The Savvy IMG

The 4 types of GMC registration

Get to grips with the fundamentals of coming to the UK as an international medical graduate with our comprehensive easy-to-understand guide. In this post we discuss the different types of registration you can hold with the GMC.

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Close-up view of female doctor completing forms to register with the GMC

UPDATED: January 2, 2020

To practise medicine in the UK you need to be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). There are 4 different types of registration: provisional, full, specialist and GP.


This is given to both UK and international doctors who have just graduated from medical school and do not have any internship experience. 

Provisional registration is also given to IMGs who gain GMC registration through the PLAB route and have postgraduate experience, but their experience does not meet the GMC requirements for an acceptable pattern of internship

What jobs can you apply for with this type of registration?

The one and only job you can apply for with provisional registration is an approved Foundation Year 1 (FY1) training post as part of the UK Foundation Programme. You can read more about the UK Foundation Programme here.

2. Full registration

This type of registration is granted to doctors who have already completed internship. In the UK this is known as FY1. Overseas this can be known as a “house job”. 

What jobs can you apply for with this type of registration?

Any job below the level of GP or specialist Consultant.  

Related: UK doctor titles 101

3. GP register

GPs in the UK are family and community medicine specialists with 5 years postgraduate training.

To be included on the GP register, doctors must complete the 2-year Foundation Programme (or equivalent) and the 3-year GP training programme in General Practice (or equivalent). In other countries, this is usually equivalent to Family Medicine training.

What jobs can you apply for with this type of registration?

Any job below the level of specialist Consultant + GP jobs.  

Take note that in the UK, new medical graduates or those that have completed internship with no further specialty training are NOT considered GPs in the UK like they are in some countries.

If you have been working as a general physician back home but have no postgraduate training, you will apply for FULL registration, NOT GP registration.

4. Specialist registration

Doctors on the specialist register are those that have completed UK postgraduate specialty training through a GMC-approved training programme (or equivalent).

What jobs can you apply for with this type of registration?

Any job below the level of specialist Consultant + Consultant jobs.  


Which type of registration should I apply for?

The vast majority of IMGs complete internship in their home country and apply for full GMC registration. If you come to the UK before completing internship you will only be eligible for provisional registration. This severely restricts the types of jobs you can apply to – you can only apply to the official 2 year Foundation Programme with provisional registration.  Related: What jobs can I apply for with provisional registration?

Can I apply directly for GP or specialist registration if I have completed training overseas?

You can try to do so. You’ll need to prove that your training overseas is equivalent to UK training. You can read more about it in this article all about the CESR route to specialist registration: How to become a UK specialist without entering a UK training programme Can I apply directly for GP or specialist registration if I have passed the specialty exams? No. If you hold a postgraduate qualification, even a UK one, such as MRCP, MRCS etc, this does not automatically make you eligible for GP/Specialist registration. You also have to show on that you have the equivalent training of a UK trained specialist. Related: Once I hold full MRCP or MRCS, I can skip core training right?


  • There are 4 different types of registration.
  • The majority of IMGs finish internship overseas and apply for full registration which can be used to work in both training and non-training jobs.
  • Direct GP/Specialist registration is difficult without first working in the UK for some time.

Further resources

Find out what requirements you need for your individual circumstances with this GMC tool. I’ve completed the first 2 questions for you and you just need to complete the rest.

Once you know what you need, read more about each requirement for GMC registration here.

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28 Responses

  1. Hi
    I have mbbs degree, internship and 3 years post intern experience. I had a break in my career for 10 months during post intern. Can I apply for GMC registration when I pass plab?

    1. Sure, I don’t see why not! If you have particular concerns about GMC registration and 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.

      I look forward to speaking with you!

  2. Hi, I just have part 1 and 2 MRCP, I have not passed the clinical. Can I apply through acceptable postgraduate qualifications or do I need the full MRCP. Also I have sponsorship from my home country for further studies, can I apply through GMC approved sponsorship?

  3. what about someone who graduated more than 5 years ago outside the UK. During the last 5 years he has obtained a master’s degree in public health and a PHD in the UK which deals with mental health among minorities in the united kingdom following the violence. he also spent a 4-month clinical internship in the UK. Will he have problems passing the Plab for provisional registration with the GMC to integrate F1 into the Foundation?

  4. Hello i am an IMG graduated from china , however under certain circumstances i did my pre graduate internship in my home country : Pakistan .which my school accepted and granted me PMQ diploma. However my question is if GMC doesn’t accept this internship can i do internship in any other countries with GMC provisional license as getting into foundation year seems very difficult

    1. If your internship meets the GMC requirements for internship and it was accepted by your medical school, I can’t see any reason why it would be rejected. I would recommend asking other IMGs in the FB group who have been in a similar situation to see how it was handled. Best of luck!

  5. Hello,
    I hope my message finds you fine.

    I will start my medical internship in Egypt from March 2021 until March 2022.

