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

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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.

1. PROVISIONAL REGISTRATION

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.  

FAQs

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?

Summary

  • 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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Looking for a step-by-step guide?

Subscribe to the Savvy IMG and grab your FREE 2-year roadmap to UK residency as an IMG.

free

Looking for a step-by-step guide?

Subscribe to the Savvy IMG and grab your FREE 2-year roadmap to UK residency as an IMG.

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30 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.

      https://calendly.com/drkimberlytan

      I look forward to speaking with you!
      Kimberly

  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!

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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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