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: Monday 11 October 2021
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The UK left the EU on the 31 January 2020 and entered a period of transition which ended on the 31 December 2020. The UK government introduced a new immigration system in January 2021.

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.

If you arrive in the UK from 31 January 2021, you now need to obtain a visa or work permit to work in the UK.

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 be eligible to apply for this route if you:

  • graduated from a medical school outside of the UK or Switzerland and
  • have passed both parts of the PLAB test within the past two years
  • have completed an internship.

If you hold a medical qualification awarded in the EEA or Switzerland, it may be classed as a 'relevant European qualification'. You can check if your qualification is included.

You can also check what qualifications are accepted from outside of the UK and EU.

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 of internship

To demonstrate you have completed an acceptable internship, you must submit evidence of having done at least 12 months' continuous medical practice in an approved training post in a public hospital, either immediately before or after you graduated.


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.

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.


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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If you have an immigration query, we can refer you to our dedicated immigration advice service, where you can get free, basic advice on your initial enquiry. 

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