The Savvy IMG

What if your internship experience is rejected by the GMC?

This is a difficult situation to be in, but there are options if this happens. In fact there are four! Find out what they are in this guide.

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What if my internship experience is rejected by the GMC

If you are an IMG and you do not have an acceptable pattern of internship from overseas, then you will not be eligible for full registration with the GMC. 

In this case, there are 4 options:  

  1. Apply for provisional registration and FY1 (UK internship) through the UK Foundation Programme.
  2. Complete the requirements for Pattern B overseas then reapply for full registration.
  3. Obtain an accepted postgraduate qualification (PGQ) and reapply for full registration.
  4. Apply for full registration through the sponsorship route.

Each of these options has their own issues, but it’s not impossible.

1. UK Foundation Programme

The UK Foundation Programme is a 2-year programme for new medical graduates. The first year (Foundation Year 1 or FY1)

Related: Apply for the UK Foundation Programme 2021 as an IMG

2. Pattern B overseas

If you have no barriers to working back home, this can be a good option for you. 

Read this article for an explanation of Pattern B.

If you are unable to work back home for various reasons and therefore cannot meet the requirements for Pattern B, you can try option 3 or 4.

This is the most problematic of the 4 options. There are very few, if any, places in the UK Foundation Programme for doctors who require a Tier 2 work visa to work in the UK. I often say that choosing this pathway is essentially gambling because it is 100% dependent on whether there are leftover seats after all the local graduates and IMGs with right to work in the UK are given places. 

IMGs have been successful with this in the past 2 years only but not everyone gets a place. If you still want to go ahead, do so at your own risk.

3. Postgraduate qualification route

Your internship does not need to meet the strict criteria of Pattern A or Pattern B if you are going through the postgraduate qualification route. In fact you can see in the GMC list of requirements for this route, details of internship are not asked for. 

It also states in paragraph 6 of the GMC guidance for internship, that “applicants applying through the PGQ or Sponsorship routes are considered to have demonstrated the necessary experience for full registration.” So if the GMC officer handling your case is giving you a hard time about your internship through the postgraduate qualification route, you can refer them back to their own GMC guidance.

If you are considering this route, then this is the list of postgraduate qualifications accepted by the GMC for full registration. These include MRCP and MRCS. 

Related: How to decide between PLAB and MRCP/MRCS

4. Sponsorship route

Similar to above, your internship does not need to meet the strict criteria of Pattern A or Pattern B if you are going through the sponsorship route to registration. 

This is the list of GMC approved sponsors. This route can be difficult as it requires that you’ve been working as a doctor for 3 years in the last 5 years, including the last 12 months but if you’ve been doing this then it’s an option. You can read more about the process of applying for registration through sponsorship here. You can also read our guide about sponsorship.

Related: A guide to short-term training in the UK including
fellowships, scholarships, and GMC-sponsorships

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26 Responses

  1. Hi Nick, I applied for GMC registration and got a notification that the regulatory body should verify my internship dates.

    They told me that the dates sent by the regulatory body differ from what I filled out on the GMC application. The difference was between 1 – 3 days in 2 postings and I know where this is from. When I checked my copy of the house job forms I did not have the complete dates for each posting written so I called a colleague who did house job with me 12 years ago (I completed my form with this information) and used the dates between rotations through the dates for starting and completing the house job are correct.

    Will this be an issue for me? Do you know anyone who had similar experiences?

    1. Hi Fadeke, I would just explain to them why there is a difference. If your hospital doesn’t have a record and they’re basing it on your recollection from 12 years ago, I think they’d understand. I don’t know anyone with this problem but you may find it useful to ask IMGs who have recent experience with that in one of the IMG Facebook groups. You can find the links to relevant Facebook groups here on our Useful Links page. Hope it works out!

  2. Hi Nick! Thank you for quality response to queries on this page. I have some issues with my internship rotations.
    I had a 12 months internship, 7 years ago but while applying for full registration in my country, there was an overlaps of a week between medicine and Obgyn , and between obgyn and paediatrics because I deferred my one week leaves in between and moved on to new rotation. Surgery was not affect as I took the leaves from medicine, obgyn and paediatrics before proceeding to surgery rotation.

