The Savvy IMG

FY2 Standalone 2024: Your chances as an IMG and how to optimise your application

FY2 Standalone is a great entry level position for IMGs. Read on to find out how you can apply and what you can do to maximise your chances of success for this competitive post.

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Applying to Standalone Foundation Year 2 FY2 in the UK can help international medical graduates (IMGs) adjust to working in the NHS as a doctor and also provide opportunities to apply in Round 1 of specialty training (resdiency(

Applications for the August 2024 intake will open in January 2024. This article outlines the application process for 2023 as reference to prepare for 2024 applications.  Please check the official website for up-to-date information.

UPDATED: July 19, 2023

Are you an IMG aiming to get into UK specialty training (residency)? If so, then you will first need to have 24 months of clinical experience.

If you are currently completing, or if you have already completed, a 12-month internship back home, then you’re going to need an additional 12 months of clinical experience after internship.

There are 2 ways to meet this requirement:

  • FY2 Stand-alone 
  • A total of 12-months in an overseas training job/overseas non-training job/UK non-training job or a combination of these

We believe the FY2 Stand-alone is a fantastic option for IMGs to prepare for UK specialty training. Keep reading to find out how you can get into this recommended programme.

The basics

What is FY2 and FY2 Stand-alone?

FY2 stands for Foundation Year 2, it is the second year of the 2-year UK Foundation Programme (UK FP). The UK FP is a paid training programme that all UK medical graduates must complete prior to starting specialty training.

FY2 Stand-alone is a 12-month training job in which you enter the Foundation Programme in the second year. At the end of the year, you will be awarded a Foundation Programme Certificate of Completion (FPCC). This certificate is one of the eligibility requirements for entry to UK specialty training.

If a job is advertised as FY2 but does not award the FPCC, then it is not an FY2 Stand-alone post, and not part of the official Foundation Programme. Jobs like this are simply “non-training” jobs set at the level of FY2 ie. someone who is quite junior.

Without the FPCC, you would need to obtain the Certificate of Readiness to Enter Specialty Training (CREST form) as the equivalent in order to be eligible to apply for UK specialty training.

FY2 Stand-alone posts can be anywhere in the UK (England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland) but the majority of jobs are typically in England. Jobs only start each August and applications open once a year each January.

If you’re still new to how postgraduate medical training in the UK works, you can read more about it here.

What is expected of a FY2 doctor?

Since you have completed internship, by now your seniors will expect you to handle the initial management of acute scenarios and contribute to the management of chronic cases – all of this will be with supervision.

This Oxford Handbook for the Foundation Programme was my bible at the time and has saved me on multiple occasions. Another useful book is the Hands On Guide to the Foundation Programme. If you are in the UK, you can get them delivered to your doorstep via Amazon using the links above.

Related: 12 essential items for IMGs working in the NHS

FY2 standalone job availibility

There are usually 350 jobs each year but this varies a lot. Unfortunately, this is something you have no control of over, so it’s always good to have a backup plan if things don’t go right. An alternative to Standalone FY2 is applying for non-training jobs at FY2 level.

Related: The best first job in the UK for overseas doctors

Why should IMGs consider applying for FY2 Stand-alone?

Start how you mean to end

If you want to work in the UK long-term, it’s often better to start at the most junior training position possible. This will allow you to integrate into the system faster and learn everything the “NHS way” from the beginning.

By joining FY2 Stand-alone, you will start your UK career in a junior position where there will be less expectations of you, and you can you learn at a more manageable pace.

You will also be less likely to run into potentially career-ending mistakes. It is often not the lack of medical knowledge that leads to complaints, mistakes, and lawsuits, but a misunderstandings between colleagues, or miscommunication with patients, and not knowing how the system works.

To gain an idea of how the UK system works, doing a clinical attachment can also help.

Eligibility for Round 1 of specialty training applications

The Standalone FY2 programme used to be one of the main ways that IMGs could gain exemption from Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). Exemption from RLMT meant that IMGs would be eligible to apply in Round 1 of first-year specialty training jobs (CT1/ST1) in any specialty including Core Surgery, Radiology, Ophthalmology etc.

This meant that you would be considered alongside UK graduates and will be assessed solely on the merit of your application and not on where you graduated.

Since October 6, 2019, all doctor jobs were added to the UK Shortage Occupation List. This means that non-UK citizens are automatically exempt from RLMT and are now eligible for Round 1 of specialty applications even without Standalone FY2. so it’s no longer necessary to apply for Standalone FY2 just for the purpose of RLMT exemption.

Who should consider applying to FY2 Stand-alone?

  • Any IMG who still needs 12-month post-internship experience to apply for specialty training.
  • Any IMG with more than 12-months post-internship experience but wants to start their UK career in a structured programme before applying for specialty training.

FY2 Stand-alone can be a great first job to have in the UK, read our article on how to choose the best first job.

Who can’t apply to FY2 Stand-alone?

Potentially IMGs who have a valid CREST signed (Certificate of Readiness to Enter Specialty Training).

