationals

As the UK has now left the European Union, nationals of the European Economic Area and Switzerland and their family members currently living in the UK have until the end of June 2021 to register under the EU settlement scheme for pre-settled and settled status.

You can continue to apply via the specially designed app, and applications can be also made from abroad.

The EU settlement resolution centre has closed its phone service, and instead enquiries should be directed via the Governmental portal.

The Home Office has set up a special coronavirus immigration help centre:

Phone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, free)
Email: [email protected]


If your GMC registration exams have been cancelled

PLAB tests

The GMC are restarting PLAB 2 from 13 August 2020. Demand for PLAB 2 is very high and all available places are currently booked. You can access information for PLAB candidates on the GMC website.

The Government has published guidance for those whose leave expired between 24 January and 31 July 2020 which grants an extra month’s grace period within the UK to 31 August 2020.

If you intend to leave the UK but are not able to do so by 31 August 2020, you may request additional time to stay by contacting the coronavirus immigration team.

The indemnity does not grant you leave but will act as a short-term protection against any consequences after your leave has expired. 

English language tests

If you are due to take your English language test please continue to check for further updates on test centres, group bookings, and dates via:

If you have completed your English language test, but are concerned about the validity of your English language evidence as you are unable to sit PLAB 2, please refer to the GMC website for details of who to contact.


IMG offer
We support doctors new to the UK


We provide a wide range of resources to help you settle in to work in the UK.

We are offering a special 50% discount membership offer until September 2021 for doctors new to the UK.

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If you are a doctor with no GMC number or license to practice, but want to help

You can be considered to work as a medical support worker.

Medical support workers can play a valuable role, as part of a multi-disciplinary professional team, in providing high quality care for patients.

They will undertake a range of essential routine clinical tasks under the supervision of the relevant consultant, GP or GP nurse supervisor in charge of the clinical area in which they are employed.

This role may be used to support medical staff in GP practices, critical care units or in other secondary or community care settings.

Who can be a medical support worker?

The role is suitable for those who have had medical training but have been out of clinical practice for a significant period and do not wish to take on a doctor role.

It is also suitable for those who do not yet have GMC registration, for example, international medical graduates or refugee doctors currently living in the UK.

The medical support worker role will allow individuals to demonstrate foundation-level medical training competency.

BMA immigration advice service
BMA immigration advice service


Our dedicated immigration advice service can give you free, basic advice on your visa situation.

Call - 0300 123 1233​

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