Registering as a Doctor in the UK

Doctors intending to practise medicine in the UK must obtain a licence to practice issued by the General Medical Council (GMC). The GMC uses the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test – the second part of which (PLAB 2) must be taken in the UK – to ensure that international doctors have the basic communication and medical competence skills to practise in the UK.


Approved Medical School

To apply for a UK licence, doctors require an acceptable primary medical qualification from an approved medical school plus a minimum of 1 year’s experience.



To demonstate the necessary knowledge of the English language, doctors  must score a minimum of 7 in all areas of IELTS and a 7.5 overall. For the OET test, a minimum score of B in each area is required.



After successful completion of IELTS or OET, doctors must sit the two-part PLAB test to demonstrate basic medical competence and communication skills. PLAB 1 is an online exam undertaken in approved overseas locations.



PLAB 2 is a structured clinical face to face examination which aims to reflect real life settings and test the applicant’s ability to apply knowledge to patient care relating to current best practice. It takes place in Manchester, UK.

Medical Qualification from an approved Medical School

Candidates need to hold an approved medical qualification from a Medical School listed within the World Directory of Medical Schools.

In addition, Doctors need to have had at least 12 months of continuous medical practice: at least 3 months practising in medical rotations and 3 months in surgical rotations. This experience needs to be:

  • an approved training post
  • involve regular education/clinical supervision throughout
  • continued un-interrupted rotations

The GMC will require evidence in the form of a signed document or certificate which details the rotations undertaken by the Doctor.

The experience itself needs to be at the minimum standard of a first year graduate post completion of medical school – typically termed ‘House Officer’ in most institutions or at the level of a Foundation Year 1 Doctor within the U.K.