Frequently asked questions

Overseas Registrations

What was the conclusion of the overseas registrations review in early 2013?

We resumed the overseas registration of nurses and midwives on Tuesday 2 April. We streamlined our processes and eliminated duplication.

We will write to applicants already in the system if and when we require more information from them.

However, we have launched a wide ranging review of the policy itself, with the intention of creating a gold standard overseas registrations system. More details can be found in our news section.

I trained outside of the European Union (EU), but I am an EU national,
can I apply for registration via the EU application route?

To be eligible to apply via the EU application route you must either be a national of an EU member state, a member state of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and have worked as a nurse or midwife in an EU or EEA member state for at least three years. If you have the relevant nationality and experience, the nursing or midwifery authority with whom you are registered must confirm this in writing to the NMC.

If you do not satisfy these requirements, you must apply via the overseas application route.

English is my first language and I was educated in English, do I need
to complete an IELTS examination in order to evidence my English
language competence?

All nurses and midwives who trained in a country outside of the European Union (EU) must undertake the International English Language Test (IELTS) at the academic level and achieve minimum scores of seven, both overall and in each of the four assessment branches of listening, writing, reading and speaking. The IELTS must be undertaken by all applicants who are applying for registration through the overseas application route, including those whose first language is English or who hold British citizenship. In order to maintain consistency and impartiality the NMC will not assess the English language competence of an applicant in any other way.

Good communication between nurses, patients and other medical staff is essential to ensure effective and safe patient care. This communication must be underpinned by a high standard of proficiency in English. We are committed to using the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as an objective and fair system of assessing language competency as part of the wider registration process for nurses and midwives trained outside the European Union.

IELTS is used by healthcare regulators in the United Kingdom (UK) and internationally as it provides an objective, consistent and internationally accessible means for professionals to demonstrate their language proficiency.

I want to register as an adult (general) nurse, what are the
requirements?

The adult (general care) programme must include theoretical and practical instruction in the following areas:

-General and specialist medicine
-General and specialist surgery
-Childcare and paediatrics
-Maternity (obstetric) care
-Mental health and psychiatry
-Care of the elderly
-Community/primary care nursing.

Once registered, applicants must have been practising as a registered nurse for at least 12 months (full-time or the part-time equivalent). This practice must be registered, we cannot accept any unregistered practice.

In addition applicants must complete the academic version of the International English Language Test (IELTS) and achieve a minimum overall score of seven (out of a possible nine) and at least seven in each of the listening, reading, writing, and speaking sections.

If successful, applicants will be required to undertake an Overseas Nursing Programme (ONP) at an Approved Education Institute (AEI) in the UK before being accepted for registration.

I wish to register as a midwife, what are the requirements?

To be considered for registration as midwife in the United Kingdom (UK) applicants, who have obtained their nursing qualification outside the UK and European Union (EU), must have successfully completed at least ten years of general education before commencing a post-secondary education programme in midwifery that leads to registration in their home country as a midwife. This training must be either a three year (5000 hours) full time programme or if you are already a registered nurse in the UK, an 18 month (2500 hours) course focused entirely on midwifery, with a balance of half practical/clinical training and half theoretical training. The calculation we use will be based on the hours of theoretical study and clinically supervised learning.

This must include the following practical instruction:

-Advising pregnant women, involving 100 pre-natal examinations
-Carrying out 40 deliveries
-Taking part in breech deliveries either as clinical practice or simulation
-Performing episiotomy and suturing
-Supervising and caring for at least 40 women who are at risk in pregnancy, labour or the post-natal period
-Supervising and caring for at least 100 post-natal women and healthy new-born babies
-Observation and care for new-born babies who need special care, (this may include neonatology)
-Caring for women who have pathological conditions relating to gynaecology or obstetrics
-An introduction to medicine and surgery
-Experience as a midwife working in a primary or community care setting.

Once registered, applicants must have been practising as a registered midwife for at least 12 months. This practice must be registered, we cannot accept any unregistered practice.

