GuidelinesHow to Legally Relocate to the UK as a Doctor in 2024:...

How to Legally Relocate to the UK as a Doctor in 2024: The Ultimate Guide for International Medical Graduates

Relocating to the UK as an international medical graduate (IMG) can be a transformative career move. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is renowned for its high standards of care and offers a plethora of opportunities for doctors from around the world. Are you a doctor looking to practice medicine in the United Kingdom? With the UK’s world-class healthcare system and diverse culture, it’s an attractive destination for many international medical professionals. However, the process of relocating and obtaining the necessary licenses can be complex.

Here’s your ultimate guide to making the move in 2024, tailored to ensure you meet all legal requirements and transition smoothly.

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Understanding the UK Medical Licensing System

Before you can practice medicine in the UK, you must obtain registration and a license from the General Medical Council (GMC). The GMC is the regulatory body responsible for ensuring that doctors meet the required standards of practice and conduct.Starting in 2024, the GMC will introduce the United Kingdom Medical Licensing Assessment (UKMLA), a standardized assessment for all doctors applying for a license to practice medicine in the UK. This assessment will replace the current Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test for international medical graduates (IMGs).

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Eligibility Requirements for IMGs

If you are an IMG, you must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply for GMC registration and a license to practice in the UK:

  1. Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ): Your medical degree must be from a university listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools. The GMC will verify the authenticity of your PMQ through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).
  2. English Language Proficiency: You must demonstrate proficiency in the English language by passing either the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Occupational English Test (OET) with the required scores.
  3. UKMLA: Starting in 2024, you must pass the UKMLA, which consists of an Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) and a Clinical and Professional Skills Assessment (CPSA). The UKMLA will replace the current PLAB test for IMGs.
  4. Postgraduate Clinical Experience: Depending on your qualifications and experience, you may need to complete a period of postgraduate clinical experience or an internship before applying for GMC registration.

Steps to Obtain GMC Registration and License

Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to obtain GMC registration and a license to practice in the UK as an IMG:

  1. Check Qualification Acceptability: Confirm that your PMQ is acceptable to the GMC by checking the World Directory of Medical Schools or contacting the GMC directly.
  2. Verify PMQ: Have your PMQ verified by the ECFMG through their Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC) service.
  3. Take English Language Test: Pass either the IELTS or OET with the required scores for IMGs.
  4. Pass UKMLA: Starting in 2024, you must pass the UKMLA, which consists of the AKT and CPSA. Prepare thoroughly for these assessments using resources provided by the GMC and medical schools.
  5. Apply for GMC Registration: Once you have met all the requirements, you can apply for GMC registration through their online portal. You’ll need to provide the necessary documents, such as your PMQ certificate, English language test results, and evidence of postgraduate clinical experience (if applicable).
  6. Attend ID Check: After submitting your application, you’ll need to attend an in-person ID check at a GMC-approved location.
  7. Obtain License to Practice: If your application is successful, the GMC will grant you registration and a license to practice medicine in the UK.

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Additional Requirements for Doctors

In addition to GMC registration and a license, you may need to meet other requirements depending on your specific circumstances and the type of medical practice you wish to pursue in the UK.

These may include:

  • Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR): If you plan to work as a general practitioner (GP) in the UK, you’ll need to obtain a CEGPR from the GMC. This certificate demonstrates that you have the necessary competencies to practice as a GP in the UK.
  • Specialist Registration: If you wish to work as a consultant or in a specialized field of medicine, you may need to obtain specialist registration from the GMC. This process involves demonstrating your qualifications and experience in the relevant specialty.
  • Immigration Requirements: Depending on your nationality, you may need to obtain a visa or work permit to legally work in the UK. The Health and Care Worker Visa is a popular option for international medical professionals, offering benefits such as fast-tracked entry and reduced visa fees.
  • NHS Employment: Many doctors in the UK work for the National Health Service (NHS). To work for the NHS, you’ll need to apply for positions and go through their recruitment process, which may involve additional assessments or interviews.

Resources and Support

Relocating to a new country and navigating the licensing process can be challenging, but there are resources and support available to help you:

  • GMC Guidance: The GMC provides comprehensive guidance for IMGs on their website, including information on the registration process, UKMLA, and other requirements.
  • Medical Recruitment Agencies: Companies like Doctors Relocate specialize in assisting international doctors with the relocation process, job search, and other support services. Click here to explore their services.

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  • Professional Organizations: Organizations such as the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Royal College of Physicians offer resources and support for doctors in the UK, including guidance on relocation and career development.
  • Online Communities: Join online communities and forums for international medical professionals relocating to the UK, where you can connect with others going through the same process and seek advice.


Relocating to the UK as a doctor can be a rewarding experience, but it requires careful planning and adherence to the necessary regulations.

By understanding the requirements, following the steps outlined in this guide, and seeking support from relevant resources, you can navigate the process successfully and begin your medical career in the UK.

Remember to stay updated on any changes to the regulations and requirements, as they may evolve over time.

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