Blogs > GMC Registration / Useful Information

How to restore your GMC licence

  • June 20, 2018

To practice medicine in the UK you will need to hold GMC Registration with a licence to practice.

An individual’s status as a registered doctor holding a licence to practise will form part of their electronic record on the GMC’s List of Registered Medical Practitioners.

Often, doctors leave the UK to visit family and during this time some like to take up temporary work in their home country. The GMC does not require doctors to retain registration or a licence to practice when they are not engaged in medical practice in the UK. During this instance, it is important for doctors to work within the guidelines and standards of the GMC and to ensure they comply with and are active on any foreign register prior to working abroad.

If you want to temporarily leave the UK to work abroad there will be three options available to you:

1.Relinquish your registration
2.Relinquish your licence
3.Voluntary erasure (giving up your licence and registration)

1. Maintaining your registration – with or without a licence

To maintain your GMC registration whilst you work overseas, you must pay your annual retention fee and keep the GMC informed of your up-to-date contact details such as your overseas address.

You can choose to hold a licence to practise whilst practising abroad, but you will need to revalidate prior to your return.

Restoring registration

If you need to restore your registration you can do so up to three months before you need it to start. It is important to make an early application so that there are no delays upon your return to the UK.

You must make your application online via the GMC website. Check the GMC website for current evidence requirements and the process that you need to follow.

You may also need to attend another identity check before the restoration process can be completed.

2. Relinquish your licence but maintain your registration

If you want to work abroad then you may consider giving up your licence for the period you are out of UK practice. However, each hospital’s policy on this will vary so be sure to check with them.

You also need to check whether the medical association or organisation in the country to which you are relocating requires you to still be licenced in your home country.

What are the benefits of giving up my licence?

  • A reduced annual retention rate is charged by the GMC when holding registration without a licence
  • You keep a professional connection with the GMC
  • You won’t be involved in revalidation (until you have a licence to practise again

Restoring registration

If you have given up your licence to practise but kept your registration you will need to restore your licence before you can practise again in the UK.

If you don’t need to change your registration and just want to restore your licence you can do so up to three months before you need your licence. You should apply as early as possible so you can practice promptly when you return to the UK.

The GMC will ask you for:

  • Evidence to confirm your identity
  • Statements from the organisations you have most recently provided medical services to
  • Certificates of Good Standing from any other regulators you have been registered within the past five years

The GMC may ask you to attend another identity check at either their London or Manchester office.

Please note that the BMJ advise that you should not assume that your licence has been restored until you receive written confirmation from the GMC.

3. Voluntary Erasure

You can request to have your name erased from the register while you are practising abroad. This means you will no longer be registered with the GMC or hold a licence to practise.

What are the advantages of voluntary erasure?

  • You will not have to pay the annual registration fee during a period when you do not need to be registered
  • There is no fee for removing your name from the register

To give up your registration, you will need to make an application directly to the GMC – no more than three months before the date on which you want your registration to end.

Please note that the BMJ advise that you should not assume that your licence has been restored or your registration type changed until you receive written confirmation from the GMC.

If you would then like to register with the GMC to receive your licence to practise you will need to start another application online.


All doctors who have full registration and a licence to practise with the GMC are required to demonstrate, on a regular basis, that they are up to date and fit to practise. This is called revalidation.

What is revalidation?

Every licensed doctor who practises medicine in the UK must revalidate their licence. Revalidation ensures your medical knowledge and practice is up to date and drives improvements in clinical governance and will provide patients with confidence.

For information on how to re-validate click here.

If you are an international doctor who wants to relocate to the UK and work within the NHS send your CV to [email protected] – and we will be happy to help you. In addition, if you would like support from an online forum of other IMG’s join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor: IMG Advisor.

References (2018). BMA – GMC guidance for doctors taking time out. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Jun. 2018]


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