The Savvy IMG

Pathway B: From IMG to UK specialist (CCT route)

Step-by-step guide for IMGs who can complete internship overseas and aim to become a UK specialist through the CCT route.

Table of Contents

This is one of the most common pathways for IMGs coming to work in the UK. It is suitable for you if you fit the following profile:

How do you know if you are overqualified?

You can download a free summary table of the experience limits for all specialties. This article also clarifies the issues surrounding experience limits.

If you think you do not fit this profile or the pathway doesn’t sound right for you, make sure to go through the pathway finder tool!

International medical graduates pathway B to become a UK recognised specialist as a GP or Consultant different steps including obtaining GMC registration applying for specialty training 4

Step 1. Obtain full registration with the GMC

You can open this account once you’ve passed your final exams. You do not need to have attended your graduation ceremony or have your certificate/diploma in hand.

Open your account here

Book PLAB 1 online through your GMC online account.

What you need to know about PLAB

If you book PLAB in the UK, you’ll need to apply for a UK Visitor Visa.

1. EPIC verification of your Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ)

Step-by-step guide on how to obtain EPIC verification of your PMQ AKA your medical diploma or certificate.

2. Certificate of good standing (CGS) if applicable

GMC requirements for the Certificate of Good Standing

Read the full list of requirements for GMC registration here.

For PLAB 2, it’s generally advisable to enrol in a prep course. These are the 15 things you should consider when looking for one.

Apply for a UK Visitor Visa.

I used Airbnb during my stay in the UK where I had a room to myself, spending around £110 a week, and 8 mins walk to a station to get to my PLAB academy. Sign up here to get £25 off your first booking.

Uber is a convenient way to get around the UK especially late at night when public transport may be closed or if travelling in groups. Get a discount when you use the code 7798ae to sign up.

This is done online through your GMC account. You may need to submit some documents by post.

All documents are valid for a certain time period only. Read about the deadlines here.

Step 2. Land your first NHS job

For most IMGs, your first job will be a non-training job. If your timing is right, your first job could be a Standalone FY2 or WAST post which are entry level posts for those who have completed internship.

Step 3. Secure a training job

You can check the experience limits in the specific specialty person specifications.

We have also compiled a list for all specialties that you can download here for free.

Or read our article all about the experience limits.

Future article

Check whether you need to present a physical portfolio in the application requirements of the specific specialty.

MSRA is required for: GP, Radiology, Ophthalmology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Community Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (CSRH), Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Core Psychiatry and Neurosurgery.

More information about the MSRA here.

Future article

Reviews for the different regions can be found on these websites:

Junior reviews

This is done through Oriel. You will be given a specific window period (usually 48 hours) to accept an offer or you will lose it.

Step 4. Complete training

Once you are in your training job, you simply have to complete the requirements of your specialty. This will involve compiling evidence of your skills and knowledge in your electronic portfolio, passing exams, and undergoing an Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP).

If you are in an uncoupled specialty, you will have to apply for ST3/ST4 when you are in your final year of core training. For run-through programmes, you will not have to re-apply for higher specialty training as your progression is direct.

When you reach the end of your training programme, you will be awarded a CCT. You then use this to apply for GMC Specialist Registration which will allow you to apply for Consultant jobs. Or if you complete GP training you use your CCT to apply for GMC GP Registration then you can apply for GP jobs.

Disclosure: There are some affiliate links in the article above. This means that at no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you make a booking or purchase by clicking on the link. We only recommend products and services that we use ourselves or have proven success amongst IMGs.

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27 Responses

  1. Hello Nick,
    Great work on the site.
    I have a question related to the CREST form. If someone has acceptable experience overseas in terms of foundation competencies and gets his CREST form signed, does that make him ineligible for CCT when he enrolls in specialty training?

    1. Hi Sarmad! No, CCT is based on completing the UK training programme. It does not matter whether you entered with CREST or FPCC. Hope that’s clear!

  2. Hello, thank you for wonderful site
    If someone is suitable for pathway B and IELTS score is not as high as 7.5 each subject ( I have 7 in speaking ) what is the solution for first job ? Should I register for a non-training junior doctor and after that continue for fy2 or I can skip Fy2 and after non-training job apply for speciality ?

  3. Hello Nick
    I completed my internship and I worked 28 month as GP in Iran . After that I started EM residency 3 years ago and I will graduate this September. I must work as EM Specialist for 18 month (mandatory in my country)
    Can I study EM residency again in UK??

  4. Hi.
    I need your input regarding my case. I am trying to pursue MRCP pathway directly like I have take the MRCP 1 and 2 and expected to sit for Paces.

    What will be my pathway of choice. I am confused

    1. If you have not completed training, then Pathway B. If you have completed internal medicine training then you can look into Pathway C. Best of luck!

  5. Hi Nick,

    I have a few questions regarding ‘being acknowledged for CREST’
    From what I understand, a supervisor who will sign off on my CREST does not have to be an UK consultant, yet I would have to ‘ensure that adequate evidence of their signatory’s standing with a regulatory authority is provided’.

    1. Would you say that possibly depends on size or type of the institution I worked for?
    2. Does it also have to be exact 12 months?

    Thank you so much for your website. I am learning a lot from it.