    Am I eligible to apply for provisional GMC registration and for the 2-Years UK foundation program next year when they open the application for eligibility checking in Augast 2021? and if I couldn’t get accepted for FY1, Can I apply again for Full GMC registration and FY2?

    1. Hi there! Yes that’s possible! Although please be careful with the timing. You’ll need to apply for both FY1 and standalone FY2 at the same time since the results of FY1 come out after the applications for standalone FY2 close. Then depending on the outcome of your FY1 application, you can decide whether or not to complete internship and which type of registration to apply for. Bear in mind, if you complete your internship in March 2022, then you will become ineligible for provisional registration and FY1. But don’t forget Standalone FY2 is only one option. You can also apply for non-training jobs at FY2 level if you complete internship and get full GMC registration. Good luck!

  6. Hi!
    I have done FCPS in OB/GYN from Pakistan. I am
    Currently working as a consultant. After taking OET what type of registration I can apply for.

    1. Hi there, most likely full registration unless you want to go through the CESR process. Although to get full registration you need to sit either PLAB or MRCOG.

  7. Hello there!
    I’ve just graduated from medical school and planning to apply for provisional registration this year. In case I didn’t get a job as an FY1, is it possible to later apply for full registration? Am I required to sit the PLAB exams again for that purpose?
    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi! To answer your questions 1. If you complete an acceptable internship overseas, then yes. 2. No, once you have GMC registration you don’t need to retake PLAB.

  8. Hi Iam a dermatologist, Finished my internship, practiced for 10 years, and have Master’s degree in Dermatology from my home country.
    How can I have the GMC registration?
    Thank you

  9. Hey bro, I recently graduated from china. I did my pre-graduate internship after which I got my degree and also means I’m licensed to work there as well. I also have a certificate from my school that confirms it was for 12 months with dates of all the departments I did. 3 months in surgery, IM and so forth. I’m hoping to write plab by march 2020 and hoping this would be acceptable? I messaged GMC but haven’t received a reply yet. Any thoughts on this ?

    1. Hi there, the requirements for internship are all listed here. As long as it meets the requirements, which it sounds like it does, it will probably be accepted. Unfortunately, nobody – not myself or even the GMC – can guarantee that your internship will be accepted before you submit your application.

  10. Hi I am a pulmonologist, practiced for 10 years. I have completed my mrcp and mrcsc recently and have a valid ielts. But I am not working since last 3 months only. Can I still apply for GMC registration and to what type of registration will I be eligible. Do I need to secure a job before I start my GMC registration process?

    1. Hi, yes you can still apply for GMC registration. You will be eligible for full registration with full MRCP and a valid IELTS. Please check the rest of the requirements for registration here. You will also need to have your degree verified by EPIC and a valid Certificate of Good Standing from your local medical authority. You do not need to secure a job before starting GMC registration but you can start searching and applying if you like. You can apply for senior level jobs as described here. Best of luck!

  11. Hi, I’m an IMG graduated from China, which we finished our internship before graduating. But we have to work for 1 year in order to get China’s doctor license, I would like to know that do we have to get the doctor license of our original country for full registration?

    1. Dear Ginny,

      Being fully licensed in your home country is not a requirement for full GMC registration. However if you still require one year of postgraduate work in order to become fully licensed in China, then I expect that the GMC will view that one year as the internship. It is very likely that they will consider your pre-graduate internship as simply clerkship or medical school rotations since after this you are still not eligible for a license to practise.

      I strongly recommend that you contact the GMC about how they handle applications from graduates of your medical school. Do let me know their response as it would be helpful for other IMGs from China as well. Best of luck!

  12. I am a general surgeon ,at present preparing for MRCS exam, currently not working for 2 months, will GMC approve Gaps in clinical practice.2nd does GMC approve clinical attachment as Clinical practice to fill the gaps .

    1. Explainable gaps should be fine. The GMC may ask for further documentation, that’s all. As long as you have a reasonable explanation I don’t see it being a problem. If you have further questions, it’s best to ask the GMC directly.

  13. Hi. I took internship in the Philippines, and have some query.
    Filipino doctors take postgraduate internship before getting the license.
    Is it understood as acceptable pattern of internship by GMC?
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi, yes postgraduate internships in the Philippines follow an acceptable pattern of internship as specified by the GMC.

  14. Im working in pakistan as a medical officer at a private center,i have completed housejob.. How can i get GMC registration?

    1. Hi there, thanks for your question! You need to open an account on GMC online as a first step. You will then need to pass all the requirements for GMC registration including an English test (IELTS or OET) and a medical exam (PLAB). Please see the requirements here: To check which requirements you need please complete this GMC tool:

  15. I am a primary care physician I have 24 years experience in UAE,I have Master degree in diabetes management from University of South Wales, how I can have GMC registration?

    1. Dear Dr Rania, thanks for your query. The best way to check your most suitable route is to go through this official GMC tool. As you have had many years of practice you may be able to register through the CEGPR route. The other option is the PLAB route. If you need further guidance to your specific situation I would recommend contacting the GMC directly in the first instance.

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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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