Applying to work as a European doctor in the UK

A high level overview of the steps you will need to take to work as a doctor in the UK from the EEA.

Location: International
Audience: International doctors
Updated: Tuesday 22 December 2020

The UK voted to leave the EU in 2016 and officially did so on the 31 January 2020. During the so-called transition period, as an EEA (European economic area) citizen, you have the right to live and work in the UK, as you did under European law.

To exercise your right to live in the UK, you must be able to support yourself and your family without having to rely on public funds.

You do not need to obtain a visa or work permit to work in the UK during the transition period.

If your family members want to exercise their right to live in the UK and are not themselves EEA or Swiss nationals, they will have to apply for an EEA family permit before they travel to the UK.


Step 1: apply for GMC registration

To practise medicine in the UK you need to hold registration with a licence to practise from the GMC.

You will need to hold a European primary medical qualification that is listed in annex V of directive 2005/36/EC.

You can check your qualification by clicking on the link appropriate for you:

Depending on your qualification, you may also need to be added to the GP or specialist register.

If you have a primary medical qualification obtained outside of the EEA and UK, you will need to have it independently verified before you are granted registration with a licence to practise.

You should check whether this applies to you.

Submitting evidence

You will need to submit evidence of your fitness to practise, including details of your postgraduate medical experience and non-medical experience, for the last five years or since you graduated.

Break in practice

If you have had a break in medical practice you may find it more complicated to get registration and find work in the UK.

You need to make sure your knowledge and skills are up to date before you apply for work.


Working as a GP

If you want to practice as a GP you will need to:

  • join the GMC GP register
  • apply to join the national performers list which is a list of approved GPs, who satisfy a range of criteria necessary for working in the NHS
  • register on the NHS GP induction and refresher scheme which offers dedicated practical support and a range of assessments including placements and simulated surgeries.

NHS England provides financial support for those wishing to work in general practice in England. 

You can also apply for the international GP recruitment programme.


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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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Step 2: apply for a job

You can now apply for vacancies within the UK.

You can search for jobs that match your skills by registering at NHS jobs.

Try our tips on applying for jobs in UK healthcare.

EEA nationals are not subject to immigration controls and can apply for vacancies on the same basis as UK residents.


Step 3: apply for pre-settled status

If you arrived in the UK before the date that the UK left the EU (31 January 2020), you can apply for pre-settled status.

This applies if you have not completed five years of continuous residence in the UK and will be granted under UK domestic immigration law. Those who have lived in the UK continuously for five years will be eligible for settled status.

The EU settlement scheme was opened on 29 March 2019. You can apply now if you meet the criteria. You will need to be living in the UK before it leaves the EU. The deadline for applying is the 30 June 2021.

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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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