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Information for overseas candidates
Coronavirus (Covid-19): Information and advice

We recognise that the UK health and social care system relies on the excellent care given by professionals from other countries. We’re doing everything we can to support overseas candidates with their registration. This page explains some recent changes. We will continue to update this page with the latest information.
All three OSCE test centres in the UK reopened on Monday 20 July 2020. They have put measures in place to make sure candidates and staff are safe which are kept under constant review. Find out more about taking the OSCE during this time.
The computer based test (CBT) is operated by our partner, Pearson Vue. Pearson Vue’s international test centre availability depends on location and national government restrictions and may be limited due to social distancing precautions. Check the Pearson Vue website for more information on their availability in your country.
Supporting your application
English language
Effective communication skills are essential to providing safe and effective care, so we need to be assured that those applying for registration or readmission to our register have the necessary knowledge of English. We accept a number of types of evidence as outlined on our English language guidance page. While the standard of English language competence we expect hasn’t changed, we want to support candidates whose applications have been delayed because of the OSCE centre closures.
Validity period for English language evidence
We understand that some candidates’ English language test scores or recent practice in a majority English-speaking country may have expired while our OSCE centres were closed, or may now be close to expiry. We’re introducing a temporary measure to allow candidates to provide additional evidence to demonstrate that they have maintained their English language since the expiry of their English language test or their recent practice in a majority English speaking country. This temporary measure will only apply to you if:
You had valid English language evidence on 23 March 2020 – this could either be an accepted English language required test score* or evidence of one year’s practice in an English language majority country no more than two years old
Your valid English language evidence expired between 24 March 2020 and 20 January 2021 (inclusive)
Since your English language evidence expired, you have been living in the UK or another majority English speaking country; and
You can demonstrate that since your English language evidence expired you have been working in a healthcare setting in the UK or in registered practice in a majority English speaking country.
* We accept two language tests as evidence of your ability to communicate effectively in English: the International English Language Test System (IELTS) and the Occupational English Test (OET).
Additional evidence you can provide
If the above applies to you, you may provide additional evidence to show that you have been working and using your English in a clinical setting in the UK or in registered practice in a majority English speaking country. This evidence must cover the period between the expiry of your English language test or recent practice and the date of your completed application and this period must not be more than six months.
For example: If your language test expired on 30 June 2020 and you have been and will continue to be working in a healthcare setting in the UK since this date, you will be able to provide additional evidence in support of your application. You’ll need to have make sure you complete your application by 30 December 2020 or you may be asked to provide another language test.
If the temporary measure applies to you please contact us via so that we can send you an employer reference form. Your employer will need to complete this form to confirm that this practice was undertaken in English. The form should be completed by a senior NMC registrant if you are working in a healthcare setting in the UK, or by someone in a comparable position if you have been working in a majority speaking English country.
If you are in a non-majority English speaking country
We recognise it may be difficult to provide this additional evidence if you are in a non-majority English speaking country, and therefore recommend you complete a further IELTS or OET. If you’ve already submitted your health, character and language evidence to us, you can send us your new test results via email and we will attach them to your application. If your test results have expired, but you decide not to take a further IELTS or OET, we will consider any additional evidence you provide in accordance with paragraph 16 of our English language guidance. It will need to show that your language has not deteriorated between the expiry date of your previous successful test result and your completed application. If we decide that your additional evidence does not meet the criteria outlined in paragraph 16, we ask you to complete an English language test. You can appeal this decision within 28 days of our decision.
Online language tests
After careful consideration we have decided that we are not able to accept the IELTS indicator test at this time. This is because the security measures for the indicator test are not comparable to those in place for the face-to-face test and do not meet the standards we require for registration. We accept both the paper based and computer based IELTS Academic test delivered at a test centre.
Following a successful pilot from OET, we will be accepting the OET@Home test as evidence of English language competency from 10 October. The OET@Home test allows candidates to take the OET on their computer at home instead of having to travel to a test centre. It uses the same test material, format, tasks and activities as the test venue centres. From 19 September, we’ll also accept the new OET on computer test, which allows candidates to take the OET on a computer at a test centre instead of a paper test. For more information about the OET, please visit the OET website.
Change to CBT validity period
So you have time to complete your OSCE, we are extending the validity period of CBT results expiring between 1 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 by six months. You don’t need to do anything or contact us to have this change applied to your application, we’re updating this for you. If you have any other questions about your application, please contact us.
UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) implications
On 31 March 2020, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) announced that they will extend some visas until the end of the year. On the 14 July UKVI published details about how to apply for a Tier 2 skilled worker visa or extend a current visa from 4 August onwards. UKVI also announced the Immigration Health Surcharge exemption and other changes to the fee structure for visas. For more information on changes to UK immigration and borders due to coronavirus, please visit the UKVI website.