The person specifications state that, “The applicant must not be working as part of a two-year foundation programme, i.e. current F1 trainees, or have already successfully completed an F2 year and received a Foundation Programme Certificate of Completion (FPCC) or equivalent or expect to do so by the start of the programme.”

CREST is the equivalent of FPCC. However, it’s not clear if they are strict with this, they may not be. 

Is it possible for IMGs to get a Standalone FY2 post?


In fact, UK graduates are mostly barred from applying to Standalone FY2 so it’s almost exclusively open to IMGs. It says even says on the UK Foundation programme website: “Stand-alone programmes provide an opportunity for overseas graduates who qualify with full registration to enter the training system in the UK.”

No guarantees

But don’t get carried away just yet. Just because your chances are good doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a job. In fact, FY2 Standalone posts have become quite popular and therefore more competitive.

To get ahead of the competition, you need to achieve 4 things:

  • Meet all the eligibility criteria by the published deadlines
  • Submit your application form correctly and on time
  • Score highly on the Situational Judgement Test (SJT), and
  • Perform well in the interview

What are the eligibility criteria for FY2 Standalone?

There are several requirements for FY2 standalone that you can read about here, but the major ones that IMGs struggle with are full GMC registration and proof of English proficiency.

Full GMC Registration

You need to have full GMC registration by the time you start FY2 Standalone. This means you can apply without GMC registration, but you need to show that you are able to get GMC registration on time.

This means that if you graduated outside of the EU, you need to have your PLAB 1 pass in hand when you submit your application for FY2 Standalone in January 2024. You then need to book PLAB 2 by the end of May 2024, and pass it, in order to apply for GMC registration in time.

Full GMC registration also means that you need to complete an internship that meets the GMC criteria. Read more about the GMC criteria for internship here.

Proof of English Proficiency

Be aware that the English requirements for Standalone FY2 are different than the GMC requirements. You will need to present one of the following four at the time of application (by January):

Take note that if you use an English test, it must not be more than 2 years old on the day that FY2 starts. For the August 2024 intake, this means that the date of your IELTS/OET must be on or after 6 Aug 2022. 

The Situational Judgement Test for FY2 Standalone

The Situational Judgement Test was introduced as a shortlisting tool to decide who gets through to interview. You need to score amongst the highest applicants in order to proceed to interview. There are 20 questions on the test and you have 45 minutes to complete it. The test is computer-based and you can take it online anywhere in the world. All applicants need to take this test, there are no exceptions.

So what is this test all about?

According to the UKFP:

The SJT assesses the following attributes including professional integrity, team collaboration, empathy and compassion, and adaptability.

The SJT presents applicants with a series of work-related situations and asks them questions about how they would respond to these situations. These questions are rating format.

Here’s an example of a scenario that could come up in the test:

Lola is observing a patient consultation in a primary care clinic. The patient has attended as he has a rash on his stomach that he has had for a long period of time and is concerned about. The patient removed his shirt to have the rash examined and makes a joke about his own weight at the same time. Lola laughs at the patient’ sjoke, however, the patient looks upset and offended by this.

How desirable are each of the following responses by Lola in this situation? 

Extremely desirable (1) -Slightly desirable (2) -Neither desirable nor undesirable (3) -Slightly undesirable (4) -Extremely undesirable (5)

  1. Make a joke about her own weight to the patient
  2. Continue to laugh at other things during the consultation
  3. Ask the patient if she has offended him
  4. Apologise to the patient for laughing
  5. Ask the patient if there was a reason that he made a joke about his weight
  6. Ask the patient if he would be happy for her to remain in the room for the remainder of the consultation

This sample question was provided by the UK Foundation Programme. You can find more SJT practice questions with answers here.

It’s crucial that you’re familiar with the expectations of a UK FY2 doctor to answer these questions well. Don’t answer them according to how you would respond in your home country or as a senior doctor.

SJT preparation material

The FY2 standalone interview

The FY2 Standalone applicant guidance does not have a lot of information about the interview itself, the only information given is that the interview is:

  • 20-minutes long;
  • Involves being asked a series of questions including a clinical scenario; AND
  • Scored by a panel of at least 2 members
  • Can be done online (make sure your computer, software & internet connection are all working beforehand!)

Related: NHS Video Interviews: Tips for IMGs to Excel Virtually

Making sure you are up-to-date with the management of common clinical scenarios is essential. You can prepare for this by familiarising yourself with the ALS/ILS/ACLS guidelines if you haven’t already taken the course, reading up on UK clinical guidelines for common conditions, and simply asking other IMGs what came out at their interview. If you did a PLAB 2 course then this is good preparation for the interview as well.

Answering the interview questions in the right tone and structure will also play a huge role in how the panel will score you! I attended the Standalone FY2 interview back in 2015 and managed to get a post in London.

That was my first ever medical interview in the UK and I found the Medical Interviews book (available here on Amazon) extremely helpful. I cannot recommend this book enough! Honestly, I would not have made it in without this secret weapon.

Also, being familiar with the following guidance will help you:

You will also be asked about your CV so be prepared to talk about your achievements to date, as well as what you aspire to achieve.

How do I apply?

