The first doctors are likely to undergo revalidation within months after the GMC announced the system was ready for implementation.
The regulator will now recommend to the government that it sets the wheels in motion so that the process can begin in December.
GMC chair Professor Sir Peter Rubin said the decision taken by the GMC council marked a historic day for the medical profession.
He said: ‘This is the biggest change in medical regulation since 1858. We are leading the world in this area, and this is a truly historic day.’
The GMC decision follows a meeting last week of the UK revalidation programme board, at which it was confirmed that all four countries were ready to start revalidation.
Sir Peter will now write to health secretary Jeremy Hunt to recommend he starts the relevant legislation allowing the process to begin.
Further work needed
The BMA has said significantly more work was needed to get revalidation into proper shape, but it felt the key principles for implementation had been recognised.
It added that it was continuing to push for more progress on a range of issues.
The GMC target is for each responsible officer to make recommendations for the revalidation of 20 per cent of their doctors between April 2013 and March 2014.
Local arrangements are being made for which doctors are chosen to go through the process first.
Sir Peter said that in his trust they were choosing doctors based on the last digit of their GMC registration number.
Doctors will get their revalidation dates in the spring, but the GMC has a target of coming up with precise dates by November 23.