Information for those wanting to work in the UK as a nurse

Anyone who wants to work in the UK as a nurse must first register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is the regulatory body for Nurses and Midwives in the UK. Anybody who wishes to practice and a Nurse or Midwife in the UK must first register with the NMC and hold a valid working visa.

You should start by reading the official guidance on joining the NMC register and information on applying for a UK working visa


All Nurses applying for NMC registration must meet the standards of the NMC before they can be considered for registration. The guidance remains for the same for those working both within the National Health Service (NHS) and with a private organisation.

Nurses trained outside the UK and EEA

Nurses who trained outside the UK and European Economic Are (EEA) can registered with the NMC, providing they meet its standards. The NMC will compare the training in your country with that required in the UK.

The requirements for registration are different for nurses who trained in the UK and EEA to those who trained outside the UK and EEA.

Process for nurses educated from outside the EEA

Since October 2014, the only route to registration for all nurses trained outside the UK and EEA with the NMC is through a 2-part application process.

  • Part one – a computer based multiple-choice examination which will be accessible in many countries around the world for applicants to access in their home countries.
  • Part two – a practical objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) which will always be held in the UK.

This process does not require applicants to complete a period of supervised practice.

EEA nationals who have trained outside the EEA will not be eligible for automatic recognition of their qualification under the EU Directives as they have not trained within an EU member state.

All applications must include evidence of completion of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. You must complete the academic version of the IELTS test and achieve:

  • at least 7.0 in the listening and reading section 1
  • at least 7.0 in the writing and speaking sections
  • an overall average score of 7 (out of a possible 9)

The NMC will not consider applicants who score lower than this standard.

Overseas-trained nurses holding EC Treaty Rights who have had their qualification recognised in another EU member state and have practised in the EU/EEA for three years, will continue to be processed through the EU route.

Nurses trained in the EEA

The NMC will compare the training in your country with that required in the UK.

Following the recognition of qualification, and before entry to the register, all applicants are required to supply evidence that they have the necessary knowledge of English.

Nurses who trained in the EEA who are not EEA nationals may be required to undertake one or both parts of the application process above.