Applications are made online through the website Oriel. The process of applications and the timeline can be found in the applicant guidance handbook on the official website.

Where can I get more information?

If you have any further questions, make sure to read the following as almost every possible question about this programme is covered here:

If you still can’t find the answer to your question, the best thing to do is email the UK Foundation Programme directly for an official answer. They usually reply within 3-5 days, although in our experience they’re not very helpful.

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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102 Responses

  1. Hi, this post was really helpful thankyou! I have a question. usually we are required to take plab 2 by may by this do they mean we need to be GMC registered by may or just sit for the exam by may coz my internship ends in april so I am planning to take plab 2 by the end of may and as the results might take upto 2 weeks I might be able to get the registration by june or so. thank you.

    1. Hello Fatima! You just need to sit the exam by May. Once you pass the PLAB 2 exam, you can apply for the GMC registration. Your application for a license to practice should be approved within 2 years. However, you need to complete your internship first, as it’s a requirement by GMC for full registration. You can check these websites: until 31 March 2023,apply to join the register

  2. Hello! I have 2 questions. Does the internship before FY2 have to be a 12-months internship? Secondly, is it possible (Brexit) AND convenient to do the internship in UK or would it be better to apply directly to FY1 in this case? (I am an EU student). Thank you!

    1. Hi there, yes the GMC strictly states that an internship must be at least 12 months in duration to be accepted for full registration. Internship in the UK is FY1, so applying to FY1 is applying for UK internship, they are one and the same. Currently there are no restrictions on application to FY1 for EU nationals. You will be considered equally amongst UK graduates.

  3. Hi!

    So I have been going through the articles and find myself getting confused at this juncture – we have to apply for FY2 standalone via oriel website right? Then what are the FY2 standalone posts that you apply for via NHS jobs website? Are they different?

    Also, in a certain article of yours, you have mentioned that it is best to start at non training jobs AT THE LEVEL OF FY2. I find this very confusing.

    For what kind of jobs should you use NHS jobs website and for what must you use oriel? And FY2 standalone from Oriel isn’t same as that via NHS jobs website??

    1. Hi there. The UK system is very confusing because they often use multiple names for the same things and the same name for different things! To answer your questions
      1. Yes
      2. This is just a job listing, the actual application for FY2 standalone is only done through Oriel. Any FY2 jobs on NHS Jobs that is FY2 standalone is just a non-training job at the level of FY2 ie. the role and responsibilities are similar to that expected of an official FY2 post but it is not an official FY2 post.
      3. You can review the different job titles and equivalence in this article
      4. NHS Jobs website is for non-training jobs. Oriel is for official training jobs.
      5. It might be the same but the actual application for FY2 standalone is only done through Oriel since it is an official training post.

      It is quite confusing. If you are looking for one-to-one guidance for your specific personal circumstances, you might be interested in booking a session to discuss your options. For more details, please visit our page here.
      Best of luck!

  4. I’m a medical student in china, will start my pre-graduation internship this year to finish june 2023… can i apply for fy2 non training after graduation? Thanks

      1. Hi
        I’m an IMG with a similar situation to Mike. My pre-graduation internship is due to finish on June 2023. I was wondering if working in a service HO job at my home country for 6 months would make me unqualified for applying to the F2-standalone programme when it opens up in January 2024?

        1. Hi Reham! Currently the only way to be overqualified for standalone FY2 is to have more than 2 years UK experience so you’re fine 🙂 All the best!

  5. Thank you for the informative article!
    I have a small question about the application process on Oriel for the fy2 standalone, 2022. I am currently filling the application however I am not sure where i’m expected to attach documents for evidence/ If this is a requirement at all as I am yet to see it being asked of me. Will I be required to provide proof of all written details in my application?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Sarah, please contact UKFP and/or Oriel directly for help with the website. They can change things with the application each year so best to liaise with them for any technical issues. Hope it all works out, good luck!

  6. Hi,
    Thank you for the guidance you share on here. Really appreciate it!

    I graduated in Dec 2021 and due to start a trust grade F2 soon. I plan to apply for the F2 standalone for Aug 2022 and provide a consultant testimony as evidence of my language skills. However, I have not yet completed 3 months in employment as doctor in the NHS to get a testimony signed so can I submit this evidence on a later date?

  7. Hey I wanna apply for standalone FY2 but my IELTS scores do not meet the criteria. I can produce a letter from medical school saying medium of instruction was English but not that ‘ 75% of patient interaction was in English’.
    Wondering if I can still try applying with this letter.
    Worst case scenario, my application will be rejected but will oriel black mark me or anything for future applications?

    1. Hi there, rejected applications have no effect on future applications. You can try that approach but I’m afraid it’s unlikely to be accepted since it doesn’t meet their criteria. Hope it works out!

  8. hello,
    I am 5th year MD student, currently studying in poland.
    I need to ask that can i apply for fy2 foundation programme after my graduation in
    jun-2023. I need guidance in this regard.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi, I don’t know how medical school works in Poland but if when you graduate you have already completed internship, then yes you can apply for FY2 which will start in August 2023. The applications for that will open in January 2023.
      If you have not yet completed internship when you graduate, then no, you can’t apply for FY2 standalone, you’d need to apply for FY1 instead. The application for that will start in July 2022.