    Please, will this be a problem, since I completed 12 weeks in each of the four rotations? Thank you

    1. Hi Ify! I’m not sure I fully understand the situation. But if I understand it right, then my response would be that the internship needs to be 12 months in total, that shouldn’t include counting 1 week twice. For example you can’t count Jan 1-7 as both medicine, and obgyn, and say you completed 2 weeks during Jan 1-7. That wouldn’t make any sense on paper. If I’m not understanding it fully, it might be better to discuss in a one-to-one call.

  3. Hello ,

    Can u tell me the criteria for clinical experience of 2 year to get accepted by gmc for full registration.
    Does it has to be from government hospital or private hospital is also they accepts?

    Only certificate we need to provide or is there any other thing they check in this?

    Thank you

    1. Hi there, the criteria is listed above under Pattern B. As long as the hospital is open to the public for admissions, it’s fine. Your certificate of internship is all you need. Good luck!

  4. Hello,

    I have a few doubts. Hope you will be able to clear it.

    1. I did 12 months of Elective ( 3 months in surgery, 3 months in medicine), which was accepted as an internship by my university and granted PMQ. Will it be accepted for full GMC registration?

    2. My OET scores are less to take the UKFPO route, but I already uploaded the scores and booked plab1. Should I take the English exam again to apply for UKFPO eligibility in 2023? Will GMC accept 2 English scores?


    1. Hi there,
      1. That may be an issue when it comes to GMC registration, but we can’t say for sure. For an issue like this we recommend contacting the GMC directly for advice. Their email address is and the phone number is +44161 923 6602. They are open Monday to Friday 8 am–5.30 pm and 9 am–5 pm on Saturday. You can also send them a message on FB messenger, they usually reply within a day or 2.
      2. Yes you’ll need to retake the test and reach the UKFP cut off scores by the time you submit your eligibility application in July 2023. The GMC will just use the latest score, it’s not an issue.
      Good luck!!

  5. Hi there, wondering if you can help. I finished my medical degree from Ukraine 2021 as a graduate entry applicant and I have successfully written PLAB 1 and PLAB 2. I made my application to the GMC and they have refused it on the basis that my degree was 2years and 9 months even though that is 3 academic years, which is the requirement for graduate entry degrees. Can you advise on how to go about this

    1. Hi there, I’m sorry to hear about this. This GMC decision doesn’t make sense since of course 3 academic years is going to be less than 3 years if you count each month spent in school. A one year degree is one academic year, not 12 months long. We haven’t heard about this issue before. Have you made an appeal? You may find it useful to ask IMGs who have recent experience with that in one of the IMG Facebook groups. You can find the links to relevant Facebook groups here on our Useful Links page.
      We hope it works out, all the best!

  6. Hello
    Can you please tell how to go about if clinical rotations (pregraduation)done in primary medical qualification are less than what gmc has asked for pmq1form..on this basis they are rejecting. My application what should I do?

    1. Hi there, I’m sorry to hear about this. I’m afraid I have not come across this before. You may need to ask the GMC what you can do to remedy the situation. You may also find it useful to ask IMGs who have recent experience with that in one of the IMG Facebook groups. You can find the links to relevant Facebook groups here on our Useful Links page. Hope it works out, best of luck!

  7. Hello, I have recent applied for full registration and was rejected for unacceptable internship pattern, I have asked my adviser if I could do another internship, she said asked the management and replied with “ I have discussed your application with management and queried your questions with them to which they advised the following:
    If you decide to do another internship we will certainly consider it and it will be assessed under the criteria as in place at the time.” I have graduated in 2018 and haven’t practiced, I heard you have to do the internship within 2 years for it to be accepted, should I trust them and go do it?

    1. Hi there, it’s tricky because the GMC doesn’t commit to anything and leave you in limbo. I would recommend doing the internship but do not stop working after 12 months. Continue working so that if they reject the internship again under Pattern A, then you might still be able to fulfill the criteria for Pattern B which requires 24 months continuous work experience. 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!

  8. Hello,
    After my graduation I took 2 years of gap due to studying for international exams plus family circumstances. Then i did 6 months of internship rotation in psychiatry. Next I took A 2.5 year gap for clinical research and electives. after this I completed my house job with 3 months in surgery, 3 months in surgery allied and 3 months in medicine. Following this I have been doing my postgraduate training. Essentially I have completed the requirements of internship but with the gaps. If I make a case would my experience be accepted by for GMC. Kindly reply.

    1. Hi, unfortunately we can’t say. The GMC does accept some gaps if they accept your reasons but we cannot comment on the likelihood of this. If they won’t accept your internship and you fulfill Pattern B experience, then you can use that instead.