In addition, applicants must have passed the academic version of the International English language Test (IELTS) achieving a minimum overall score of seven (out of a possible nine) and at least seven in each of the listening, reading, writing, and speaking sections, (unless already a registered nurse in the UK).

If successful, applicants will be required to undertake an adaptation to midwifery programme.

Which English language tests do you recognise?

All applicants applying for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), who have trained outside of the European Union (EU), must complete the academic version of the International English Language Test (IELTS). This is the only English language test that we accept as evidence of English language competence.

I have achieved an overall score of 7.0 on the IELTS but achieved as
score of 6.5 in one section, can you accept my score?

All applicants applying for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), who have trained outside of the European Union (EU), must complete the academic version of the International English language Test (IELTS) achieving a minimum overall score of seven (out of a possible nine) and at least seven in each of the listening, reading, writing, and speaking assessment sections.

There are no exceptions to this standard. A score of less than seven, either overall or in any of the four assessment sections will not be accepted.

How long does it take to register?

Stage one of the application process is known as the mandatory stage. Applicants are required to pay an administrative fee of £140 and to complete and return the initial application form that includes their IELTS candidate number and test score. We also require copies of the following documents:

-Registration certificate from the registration authority in the country in which you are qualified
-Passport (page containing your photograph and details)
-Birth certificate
-Marriage, civil partnership or deed poll certificate (if your name differs on any of the documents listed above)

Once assessed and accepted, the second overseas application pack will be issued. As part of this stage of the process the applicants are required to supply:

-A completed application form
-Two employment references
- A fully completed original transcript of training form (to be provided by the training institution where you attained your approved nursing/midwifery training programme)
- Fully completed original registration authority verification of registration form(s).

Please ensure that you supply the required documentation, as failure to do so will delay the conclusion of your application. If successful, nursing applicants will be required to undertake an Overseas Nursing Programme (ONP) at an Approved Education Institute (AEI) in the UK before being accepted for registration. If successful, midwifery applicants will be required to undertake an adaptation to midwifery programme.

We are committed to assessing overseas applications within 90 days and where possible we always attempt to process these more quickly. However, there are occasions when this may take longer due to nurses and midwives submitting incomplete applications to us and because of the volume of applications we receive at one time.  

I do not have 12 months experience, can I apply for registration?

In order to register a nursing qualification obtained outside of the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU), applicants must have been practising as a registered nurse for at least 12 months. This is a mandatory requirement, for which there are no exceptions.

Also, if you have been qualified for longer than this, you must have practised for at least 450 hours in the previous three years.

Also, if you have been qualified for longer than this, you must have practised for at elast 450 hours in the previous three years.

I initially trained overseas but I am enrolled in a top up programme in
the UK, does this mean I can register with the NMC?

You will need to contact the university with whom you are enrolled, to confirm if the course that you are undertaking leads to registration with the NMC under the United Kingdom pre-registration standards. If the course does not lead to automatic registration with the NMC, you are required to apply via the overseas application route.

Can I get an extension to complete my Overseas Nursing Programme (ONP)?

Once a decision letter is issued, you must complete the requirements within two years. If you are starting an ONP within the two year period but will not be able to complete it in the set time, then please ask the university to confirm this in writing and we can extend the finish date.

If you have not found an ONP or are unable to start the ONP until after the two years has passed then we cannot extend the decision. Instead, you must reapply to the NMC and you will be issued with a new decision letter. Please call the NMC on 020 7333 9333 with your PRN if you require a new application pack.

Why have I been sent a training area reference form?

All qualifications gained outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) are assessed against UK standards. There are core components of nursing and midwifery which must be taught in a theoretical and clinical setting. If your transcript of training indicates that any of the core components of learning were not achieved then we can consider relevant working experience. The training area reference form is an opportunity for you to supply an employment reference for the missing area of training, if you do not have any experience in the required field then please write this on the form and return it to us.

Created date :
02/08/2012
Modified date :
02/04/2013