  9. Hi, great post! I was wondering if I can start my application process to stand-alone FY2 programme while still completing my internship. My internship ends in April 2022, can I start the process in January 2022 itself (hoping to be able to start FY2 in the same year -August 2022)?

    1. Hi Heny, yes you can, but keep in mind that if you went to medical school outside the EU, then you need to pass PLAB 1 by November 2021 in order to be eligible to apply for fy2 standalone in January 2022.

  10. hello,
    i need the guidance on this. i have cleared my mbbs in june,2020 from philippines. currently licensed doctor of india but we were not required to do internship in india. should i have to do internship hereeven though i m registered doctor already or my clinical work will be enough to count as foundation training.
    pls guide me through this

  11. Hello, I just graduated from Medical school in Poland and currently about to start my Foundation Year 1 in Malta. However, my plan is complete FY1 in Malta and then apply for FY2 standalone in the UK. I would like to know, is this possible?

  12. Hi Dr. Nick
    I’m a medical student from Poland who is preparing to do her final exams. I have relevant European qualification so hopefully beginning of next year I will have my full registration. My question is will I have to do f2 if I don’t want to specialize nor do I want to work for NHS. I want to do a masters degree (L7) in aesthetics in a which is recognized by GMC. I want to work private and solely in this field.

    1. Hi there, no you do not. You can do the aesthetics degree and go straight to working privately.

  13. Hello Doctor!
    I recently cleared the IELTS but unfortunately only got a 7 in writing. However, I’ve used my scores to book a PLAB 1 sitting for November this year. Could I retake the IELTS again sometime after PLAB 1 or 2 , and use that score instead to apply for a standalone FY 2?
    Thank you for everything that you do!

  14. Hello Nick , Thank you for taking the time to write a very informative article .
    I graduated medical school in March 4 2021 with an internship program pre-gratuation for one year , currently i am looking into applying for the FY2 standalone, according to my calculation my start year will be Aug 2023 since i haven’t taken PLAB 1 OR IELTS . so my question is that i will have 2 years gap before i start ( God willing) what sort of things can i do in these time to increase my chances of Acceptance .

    Thank you in advance for your advise !

    1. Hi there! You can start FY2 standalone in 2022 provided you pass IELTS now and pass PLAB 1 in November of this year. If not, then yes, your start date will be in 2023. We recommend you continue working to minimise your gap, especially in the 12 months just before you apply. You can also consider doing an additional degree like a Masters if you are interested in further education.

  15. Hey Nick, thanks for this article.
    Could you please tell how the FY2-ST1 timeline works ?
    From what I’ve gathered, FY2 training usually starts in August (so, candidates usually complete their FY2 training by August of next year).
    And ST1 training also starts in August.
    So, my question is that in order to apply for ST1 (that’s gonna start from August of 2022), will I have to apply to the specialty in October/November, 2021 (a few months after starting my FY2 training, considering that I start my training in August, 2021) ?
    This has been troubling me for long and I haven’t been able to get an answer so far. I’d be grateful if you’d answer this question.

  16. Hi Nick,

    Is there such a thing as doing the ALS course too early? I won’t graduate till June 2022, therefore i won’t start F2 until August 2022, Can i do the ALS course now or is it too early?

    1. Hi there! ALS is only valid for a certain period of time, after that you have to take it again. If it will be valid by August 2022, then that should be fine.

  17. Hello Dr.Nick
    In our home country, we have two years of compulsory Public Health Service and in addition our last year of medical school is internship .
    So I gonna have at least 2 years of post graduation Experience plus one year pre-grad internship .
    I think they prefer applicant with less experience
    would it be a red flag in my application ? Am I against the odds?(will they rank me at the bottom of the list?)
    I really do like to start my career in easy to handle position to not to get confused
    thanks nick for helping US

    1. Hi there, that’s not strictly an issue but I’m afraid we can’t make any guarantees about how your application will be handled. You can try asking in one of the IMG FB groups if anyone has managed to get a place with similar experience. Hope it works out for you!

  18. Hi Nick and Kim!

    Thank you for this! I had a follow-up question: What are the other alternatives to FY2 standalone (except WAST)? Do the junior level jobs at NHS also count as FY2 experience, ie. do the junior level jobs at NHS also fulfill the 12-month experience AFTER internship requirement for ST1/CT1?

    Thank you!

  19. Hi Nick! Thanks for your informative post. I’m interested in applying for the standalone FY2 programme 2022 next year. The earliest PLAB1 date I could book was November 2021. As far as I understand I must have taken and passed PLAB2 by April 2022 at the latest. My concern is that I may not be able to find a PLAB2 seat by the application window in January 2022 but I may be able to find one In February or March 2022.

    Hence I wish to inquire about the application process concerning PLAB.
    1. Is it required to provide evidence of a PLAB2 booking at the time of filling up the application form which will take place in January 2022?
    2. If not, may you please let me know at what stage in the recruitment process it is required to provide evidence of a PLAB2 booking?