    1. Hi there! Thank you for visiting our website! Apologies for the delayed response. The regulatory authority would be the equivalent of the GMC so some kind of national organisation that doctors have to register with to be licensed to practise. So I don’t think it matters about the size of the institution. A consultant in a small hospital is still a consultant if they are recognized as such by the regulatory authority. You should have at least 12 months experience after internship, of course you can have more experience but not less.

  6. Hi I intend to undergo specialty training in the UK via Pathway B. Alteady took ielts and Im just waiting for PLAB1 slots to open. Would you happen to know if specialty training in the UK is recognized in the Philippines? Sorry! Been trying to look for possible information on this matter but havent found any leads. I’m also considering the possibility of practicing back here after trainin. I know that it’s a lot easier if I just go abroad for fellowship but I really do want to undergo my residency elsewhere. Thank you!

    1. Hi there! Unfortunately we’re not too sure on this matter as we don’t know anyone who has done that. I would recommend contacting the relevant authorities in the Philippines like the PRC and relevant specialty society.

  7. Hello there! I am an Albanian citizen, married to a Greek citizen settled in UK, as a result I have a Family Permit witch gives me all the legal rights to work in UK. I am an Endocrinologist graduated in Romania in 2012 and I have eight years work experience. Can you tell please, a way of getting a job in UK. Thank you!

    1. You need to do well in the Multi-specialty recruitment assessment (MSRA) and the other GP entrance assessments. A portfolio is not required for GP training applications.

  8. Hello Nick, I am enrolled in a master program now in Scotland. I was graduated as a medical doctor 11,5 years ago. At that time, internship was not mandatory in my country, so I did not take it yet. I therefore will take path A for the FY1 on Augusts 2022. However, my visa will expire on May 2021. My plan is to sit for the OET exam on September 2020 ( so by the time I start FY1 on Augusts 2022, it will still be valid) then sit for PLAB 1 (November 2020 or early 2021) and PLAB 2 ( I am not sure yet on its date), register for provisional license with GMC, sit for clinical assessment (where to sit clinical assessment , in the UK?), do the SJT test. Am I on the right path? Must all of them be completed by July 2021? Who will sponsor tier 2 for Foundation program , NHS? And how long will the tier 2 visa last, 2 years?

    1. Hi there, firstly you may be able to get full GMC registration without internship if you have 2 years postgraduate clinical experience. Please see the details of pattern B here:

      However, if that’s not an option, then you can do your plan as above, but it seems very drawn out. You are currently within the timeframe to apply for UKFP Aug 2021 if you can sit OET and receive the result before the end of the eligibility checking period on 2nd September 2020 and sit PLAB 1 and 2 after eligibility checking. You do NOT need PLAB 1 and 2 and provisional registration at the time of eligibility checking, this can be done AFTER. Please see the timeline of the applications here:

      Of course, if it’s not possible to get the OET by 2nd September 2020, then you have no choice but to apply for 2022 instead of 2021.

      The sponsor will be Health Education England or equivalent in Scotland/Wales/N. Ireland, wherever you end up. The visa will be for 2 years and you’ll have to reapply depending on getting a job after UKFP.

      Best of luck!

      1. Thanks, Nick , I tried to read that link (timeline of applications), but don’t understand. I will try again. So do you mean I still have a chance to enrol for FY1 in August 2021 despite my circumstance?

  9. Hi Nick..
    thank you for all your amazing work here.
    are Academic jobs (mostly teaching in classes and bedside with no involvement in training or patient care) considered as exceeded limit?

    Thank you

    1. Hi there, if you are not actively practising as a doctor and not involved with patient care then I would think it should not count.

  10. Hello Good day, by the time sit plab 2 I will have completed 3 years on anesthesia (contracted) in my home country. Ive done internship and completed SHO year also in my home country. Will the fact that I have 3 years experience in anesthesia affect my chances of getting into a anesthesiology training program?? Cause I saw an experience limit of 18 months or less. I’m really worried. Would appreciate your feedback.

    1. Since you will exceed the experience limit you will not be eligible for core training (CT1) but you can apply for higher training (ST3). Please see Pathway C.

  11. Hi,
    My wife has acceptable postgraduate degree from India – FRCS OPTHALMOLOGY – Glasgow. She passed her exams in 2014. Will she be eligible for GMC registration under acceptable postgraduate degree category? I am bit worried as the guidences say that we should register within 3 years of passing.

    1. Hi, the GMC website states what should be done if it has been more than 3 years. For any further questions, please contact the GMC.

  12. Hi, I have 1 year moonlighting experience in the Philippines after postgraduate internship. Will I still be eligible for an FY2 or crest post? Or should I apply for a trust grade post and obtain CREST during this time?

    1. You may be able to obtain CREST from that post if you worked with the same Consultant for at least 3 months.

      1. Hi, currently I am doing my 1 yr internship in India after UG.But I had taken a break of 20 days in between my internship. Will it be an issue for PLAB registration.

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Meet the Team

Hi, we’re Drs Nick & Kimberly Tan, the two IMGs behind The Savvy IMG. We write comprehensive guides, create courses, and provide one-to-one guidance to help other overseas qualified doctors on their journey to the UK.
We have scoured the official guidance to put these posts together, but we can make mistakes! If you spot anything that is incorrect, please get in touch and we’ll put it right.
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