Moving countries is a very exciting venture, however, it can also be very daunting, with so much to organise. At Medical Nursing & Healthcare, we are here to help you through the various things you will need to ensure a smooth transition into becoming a nurse in the UK. One such necessity is registering with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which was created to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the public by ensuring nurses keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

New applicants

Applicants must complete an online self-assessment of their eligibility to apply before beginning the application process.

Registering with the NMC is your first step to working in the UK.

To help you through registration, we have put together this quick step-by-step guide for nurses trained outside of the EU/EEA:

English language requirements

All applicants must be able to show they can communicate clearly and effectively in English by undertaking the Academic International English Language Test (Academic IELTS Test). NMC will accept an IELTS certificate that confirms you scored a minimum of 6.5 in writing alongside a minimum of 7.0 in reading, listening and speaking, so long as you achieved the minimum overall score of 7.0. NMC will verify the scores with the IELTS organisation.

Practice requirements

At the time of the application, the applicant must have practised as a registered nurse or midwife for at least 12 months (full time or the part-time equivalent) after qualifying. This post-registration experience must be relevant to the field of practice the applicant is applying for. If the applicant has not undertaken any duties as a registered nurse or midwife in the three years prior to making their application, they should contact NMC to discuss available options.

Registration requirements

Applicants must hold a current registration or licence without restriction with the licensing authority or registration body in the country in which they qualified or have been practising. NMC will require employment eligibility verification from that authority

Education requirements

Applicants must have successfully completed at least 10 years of school education before starting a post-secondary education nursing or midwifery training programme.

New applicants

Applicants must complete an online self-assessment of their eligibility to apply before beginning the application process.

There are different stages of the application process:

New applicants must complete an online self-assessment of their eligibility to apply before beginning the application process.

  • Application for nursing/midwifery
  • Part 1 test of competence (CBT)
  • Part 2 test of competence (OSCE)
  • Admission onto NMC register

Each professional field of nursing, including adult (general), children’s, learning disabilities, mental health and the midwifery profession, is examined by the NMC’s test of competence. Part one is a multiple choice examination and part two is a practical examination called an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

Test of competence (CBT)

In the UK, each field of nursing and midwifery is separate and distinct. Each requires three years of specialist pre-registration education and practice. The test of competence requires extensive preparation and study to make sure you can demonstrate knowledge, understanding and application of professional skills at the right level. The test of competence is in line with NMC’s pre-registration standards and competencies for all nurses and midwives. There are standards for adult (general) nursing, children’s nursing, learning disabilities nursing, mental health nursing and midwifery. They cover professional values, communication, nursing decision-making and leadership. Once applicants have passed the eligibility assessment, they will be asked to sit the first part of the test of competence. This will be a computer based test of theoretical practice-based knowledge. The test format will be multiple choice and can be taken in test centres around the world. Applicants will need to contact Pearson Vue, NMC’s test provider, to book and pay for their test.


Applicants will need to provide the following evidence in order to complete an assessment:

  • A valid passport. This same document must also be presented at the test centre.
  • Birth certificate
  • A qualification certificate for each qualification being submitted as part of the application
  • Registration certificates from each jurisdiction where the applicant has practised and/or been registered
  • Two employment references confirming the applicant’s post-registration practice of at least 12 months, their competence and character
  • Verifications from all jurisdictions where the applicant practised or where the applicant has been previously registered
  • Transcript of training for all relevant nursing or midwifery programmes completed by the applicant. These must be calculated in hours or be accompanied by a letter from the training institution with a key to how the credits translate to hours
  • A good health declaration from the applicant’s general practitioner or the occupational health department at their place of work
  • A police clearance certificate from all countries where the applicant has lived since the age of 18

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

The second part of the test is the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). This will act out scenarios which nurses and midwives are likely to encounter when they assess, plan, carry out and evaluate care. Each separate clinical examination is known as a ‘station’ and candidates will visit all the stations within a set time. Each of the six stations has standardised marking criteria against which all candidates are assessed. Candidates are assessed by a panel of examiners and will be filmed for quality assurance purposes. Candidates are expected to demonstrate safe and effective practice. The test of competence is based on current UK pre-registration standards. You can take the OSCE in the UK at the University of Northampton. When NMC authorises candidates to take the OSCE, they should contact the university directly.

Identification check

Applicants are required to attend a face-to-face identification check at NMC office in London. At the ID interview you must produce the original versions of the documents you sent photocopies of. They will make final checks on your previous registration, and take a photograph for their records.

Final registration – once NMC has received notification that an applicant has successfully completed part two of the test of competence and the ID check, they will be invited to complete their

Final declaration and payment for registration online

Once both have been received, you will be sent your PIN (personal identification number), confirming that you are fully registered with the NMC. Your registration will then show up on the NMC register online.

UK immigration processes

Applicants should be aware that they will be required to meet the full requirements of the UK’s immigration processes separately.


All documents submitted to NMC must be written in English. If documents are not in English, they need to be translated. The translation must:

  • be produced by a certified translator, and
  • be attached to the original-language version of the document.


If you trained outside the EEA, but you are a national of an EEA member state, you may be eligible to apply through the EU route of registration. However, to do this, you must have been registered and practising in an EEA member state for at least three years, and be able to provide evidence. The rules on this are particularly complex and you should contact NMC before you apply to discuss your situation.

Medical Nursing & Healthcare is here to help you should you need any further assistance. Please don’t hesitate to contact one of our dedicated team members on Telephone +44 208 936 3080 or at Don’t forget take a look at the jobs we have on offer across the UK.

*Rules governing registration are complex and for this reason, Medical Nursing & Healthcare will guide you throughout the entire process.

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