    1. Hi there! Thanks for visiting our site! 1. In the past it has not been necessary to provide evidence of PLAB 2 booking at the time of application. It can be provided later on in the application process. 2. The deadline for this changes each year, if it’s not stated in the application guidance I would recommend emailing the UKFPO directly to find out. Best of luck!

    1. Yes, the base salary is the same but total salary varies depending on the number of hours. Some WAST posts have less hours compared to Standalone FY2 so the total salary may be lower.

  20. Hello Nick, Thanks for the informative summary you have here. I was wondering if I would be eligible to apply for FY2 in August as I am expected to complete my internship in Ireland on the 9th of July. I will only be able to obtain my certificate of experience after the 9th. I have called GMC but they are unsure themselves with regards to people who are expecting to complete their internship.

    1. Hi there! You can try applying now but you need GMC registration by August in order to start the job on time. Last year the UKFP allowed delayed start dates for those awaiting GMC registration so if you do have a problem, hopefully they’ll still accommodate you. I would say apply for Standalone FY2 now (applications close in 2 days) but just be open to the possibility that you may not get the job due to the timeline restrictions. In that case it’s good to apply for other non-training positions too so that you have other options.

      You can also contact the UKFPO helpdesk for further advice. Best of luck!

  21. Hello Nick, thanks for the amazing overview on the application process. I am currently doing my internship in Ireland and I am half way done. I have applied for the FY2 program on oriel. However, I am unsure if I will be able to get a spot in the FY2 program as I have yet to complete my internship. My internship is expected to be completed on the 11th of July 2021. I was wondering if this would affect my chances of getting a FY2 in the UK? Besides that, is there any other way I could obtain a job in the UK after completing my internship in Ireland without waiting for the next FY2 in January 2022

  22. Hello

    The official F2 Stand-alone applicant guidance for 2021 doesn’t mention completed CREST being a criteria for ineligibility, it only includes the FPCC and FACD upon completion of F2.
    Could you please elaborate on this further and provide a source for this piece of information?
    Thank you for your time

    1. Hi there, the personal specifications state: “The applicant must not be working as part of a two-year foundation programme, i.e. currentF1 trainees, or have already successfully completed an F2 year and received a Foundation Programme Certificate of Completion (FPCC) or equivalent or expect to do so by the start of the programme.” CREST is the equivalent of FPCC. It’s not clear if they are strict with this though, they may not be. We’ll change the wording to “potentially”!

  23. Hi Nick,

    Thank you for such a great and detailed post! I have a question regarding the ALS/ILS course: is it okay to have a course booked for after the application window closes? I have a spot for January 17th, but the application window closes on the 15th..


  24. Hi! I checked with the FY2 Standalone Applicant Guidance and it was indicated that the applications are until Jan 15 only. May I know when is the real deadline, Feb 1 or Jan 15? Thank you so much

  25. Hello,
    I recently confirmed my GMC registration. I want to apply for FY2 standalone programme but my score in OET is below 400 in all section. In that case am I eligible to apply for FY2 standalone programme or I have to give OET or IELTS again?


  26. Hi. I have a few doubts and would be really happy if you could help me out.
    1. I heard you could do FY2 in your own homeland( for me being India) for 3-4 months and by doing that, i dont have to do the one year of FY2 in the UK if i show proof? is this true?
    2.I just finished FY1 in India. I’m interested in Psychiatry and want to pursue that eventually in the UK.
    And i have a few months off now due to the pandemic and waiting for PLAB2 dates.So i was wondering which would look better on my CV- if i did a non training post for a few months in Psychiatry or if i worked as a Medical officer for a few months under various specialities?
    Eagerly waiting for your reply.Thank you so much!

    1. Hi there, to answer your questions:
      1. No. You still need a total of 24 months clinical experience in order to start ST1/CT1. This means 12 months internship + 12 months experience after internship. However you do not need to do a formal 12-month FY2 post. Please see the options here:
      2. It actually doesn’t really matter, as long as you show interest in psychiatry even without any formal work experience then you can get into training. Although working as a medical officer under various specialties will give you more opportunities to get your foundation competences signed off so it’s probably a better option.

  27. Hello, doctors!

    Thank you for the post! I would just like to ask if I can directly apply for FY2 if I have already finished my post graduate internship in the Philippines. This the internship right after the graduation and before taking the Philippine Licensure Examination. Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Trisha, I have a similar question that if one completes their post graduate internship before getting a license will that be an acceptable pattern? How did it go for you? Thanks so much 🙂

  28. Hi doctor,
    I have got registered with the GMC, but I have a long clinical gap due to which its almost impossible for me to get my old references, but I am interested in the FY2 stand alone post.How should I deal with this?

  29. Hi, could you please elaborate a bit about “person specifications” and essential and desirable criteria? Unfortunately the links are dead and I can’t find the info on the foundation website.

    Are references required for the application? If so what type of references can we use?

    Thank you for your time

    1. Hi there, the person specifications and application handbook is currently being reviewed. Once the latest version has been published we’ll update the links!

