Can EU and Overseas Doctors Practice in the UK?

In this post, we’ll explain the process all overseas doctors must complete to work as a General Practitioner (GP) in the UK.

How Can EU and Overseas Doctors Practice in the UK?

Doctors from the EU and other overseas countries can practice in the UK. It can take several months to register to practice in the UK. Though the time it takes will depend on your level of training and experience, and the country where you gained your medical qualifications.

Doctors from the EU and other overseas countries can practice in the UK

How to Gain a Licence to Working as a GP in the UK

First, you’ll need to acquire a Licence to Practice, and register with the General Medical Council (GMC). To register with the GMC, you need a medical degree from a recognised institution, which must be at an equivalent level to a UK medical degree.

If you gained a GP qualification from an EEA country or Switzerland, check that your qualification’s listed in the Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications. If your qualification is listed in the Directive, the GMC will accept it.

If not, you can request an assessment of your qualification through applying for a Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration. This means the GMC will compare the curriculum you studied to the UK curriculum.

If you’re from a country outside of the EEA and Switzerland, you’ll need both a job offer and a Tier 2 general visa to work in the UK.

Providing Evidence For Your Registration

You will have to provide certain evidence to support your application for a medical licence and your registration to practise in the UK:

  • English language skills. Regardless of where you gained your qualification, you may have to complete either the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, or the Occupational English Test (OET) exam. Once you have one of these certificates, you can apply for the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test, which is used to check that doctors who graduated overseas have the same skills as doctors who studied in the UK.
  • Fitness to practice. You’ll have to provide information about all of your postgraduate medical experience, along with your non-medical experience and other relevant activities over the previous five years. This might include employer references and certificates of good standing from regulatory bodies.
  • Qualifications. Of course, you’ll have to provide primary evidence for any medical qualifications you hold, and any documents you share must be verified.

Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration

Once you have your Licence to Practice and you’re registered with the GMC, you’ll have to obtain your GP registration. For newly qualified UK doctors, this usually involves a three or four year training programme. But for overseas doctors, it involves passing various assessments and an examination.

First, you’ll have to apply for your Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR). As part of this, you’ll have to provide verified evidence demonstrating you have all the competencies set out by the UK’s GP curriculum. The evidence might include case studies, patient logs, and referees providing commentary on your skills and experience.

You may also have to pass the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP) exam.

Other Steps to Take to Start Working as a GP in the UK

Get inducted on the NHS’s National Performers List. There are different criteria for applying depending on whether you intend to practice in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, or Scotland.

  • The GMC may also advise you to do an “observership” in a relevant healthcare setting, so you can familiarise yourself with UK practices.
  • When applying for a GP role, you may have to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) check. This is a background check of your criminal records.

Essential Cover For Practising Healthcare in the UK

Finally, you will need the appropriate level of professional indemnity insurance and medical malpractice insurance to cover you and your patients for a range of risks.

Read our full guide to the sort of insurance cover UK healthcare workers need.

Want to find out more about getting a personal medical malpractice insurance policy? Get a free quote in minutes.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options, please contact our Tapoly team at You can also call our help line on +44(0)207 846 0108, or try our chat on our website.