Blogs > IELTS/OET - English Language Requirements

Proving your English Language (Including language exemptions)

  • June 13, 2022

The GMC must be satisfied that you have the appropriate knowledge of English to practise safely in the UK when you seek for registration with a licence to practise. They must have faith in your ability to communicate successfully in English so that the safety of your patients is not jeopardised.

Using your IELTS certificate

For the GMC to accept your IELTS certificate it must show:

  • that you took the academic version of the test
  • that you got a score of at least 7.0 in each testing area and an overall score of 7.5
  • that you got these scores in the same test
  • that you got these scores in your most recent sitting of the test
  • the original stamp and test report form number. 

If you wish to submit acceptable IELTS scores to book PLAB part 1, please login to your GMC online account and go to the My Tests section to enter them. Your scores will then be sent for verification, which could take up to two working days to complete. 

Using your OET certificate

For the GMC to accept your OET certificate it must show:

  • you took the medicine version of the test
  • you got at least a grade ‘B’ in each testing area (speaking, listening, reading and writing)
  • you got those grades in the same test
  • your candidate number
  • you obtained the grades in your most recent sitting of the test.

If you are applying for registration with a licence to practise through the sponsorship route, you must demonstrate your knowledge of English using either an acceptable OET or IELTS certificate.

Primary Medical Qualification

Is your primary medical qualification from an acceptable institution? Click the link here to see a list:

They may accept your primary medical qualification if it:

  • is less than two years old when you apply for registration, and
  • was taught and examined solely in English.

You'll need to email a letter or certificate from your university or medical college that confirms:

  • all of the course, including clinical activities, was taught and examined solely in English
  • at least 75% of any course related clinical interaction, including personal contact with patients, their families and other healthcare professionals, was conducted in English i.e. without any translation support 
  • the date you passed your final exam

Language Exemptions

The GMC may be able to accept confirmation from your employer if you're applying for registration. You must have worked in a medical capacity for at least the past two years, in a country where English is the first and native language. 

Please note that if you're applying to take the PLAB test or you are applying for registration on the basis of an offer of sponsorship, they won't accept confirmation from your employer as evidence of your knowledge of English.

Structured English Language Reference (SELR) Exemption

It is rare, but not impossible to get a language exemption via the SELRR route. During the SELR process the NHS Trust that is interviewing for NHS positions will be responsible to test the language abilities of the candidate.

How can we help?

If you are an international doctor who would like to relocate to the UK, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your journey to relocate to the UK.

Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs to the group each day. We will also be on hand to answer all of your relocation queries.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos covering everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS.

Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with IMG Advisor the Podcast! You can listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.


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