  30. Thank you for this really amazing and detailed post..I just need a couple of clarifications..
    1. Do we need internship completion certificate while applying for visa for plab2 coz the internship in our hospital ends only in March and I need to apply for visa a bit earlier (January) so that I can take plab2 in May
    2. Will I be able to get full gmc registration by August 4th if I get plab 2 results only by mid to late June as I can write plab 2 only in May.

    1. Hi there, thanks for visiting our site!
      1. No, internship is not a requirement for PLAB 2 or the visa.
      2. It’s quite unlikely, you’re meant to submit your application for full GMC registration by May if you’re applying for Standalone FY2 however I would still recommend applying because you never know! You may get your registration in time.

  31. Hi Nick, do you have an article or additional resources about entering speciality training through the non-training + CREST route?

    Due to issues with timing, I may not be able to complete PLAB 1 for my application to a standalone FY2 job in Aug 2021. Instead of wasting a year, it would be ideal if I could do a non-training job so I would be eligible to apply for speciality training in 2022 but I have little to no information about this route.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Hi there! Essentially you just apply for jobs through the NHS jobs website, start work in a non-training job, get your CREST signed off by the time you apply for training, and make sure you have 12 months of experience after internship by August 20222. There’s not much else to it other than that! 🙂 You can read more about applying for UK specialty training in this article:

      For a step-by-step guide to maximise your chances to get into UK training, do check out our Masterclass. Best of luck!

  32. Hy Nick,

    Thank you so much for providing us with so much info and for making things a lot simpler…
    I have already passed PLAB 1 and awaiting PLAB 2 dates plus I have worked for 2 years in psychiatry in a non training postin my home country..I would be very grateful to know if I can apply for CT training in psychiatry for August 2021 intake with a CREST form signed in my home country and if I have no work experience in the Uk.I am planning on giving PLAB 2 in January.

    1. Hi there, yes you can if have genuinely completed everything listed on the CREST form and you have a valid ALS certificate or a booking for an ALS course before August 2021. It’s not required (yet!) to have NHS experience in order to apply for UK training but we generally don’t recommend it. Best of luck!

  33. Hi Nick,
    Thank you for such a detailed post on FY2 standalone!
    My question is, I graduated in 2013 and have been employed full time until now. i wish to apply for stand alone. Are my chances of getting through lesser compared to fresh graduates?
    Also, I heard its difficult to get an ALS booking as seats gets filled up quickly. Is it enough to have a booking that could be past June 2021?

    1. Hi there! 1. Possibly but there are no strict criteria against it so that’s no reason not to apply. But I would also recommend applying for regular non-training jobs since you are already experienced, it’s not essential to do standalone FY2 to enter the system here. 2. The new guidelines for F2 applications are currently being amended, you’ll need to check them when they’ve been published. We’ll also update this article if there are any significant changes!

  34. Thank you so much for your reply!
    I was a bit confused about this: “You don’t actually need to be licensed in Germany to become licensed in the UK so taking that exam is optional to your plans.”
    I think in order for me to qualify from medical school (to get the PMQ) here, I have to finish my pre-graduate internship and take that final medical exam at the end in November, meaning it could well interfere with the PLAB 1 date, as well as the problem of not having qualified before I can even book the test in good time. I didn’t know PLAB was only possible AFTER finishing med school,
    I had planned on taking it during my internship year. I am sure a lot of IMGs come across this problem due to different medical schools having different timelines. Perhaps it is possible to sit the PLAB 1 just before finishing medical school in certain cases??? I will check with the GMC about this and let you know.

    Is there a big disadvantage for going for the “non-training job” route in the UK to fulfil that mandatory 12-month clinical experience before specialty training compared to the training route (standalone fy2 or WAST), especially when it comes to applying for specialty training? A lot of these things in the UK seem to have strict starting dates, so I’m afraid that if I don’t follow a certain track at the right time, I will be at a disadvantage.

    Sorry, if this is a bit complicated! Thank you so much. And I will definitely ask the GMC regarding my final year of medical school and let you know.


    1. “You don’t actually need to be licensed in Germany to become licensed in the UK so taking that exam is optional to your plans.”

      This comment was based on your previous statement that you need to pass the “state” licensing exam in November. If the exam is required for you to qualify from medical school, then yes you will need to take it and it is not optional. If you can qualify for medical school without it and the exam is only for becoming licensed in Germany, then it can be considered optional.

      You can book PLAB after qualifying from medical school. If internship is not part of your medical qualification ie. it is POST-graduate, then you can sit PLAB during internship. If internship is PART of your medical qualification ie. it is PRE-graduate, then it’s a grey area. The GMC says you can only book PLAB after completing a PRE-graduate internship, but we know of IMGs who have taken PLAB during a pre-graduate internship so the rules are not clear.

      PLAB 1 & 2 are offered multiple times throughout the year. You can check the dates on the GMC website. But after November, the next PLAB 1 is in March which is too late for Standalone FY2 applications.

