Routes to GMC Registration

All doctors must be registered with the GMC to practise in the UK. There are different types of GMC registration depending on what kind of job you're going to do, and different ways of applying for registration. When you apply for jobs, you will find that it’s helpful to have obtained GMC registration, or at least thought about how you will apply and to have started the process. 

You must have full registration on the medical register to take up any post except as a substantive (permanent), honorary or fixed term NHS consultant (so this includes training posts and locum consultant posts).  

You must also be on the specialist register to take up a job as a substantive (permanent), honorary or fixed term NHS consultant.

Set out below are the ways in which you can demonstrate the level of knowledge and skills needed for medical or specialist registration. The GMC will also ask for other evidence to support your application - for example, evidence of your knowledge of English and evidence of an internship period.  From June 2018, applicants will need to have their qualifications verified independently before the GMC will grant an application for registration. You must have an acceptable overseas medical qualification to apply for GMC registration.

You should look at the options as early as possible as some of them can take several months to complete.  Whatever way you choose, you need to make your application to the GMC, not to the RCR. You will need to set up a GMC Online account to make your application.

If you have further queries you can contact the GMC, or the RCR for informal advice Please attach a copy of your CV when you email us. Please think about structuring your CV in accordance with the GMC's CESR CV advice, and see this article about preparing a medical CV. Your questions may be answered in our advice and documents on this page, so please do have a look at these first.

EEA and Swiss qualifications

Please see the GMC's information for doctors about Brexit 

If you have an EEA or Swiss primary and/or specialist medical qualification classed as a "relevant European qualification", you may be able to apply for GMC full and/or specialist registration using those qualifications.  Since Brexit, it is the qualification you hold and not your nationality that determines whether you can use these qualifications to obtain registration. 

See apply for full with specialist registration with a relevant European qualification

Otherwise, there are the following ways to apply for registration.

To apply for full registration:

  •  The PLAB test

The most common way to show that you have the appropriate level of knowledge and skill for full GMC registration is to pass the test conducted by the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (the PLAB test). 

If you don't intend to work as a permanent NHS consultant, or if you are not yet ready to make an application for specialist registration, then this may be a good route to registration to allow you to take up an appropriate job. 

  •  An approved postgraduate qualification (PGQ)

The GMC has a list of approved postgraduate qualifications with which you can apply for full registration, including qualifications relevant to our specialties:

  • FRCR clinical radiology
  • FRCR clinical oncology
  • FRANZCR in radiation oncology (Australia/New Zealand)
  • FRANZCR in radiology (Australia/New Zealand)
  • FC Rad Diag(SA) (South Africa)
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada diagnostic radiology examination
  • ABR in diagnostic radiology (USA)
  • FFR RCSI in clinical radiology (Ireland)  

You can find information on the GMC's website about applying for registration with an acceptable PGQ.

These should usually be registered with the GMC within three years of their award. If you hold one of these qualifications from more than three years ago you may still apply for registration with it, if you can provide evidence acceptable to the GMC about your subsequent and recent practice and maintenance of competence since its award.  

These qualifications don't automatically give entry to the specialist register and don't change the application processes for specialist registration.

  • An acceptable overseas registration exam (AORE)

The GMC has a list of acceptable overseas registration examinations from the USA, Canada and Australia with which you can apply for full registration, providing you meet all the the criteria. 

  • Sponsorship by an approved sponsor

The GMC has a list of all its approved sponsors - sponsorship for GMC registration by anyone other than the RCR is a matter between them and the GMC.

The aim of our Medical Training Initiative (MTI) is to help overseas doctors access training which might not be otherwise available to them in their home country. If you've been offered a suitable training post in the UK, the RCR may be able to sponsor you for full GMC registration.  RCR sponsorship must also include a Tier 5 visa

Our sponsorship only applies to supervised training posts in the UK for up to two years, after which you must return to your home country in accordance with the Tier 5 visa.  There are other eligibility requirements and both you and the job you're offered must meet them.

Please see the specific information for clinical radiology and clinical oncology and discuss it with your UK employer. ​You must have been offered a training post in the UK before the sponsorship process starts; we can't find a post for you. 

Sponsorship is an exceptional route to GMC registration and will limit you as to what job you can take up and for how long. GMC registration through another route may give you more employment options. 

To apply for GMC specialist registration:

  •  Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) 

A successful CESR application gives entry to the specialist register and to the medical register (without the PLAB test).

To apply for a CESR in clinical radiology or clinical oncology, you must demonstrate that your specialist training and/or qualifications and/or experience are equivalent to the requirements of the relevant UK training curriculum.  Further information about different types of CESR applications, the application process and the evidence you need to provide is available for clinical radiology and clinical oncology. ​