  9. Good day!
    Can you please tell me if my internship in internal medicine lasted 1 year, but there were no rotations for 6 months in surgery. Will it be accepted in UK?
    After my internship, I completed my specialization in cardiology for only 4 months, I have been working as a cardiologist for 10 years in Russia. Is it possible to apply for a MTI in cardiology with such postgraduate education?

    1. Hi there! If you go through the PLAB route your internship most likely will be rejected, but you can contact the GMC for further clarification. For MTI, please see the RCP website for eligibility details and contact their MTI team for additional help. Best of luck!

  10. Hi,

    Just one question: my university pregraduate internship is 48 weeks, so theoretically 12 months but not really a year (because it’s not 52 weeks), but it does have 18 weeks (so a little over 4 months) of surgery and medicine each with the remaining weeks in community and psych rotations. Is the duration of internship acceptable?


    1. Hi there, as far as we know the dates on your internship certificate should cover 1 whole year, so 52 weeks. For further clarification we recommend contacting the GMC directly. You can also ask on FB if anyone has had any issues with this length of internship. Best of luck!

  11. Thank you very much for this informing article. I have got a question regarding accepted surgical rotations. My internship rotations include one month of each of following rotations; General surgery, Obs&Gyn, ICU in Internal Diseases rotation, Interventional Radiology in Radiology rotation. The latter two of these rotations will be listed as Internal medicine and Radiology in internship certificate by my medical school. I wonder if in this case my pattern of internship is acceptable by GMC. I can provide additional evidence for these rotations signed by my supervisor professors if required. Thank you very much!

    1. Hi, looks like you have only 2 months of what would be considered surgical rotations (gen surg and OBGYN). Based on GMC criteria this will not be considered an acceptable pattern of internship for full registration. You need a total of 12 months of internship as well or 10 months with 2 months preparation for an exit exam.

  12. Hi , thanks for the amazing post

    1- I am going to apply for full registration through postgraduate certification route MRCS,
    2- I have not done pregraduate or postgraduate internship , therefore I am going to use the alternative route of 2 year postgraduate experience

    3 – additionally , as I graduated more than 10 years ago ,so my 2 year postgraduate experience is not included in the last five years of my professional experience .

    my question is

    you mentioned that internship is not required if applying through postgraduate route , so why the online application for full registration via this route asking about my internship ?

    1. Hi, we’ve answered your query through email. The first line on that page says “if you have not completed internship, please click here” Have you done that?

  13. Hello.
    My internship has many irregularities

    – lasts for 11 month plus a continuous 1 month vacation (and fy1 doctors vacations are spread throughout the year, apparently, which makes them incompatible)

    – has rotations in both medicine and surgery, but mixed throughout the year, so I specifically don’t have 3 months continuous surgical rotations. It eventually reaches 3 months in surgery at the end of the year, just that it’s not continuous.

    – took my 1 month internship elective in an UK university (approved by my home university). As I found out it was considered an observership and would not count towards my internship, decided to re take that 1 month elective in my home country once I come back (resulting in a 2 months gap during my internship – did 10 months already, elective abroad 1 month, vacation abroad 1 month, then returning to home country to retake elective for 1 month, then end of internship)

    So my questions were

    I’m planning to take pathway b and work 2 years post graduate (in my country, internship is before graduation)

    If I wait for those 2 years to complete, It will be 2022 and would have to sit ukmla?

    I still want to give my internship a shot for full gmc registration, planning on working 1 year and take a 6 month break to pass plab 1 and 2, then apply for full gmc registration (2021).
    If rejected, I return to my country for an extra year and meet pathway b.
    That will be 2022, already with plab 1 and 2 passed, will they make me take ukmla too?

    Will that 6 month break during year 1 and 2 postgraduate experience to sit plab 1 and 2 be penalized by gmc for full registration?

    1. Hi, thanks for your questions.

      1. Yes, you will have to sit UKMLA if you take the exams in 2022.

      2. You would not need to take UKMLA if you have already passed PLAB 1 & 2 as long as your full GMC registration is approved within 2 years of taking PLAB 2.

      3. The published requirement for Pathway B is that the 2 years are continuous ie. no gaps. It is up to the GMC whether they accept a 6-month gap for the reason of sitting PLAB.

      This is based on our understanding of the guidance. Of course, our understanding may not be perfect. Please read the guidance carefully and keep up to date with any changes. Best of luck with your UK journey!

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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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