      Disadvantages are that you need CREST signed off at the time of application to ST1/CT1, whatever specialty you do will most likely count towards any experience limits in the specialty you’re aiming for, and you may not get the support you need for CREST or to build up your portfolio as you would with Standalone FY2. If you can do all of these things in the non-training job, then there is no disadvantage other than that immigration rules may change again and you revert to this:
      Of course, no one can predict what will happen with immigration rules.

  35. Hello Nick,
    Thank you so much for this very informative post, I am in awe of how detailed and well-explained it is!
    I’m a medical student from Germany (however non-EU citizen), and will be finishing my “internship year” (which is the final year of medical school in Germany) in October 2021 and only AFTER I’ve passed the final “state medical license exam” in November 2021, will I be fully qualified as doctor here. I’m a bit unsure of how to plan this all out time-wise if I want to apply for the Standalone FY2 Programme. This leaves me no option but to apply for the following year in 2022.
    This would leave me with an awkward gap of about 9 months until I can start FY2 in August 2022 (given that I get accepted). Would it be possible / would you suggest that I work a non-training job (at FY1 or FY2 level?) until I officially start Standalone FY2 (given that I have already taken PLAB)? It could be that I am overly miscalculating how much time and effort it takes to even go through this application process and maybe those 9 months is just what I need in order to get the application all sorted. Would appreciate to hear what you think.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi there, thank you visiting our site!

      You don’t actually need to be licensed in Germany to become licensed in the UK so taking that exam is optional to your plans. As long as you complete an accepted pattern of internship, then you can submit the details of this and obtain full GMC registration. Please check first with the GMC that your final year of medical school in Germany will accepted for full GMC registration as a non-EU national. This seems to be a problem for some IMGs.

      To be eligible for Standalone FY2 you need to sit PLAB 1 November 2021 at the latest and pass it. Please be aware that you need to qualify from medical school in order to book PLAB, if your internship is the final year of medical school and you finish medical school in October 2021, you may not be able to book the PLAB exam for November 2021 because it may be full by then.

      If you do manage to book it, then you’ll most likely be able to book PLAB 2 around March 2022 and get GMC registration by around April/May 2022 so tbh, there’s really no time to start a non-training job prior to starting Standalone FY2.

      The most pressing issue that you need to gain clarification on is whether or not you will be eligible for full GMC registration using your final year of medical school as proof of internship. Also, there is the possibility that you won’t be able to sit PLAB in November 2021 because all seats may be booked by the time you qualify in October 2021 so you’re looking at applying for Standalone FY2 2023, or skipping standalone FY2 altogether and just going for a non-training job until the start of ST1/CT1.

      Hope that helps! Let us know how your query about full GMC registration goes! Best of luck!

      1. Thank you for your reply!
        I was a bit confused about this: “You don’t actually need to be licensed in Germany to become licensed in the UK so taking that exam is optional to your plans.”
        I think in order for me to qualify from medical school, I have to sit that final medical exam from Germany in November, meaning it could well interfere with the PLAB 1 date, as well as the problem of not having qualified before I can even book the test in good time. I didn’t know PLAB was only possible AFTER graduating from med school, otherwise I would have taken it during my internship year.

        Are PLAB 1 and 2 only offered once a year? I’m starting to realize Standalone FY1 might not be a feasible options due to the unfortunate timing of things, which is really upsetting… 🙁

        Is there a big disadvantage for going for the “non-training job” route in the UK to fulfil that mandatory 12-month clinical experience before specialty training compared to the training route (standalone fy2 or WAST), especially when it comes to applying for specialty training? A lot of these things in the UK seem to have strict starting dates, so I’m afraid that if I don’t follow a certain track at the right time, I will be at a disadvantage.

        Sorry, if this is a bit complicated! Thank you so much. And I will definitely ask the GMC regarding my final year of medical school and let you know.


  36. Hi Nick, I’m glad that I got into your blog just in time. You have cleared many things, however I still have couple of things for you to clear for me, and I’d be really grateful to God who showed me the way to you.
    I learned that my OET scores are fair enough to book plab-1, which I am having in 2 months time now. But, It just fell short to fulfill FY2 application criteria.
    Please tell me about the followings:
    1. Can you kindly tell me when will the next fy2 application date start. Does FY2 recruitment operates multiple times in a year or does it occur annually.
    2. Where can I get the format to apply for the English language evidence as per point 4 in the language criteria.
    kindly clarify above.
    Much thanks…!!

    1. Hi Tanmay! Glad to have you here on the site!
      1. As mentioned at the top of the article, applications for August 2021 will open on January 4th, 2021 and close on February 1st, 2021 at noon. Recruitment to Standalone FY2 runs once a year only, recruitment to non-training jobs at FY2 level run anytime throughout the year.
      2. There is no official format that we’re aware of, nothing is provided on the UKFP website, but you can email the UK FP office directly just in case they have one.
      Hope that helps, best of luck in your application and PLAB 1 exam!

  37. Thank you for the informative post Dr. Nick! I have a concern though. My post-graduate internship is until June 2021. I read that the registration should already be completed by May 2021. Would you advise still applying for this round? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi there, no you need registration by August 2021 so you should submit your application by around May 2021 to give it adequate time. Approval can take a few days to up to 3 months depending on the complexity of your application. If you need to sit PLAB in order to gain GMC registration, just remember you need to pass PLAB 1 by November 2020. If not, you will not be able to gain GMC registration in time and your application will be rejected. Best of luck!

