Frequently asked questions
Why are we changing the overseas application process?
The new registration system has already been adopted by other healthcare profession regulators. It will ensure that the hundreds of nurses and midwives who trained overseas (outside the European Economic Area) and wish to practise in the UK are assessed in an effective and objective way, in order to protect the public. See more information.
If am making an application under the previous process, can I continue?
Yes, you can. However if you want your application to be considered under this process you must submit the all the requirements of the first stage (mandatory) by the 14 November 2014 and all the requirements of the second stage (assessment) by 31 January 2015.
Do I still need to complete the IELTS?
Yes, IELTS is a mandatory requirement for all overseas applicants.
English is my first language and I was educated in English, do I still need to complete an IELTS examination?
All nurses and midwives who trained in a country outside of the European Union (EU) must undertake the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at the academic level and achieve a minimum score of seven in all areas. The test must be taken by all applicants going through the overseas application route, including those whose first language is English or who hold British citizenship.
To maintain consistency and impartiality, we will not assess English language competence in any other way.
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 this 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 meet these requirements, the nursing or midwifery authority that you are registered with must confirm this to us in writing.
If you do not meet these requirements, you must apply via the overseas application route.
What are the minimum requirements to make an application for registration?
In order to apply, you must meet our minimum requirements which include an IELTS score of at least seven in all areas, 12 months post-registration practise as a nurse/midwife and completion of a three-year training programme.
How long will it take to process an application?
We aim to assess applications within 90 days of receiving all required documentation.
Will I need to provide certified copies of my documents?
You will need to upload your documents and evidence via the online system to support your previous declaration and pay the assessment fee. These documents do not need to be certified. Once these requirements have been received, we will assess the application to confirm that the submitted evidence is valid and meets our requirements. An ID check will take place when you take the objective-structured clinical examination (OSCE). To complete the check, you will need to bring all the original documents that you have previously submitted.
What documents will I need to upload?
You will need to upload copies of the following:
-A qualification certificate for each qualification being submitted as part of the application.
-Registration certificates from the country of training and each jurisdiction where you have practised and/or been registered. If your country operates a state registration, you will need to have registered in each state where you practised.
-Two employment references which cover competence and character. Also, confirmation of your post-registration practice of at least 12 months.
-A good health declaration from your general practitioner or the occupational health department at your place of work.
-A police clearance certificate from all countries where you have lived or worked.
-English translations of the above documents where appropriate.
-A valid passport. This must be the same document presented at the test centre. If your passport has changed, you will need to provide the new passport at this stage. However, you will need to present both passports at the face-to-face ID check, conducted when you take part two of the test of competence.
In addition to the files we ask you to upload, we also ask you to arrange for the following information to be sent directly to us:
- Verifications from the regulatory body in all jurisdictions where you have practised or where you have previously been registered, confirming registration with them and that there have been no fitness to practise issues.
-A transcript of training for relevant nursing or midwifery programmes which you have used to support your application, in addition to an accompanying form from a Higher Education Institution.
What are the minimum requirements for a nurse to apply to join our register?
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 in the country in which you trained, you 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.You must also complete the academic version of the International English Language Test (IELTS) and achieve a minimum overall score of 7 in all areas.
What are the minimum requirements for a midwife to apply to join our register?
To be considered for registration, you must have completed at least ten years of general education before commencing a post-secondary education programme in midwifery that leads to registration in your home country. This training must be either a three-year full-time programme (5000 hours) or if you are already a registered nurse in the UK, an 18-month course (2500 hours) focused entirely on midwifery, with 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 in the country in which you trained, you must have been practising as a registered midwife for at least 12 months. This practice must be registered; we cannot accept any unregistered practice. You also must have passed the International English language Test (IELTS) achieving a minimum overall score of 7 in all areas.
Where are the test centres?
The test centres for part one of the test (computer based) are run by Pearson Vue and are available in many locations [link to locations] around the world, with at least one in most countries. For more information, contact Pearson Vue. The OSCE examination, part two of the test, will be completed within one day and can only be taken in the UK, delivered by a UK university. Once we have authorised you to take the OSCE, you will need to book the date of the test directly with the university.
What is involved with part one of the test?
This is a computer-based examination. You must contact the test centre to book a test date and time. The fee to enrol and take this part of the test will be no more than £140. More information on the test.
Can I re-take part one of the test if I fail it?
If you do not achieve the required standard, you will be allowed to re-apply to take the test again. However, if you do not achieve the required minimum score a second time, your application will close and you will need to make a new application after six months. This is to allow time for further education activities.
What is involved with the OSCE?
The second part of the test will assess your practical skills in a clinical setting, based on current standards. The practical test will cover nursing or midwifery as appropriate and is an objective-structured clinical examination (OSCE). The OSCE will assess the holistic and integrated nature of safe and effective practice. Candidates will be measured against current UK pre-registration education standards for nursing or midwifery. More information on the test.
Can I re-take the OSCE if I fail it?
If you fail to achieve the required minimum score, you will be able to apply to take the test again.
What if there is not a Pearson Vue test centre near me?
If there is not a centre in your area, you will need to visit a test centre in another region/country or in the UK. See their website for a list of locations. For more information, contact Pearson Vue.
Is the competency test a compulsory requirement or are there alternative options?
From the 3 October 2014, all new overseas applicants will need to complete the competency test to join the UK register. If you have an existing decision letter from us, you will be able to complete the overseas nursing programme (ONP) in the normal.
Can I complete the competency tests if I am part way through the old process?
Arrangements are being discussed to allow applicants that are midway through the old process or those in possession of an ONP decision letter to go through the new overseas application process.
What if my qualification does not meet the minimum training requirements?
If your qualification does not meet our minimum training requirements, your application will be incomplete and you will not be able to take the competency test.
Can the NMC help arrange a visa for me to come to the UK to take the OSCE?
We have been working closely with UK Immigration and Visas to ensure that there are appropriate provisions in place to cover the operation of the new process. However, we cannot help facilitate the visa process. For more information, visit UK Immigration and Visas.
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