Relinquishing your licence to practise
If you decide to work or volunteer abroad, you may wish to consider giving up your licence for the period you are out of UK practice.
The main advantages of giving up your licence to practice but maintaining your registration are:
- A reduced annual retention rate is charged by the GMC for holding registration without a licence
- You keep a professional connection with the GMC
- You won’t be involved in revalidation (until you have a licence to practise again)
UK employers' policies on this issue vary, so always check your contract with your employer before giving up you license to practise.
If you are a trainee, giving up your licence to practise may not be permitted, for example if you are undertaking an OOP Experience or Training. We strongly advise that you consult your employer and training organisation before making any decisions about whether to remain on the UK register.
You also need to check whether the medical association or organisation in the country where you will be working requires you to be licenced in your home country.
Maintaining your license to practise
If you choose to maintain a licence to practise in the UK while practising abroad, you will need to follow normal procedures for revalidation. This includes collecting supporting information and having an annual appraisal that covers your full scope of practice.
You must ensure that you keep the GMC updated about your connection with a designated body or suitable person for the purposes of revalidation, including if you no longer have a prescribed connection. You can update these details using GMC online.
See the section on revalidation (below) for further information.
Restoring your licence to practise
If you have given up your licence to practise but kept your registration, you will need to restore your licence before you can practise again in the UK.
You will also need to ensure that you have the right type of registration for the work that you are returning to in the UK. If you need to change the type of registration you hold, the GMC website sets out information on how to apply for registration with a licence to practise.
If you don’t need to change your registration and just want to restore your licence, you can do so up to three months before you need your licence. It is important to make an early application so that you are able to start practising as soon as you return to the UK.
You must make your application online via the GMC website. Check the GMC website for current evidence requirements and more information on the process you need to follow.
The GMC will ask for:
- Proof of identity (copy of current passport)
- Certificate(s) of good standing from other medical regulators you have been registered with
- Statements from your recent employer(s) about your employment and work for them
You may also need to attend a GMC office, in either London or Manchester, for an identity check.
You should not assume that your licence has been restored or your registration type changed until you receive written confirmation from the GMC.