  38. Hello Doctor
    Thanks for this informative post. I would have worked for 24 months at the time of application. Am I eligible to apply for fy2 position? Also,When is Imt started after completing fy2?

    1. Hi there! 1. You can still apply but those with less experience may be preferred. 2. If you apply for IMT during FY2, it generally starts the next day after you finish FY2.

  39. Hello Doctors, according to your experience which is the best option for an IMG if I am looking for a CT1 / ST1, do the independent FY2 or non-training jobs.

    1. You can do either, both are suitable. Here are some points to keep in mind:
      – Standalone FY2 has a strict application process which starts in January each year. The job then starts in August the same year. On the other hand, non-training jobs are open all year round and you can start at any time.
      – With a non-training job, you will need to ensure you have CREST signed in time for applications to UK specialty training, which is in November for Round 1. This is not an issue in standalone FY2 as you do not need CREST when you are part of Standalone FY2.
      – Non-training jobs may not have an educational supervisor and it may be more difficult to get CREST signed off.

      Hope that helps! Best of luck!

    2. Hi, thanks for this useful post!
      Is it required to have a “dean’s statement” for getting into a standalone FY2 program?

  40. Hello,
    I found this blog extremely helpful to get a basic understanding of the medical training structure of the UK.
    However, I’m worried about a point in particular.
    I’d like to apply for a standalone FY2, before training but I haven’t got any audits/research projects to my name. How difficult will it be for me to be accepted for an interview?

    1. Hi there, these are not requirements for standalone FY2 but they help. Many IMGs have succeeded in getting a Standalone FY2 posts without previous audits or research so I would encourage you to just apply. Best of luck!

  41. Hello, Dr! I wanted to know if we need a valid IELTS at the time of applying for Standalone FY-2. Like for example, if a candidate is unsuccessful in 1st round and when he applies for 2nd time in next intake but his/her IELTS expires, does he/she have to retake IELTS?

  42. Hi, really good post.

    What about if you are a UK citizen who studied abroad in europe now returning to the UK.

    Are the odds of getting on the standalone better or worse?

    1. Hi Han, due to recent changes to the SOL list, the odds of UK citizens and non-UK/EU citizens are all the same now.

  43. Hello Nick,
    That was a good detailed post.
    My question is, I’m finishing internship in my home country this December and have already cleared Plab 1 and should have cleared plab 2 by then as well(finhers crossed) so I don’t have any post graduation experience wither in my home country or in UK. Will this be a problem or look bad on my application?
    I’m trying for a clinical attachment as well in the meantime

    1. Hi, according to the person specifications, post-internship experience is not a requirement. However, it’s also written then they prefer applicants who have been in clinical practice for the last 12 months prior to applications or can show maintenance of clinical skills and knowledge. PLAB and other CPD are ways to show this. Best of luck!

      1. Hi, This was a very detailed post with lots of useful informations. I am yet to give my plab 1 in November and would like to know if the ACLS/ALS training certification could be done for any country or should it by from UK in particular.

  44. Hi I am starting my FY2 nontraining job this August.i wish to apply for FY2 stand alone starting in tha next August. I have read in your essential criteria that if we have our competency signed off we cannot apply for it.So can I work as FY2 without getting it signed.Can you please help me by explaining the Fourth one in essential criteria in the person specification

    1. Hi Nimi, you do not have to get CREST signed off in your non-training FY2 job. Getting it signed is up to you.

  45. Hi Samira,
    I have a problem, and would appreciate if someone could help/guide me in this

    I have an interview scheduled on 25th June for an F2 LAT post, but my ALS falls on the same day

    The issue is I need ALS/ILS for F2 standalone, but obviously I would not want to miss the interview. It is too short notice to try and find another place, although I am trying.

    I mailed them, they said this is okay, but I feel like they think I have ACLS UK, even though I attached my certificate along with the email. Do you think they will sympathise with me when I show them my booking which happened to be on the same date as the interview?

    FYI I am ACLS (American) Certified, but as far as I know, that has no place in the UK

    1. Hi, you will need to contact the place you are interviewing at and request a change in date. Although it can help with your application to FY2, ALS is not usually a strict requirement to start FY2. ALS is normally completed during FY2. This is something you can clarify with the prospective employer when you call them. They can guide you further. Hope it all works out! Best of luck with your interview!

  46. Thanks for the informative post about F2 standalone. My question is how helpful will an intercalated degree like Bsc or Msc have when applying for F2 standalone posts? Are there any IMGs who haven’t obtained such degrees and still got the training post?

    1. Hi Samira, the applicant scoring criteria for standalone FY2 is not completely transparent meaning they don’t publish information on how applicants are scored per item in their CV so I can’t say for sure. But intercalated degrees and additional degrees generally do earn extra points. However having an additional degree is not an essential criteria, you can still get a job without it if you do well in other areas. Your application will be looked at as a whole.

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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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