Routes to General Medical Council (GMC) Registration

Updated November 2018

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.

What's 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.

Automatic mutual recognition of medical and specialist qualifications

EEA nationals who have a primary qualification acceptable to the GMC and/or certain EEA specialist qualifications, may be eligible for automatic mutual recognition of their qualifications by the GMC.

Some people may have enforceable community rights which in certain circumstances give them right to move and live freely in the European Union and EEA.  You should take this up with the GMC if you think this applies to you, to see whether it makes a difference to your registration application.

EEA citizenship or enforceable community rights may affect the application processes for full medical or specialist registration, even if you do not have a mutually recognised qualification, and you should check your individual situation with the GMC. 

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 radiology (Australia/New Zealand)
  • FRANZCR in radiation oncology (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)

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.

  •  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 Interntational Sponsorship Scheme (ISS) 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

There are a limited number of Tier 5 visas available, over all specialties.  Our ISS exists as part of our commitment to facilitate philanthropic international activity across both our faculties.  This is reflected by the Medical Training Initiative (MTI) prioritisation of Tier 5 visas to those from Lower and Lower Middle Income and DfID priority countries. It is possible for an individual doctor from outside these countries to use the ISS to obtain GMC registration and a Tier 5 visa.  However, they are likely to face a considerable delay in receiving their visa, if at all,  and we cannot guarantee when or if a visa will be issued if the ISS application is successful.  This will lead to a delay in finalising GMC registration and taking up the UK post.  We therefore suggest that other routes to GMC registration and obtaining a visa are used by those who are not from the prioritised countries.

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