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GMC registration - STEP 3 - Evidence of your knowledge of English

Updated: Jun 9, 2021

When you apply for registration with a license to practice the GMC needs proof that you have the necessary knowledge of English to practise safely in the UK.

This does not apply if you are a national of a country where English is the first and native language and you were awarded your primary medical degree from a country where English is the first and native language.

Our post will provide you with all the necessary information on the different ways you can demonstrate your knowledge of English if you are applying to sit the PLAB test or an IMG applying for GMC registration:

  • taking the IELTS or OET exams

  • providing a reference letter from your employer

  • using your UK job offer

Taking the IELTS or OET exam

For the GMC to accept your IELTS or OET, your certificates must meet the following criteria:

  • IELTS (Academic version) - minimum 7.0 in all elements, the overall score of 7.5

  • OET (Medicine version) - Grade B or above in all elements

  • IELTS or OET must be less than 2 years old

  • the minimum score must be achieved in one sitting

IELTS and OET certificates are valid for 2 years only. If you are taking the PLAB test, your certificate must be valid on the day you sit the PLAB part 1 exam. If you are applying for registration with a license to practice, it must be valid when the GMC approves your application.

If you are preparing for your IELTS or OET exam, we have an extremely helpful 2-hour FREE recording from our recent master class on tips to pass your OET and IELTS writing exams the first time. The recording is available for you on our website

What if my IELTS/OET certificate is older than 2 years?

If your IELTS or OET certificate is more than 2 years old you can provide alternative evidence to prove that you have kept your English skills up to date:

- a recent PLAB 2 pass,


- a reference from a tutor or lecturer of a postgraduate course with at least three months of full-time study,


- a reference letter from an employer who is based in a country where English is the first and native language (employment should be within the last two years),


- evidence of a language test you have passed for registration with a medical regulatory authority in a country where English is the first and native language (the test must be less than 2 years old)

Read more about the documents you may need to provide here.

A recent PLAB 2 pass

On 8th June 2021, the GMC announced that until March 2023 they will accept a recent PLAB 2 pass at registration as evidence that an IMG doctor maintained English language skills up to date. To be eligible for this when you apply for registration you must have:

  • passed PLAB 2 less than 3 months before you apply for GMC registration.

  • achieved the minimum scores in IELTS/OET less than 3 years ago.

Providing a reference from your employer

As an alternative to the IELTS/ OET certificates, you can provide a reference from your employer if you have had continuous practice in a country where English is the first and native language during the last two years immediately preceding the application. If you would like to know more on how to submit your employer's confirmation, please read the GMC guide here.

Using your UK job offer

As another alternative, the GMC may be able to accept an offer of employment as proof of your English proficiency. If you are applying to take the PLAB test or applying for registration with an offer of sponsorship, you cannot use your offer of employment to demonstrate your knowledge of English. You can only use your offer of employment as evidence of your knowledge of English if it is from a UK healthcare organisation. This organisation must be a designated body. Your UK employer should email GMC a completed English language reference form from the doctor who appointed you. It should meet all of the criteria as documented in the form guide.

Please keep in mind that alternative evidence, such as a reference from your employer and your UK job offer, is not accepted if you have previously sat and failed a language test.

IELTS and OET validity due to COVID-19

The GMC will consider the date your IELTS expired and when you passed PLAB, and any other evidence of English you provide when you apply for registration. If your certificate expired because of the COVID pandemic, please read a detailed guide from the GMC on what to do here.

Having questions?

1. You can always ask our friendly team members, mentors and senior IMGs for advice here. Our guidance is free.

2. We encourage you to watch the Q&A session from a 1-hour interactive and engaging webinar with the GMC on the GMC registration process.

3. Read the full guide from the GMC here.

In our next posts, we will provide full guidance on how you can demonstrate your medical knowledge and skills in order to get GMC registration.


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