Training in the UK and your visa

What visa you need to complete the foundation programme and apply for specialty training in the UK as an international doctor.

Location: UK
Audience: International doctors Medical students
Updated: Monday 25 March 2024
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The foundation programme

After spending four to six years at medical school, you will then enter into a two year foundation programme.

You can read more about the foundation programme and applying.

  • From 2022, all foundation trainees will need to apply for a health and care visa. International graduates will no longer be able to apply for a tier 4 visa.
  • If you are a trainee in England, HEE (Health Education England) will now sponsor you to remain in the UK, instead of your university. If you are a trainee in a devolved nation, you will be sponsored by either Health Education Improvement Wales, NHS Education for Scotland or Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency.
  • You can apply as soon as you receive your confirmation of acceptance for studies from the foundation programme.
  • You might be able to bring family members to the UK, check GOV.UK for eligibility and more information

Going on holiday before starting the foundation programme

If you plan to take a holiday outside of the UK before starting the programme in August, you must take the following documents with you that prove you have completed medical school in the UK and are returning to start the next stage of your training.

  • A copy of your skilled worker sponsorship letter from the foundation programme.
  • Confirmation letter of your place on the programme.
  • Confirmation from your medical school that you qualified as a doctor in the UK.


Applying for specialty training during FY2

The medical training initiative

The MTI (medical training initiative) allows international medical graduates (not from the EEA) to get training and experience in the UK for up to two years before returning to their home countries.

It does not allow formal approved training posts (such as speciality and foundation training posts), but rather, approved posts by deaneries and a wide range of relevant medical royal colleges for education and training.

The MTI operates under tier 5 immigration rules.


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