Medical Regulation Authorities

Most countries have their own national regulatory authority & register of medical practitioners. In order to gain professional registration in your chosen destination, you will most often require to provide evidence of good standing from your current one, and in some circumstances, from other countries where you have worked during your career.

thumbimage (2)In the UK, the General Medical Council (GMC) will provide a letter or Certificate of Good Standing to the relevant country which can either be sent digitally or by post. You can access this online if you are registered with their services.

Whether you choose to maintain your registration whilst working abroad, is entirely at your discretion, but take into account these key questions:

  1. Am I likely to return home and practice within 2 years?

If the answer is ‘no’, then maintaining your registration is unlikely to be of any benefit.

  1. How much are the annual registration fees in my home country?

In the UK, as of 01/04/2014, annual registration fees are £390 for full registration with a license to practice and £140 for registration without a licence. The latter does not require doctors to undergo revalidation processes. Restoration fee to full licensing is £300.

  1. How much are my application and registration fees in my new country?

Calculate how much it will cost to maintain your registration in your current and new country, and if you need to budget accordingly.

  1. What process is required for returning to my home country after a period of time away?

Depending on the duration of your time away from local practice and/or registration, you may have to satisfy certain requirements before you can recommence your registration / licence to practice. Advised to check with your regulatory body. See below for specific details for the GMC in the UK.


With the additional complexities of holding a registration and a license to practice, there are a few options available to you when deciding to relinquish your GMC membership. Here are the key points;

  • If you relinquish your license to practice you will still hold a registration, hence will pay a reduced annual retention fee. You will not be able to prescribe.
  • If you relinquish your registration, this will include your license and is the same as voluntary erasure from the medical register. You will not have to pay an annual retention fee.
Removal of License to practice Removal of Registration AND License to practice (voluntary erasure)
Annual retention fee Reduced None
Provision of Certificate of good standing Yes Only for the period of time you were registered.
Appearance on Online register Registered without license to practice Not registered- having relinquished registration
Application for restoration


Certificate of Good Standing

Proof of Identity +/- identity check

Provision of medical services statement

Payment of full annual retention fee when granted


Certificate of Good Standing

Proof of Identity +/- identity check

Statements from recent employers

Restoration Fee None none*
Revalidation Not required May be required

*If you did not apply for erasure and allowed your registration to lapse (ie. failed to pay the annual retention fee or changed address) you will be charged a restoration fee.

You can apply up to 3 months in advance for removal from the register.

As you’ve witnessed, restoration in both circumstances requires paperwork and time. If you are planning a limited time period away from the UK, it would perhaps be recommended to maintain both your registration and license with the GMC.