Nurse in the UK: The Requirements

By Sue Heacock on Tue, Jul 12, 2011

Are you from a non European Union country and are interested in living and working as a nurse in the United Kingdom?  Below is information on the Nursing and Midwifery Council application process, the Overseas Nursing Program, the International English Language Test and links to information for obtaining your work permit or visa.

Nursing and Midwifery Council Application Process

In order to practice as a nurse in the United Kingdom, you must register with the regulatory body, Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).  When you apply, you must have been practicing as a nurse or midwife for at least one year.  If you have been qualified longer than this, you must have practiced for at least 450 hours in the last 3 years.

The NMC charges £140 to process applications and then once you have been accepted to the register, you will be required to pay a registration fee of £162 that is valid for three years. 

Note: The assessment process can take up to six months, so apply well in advance of your planned departure for the UK.

Contact the NMC to obtain an application packet:

Nursing & Midwifery Council

Overseas Registration

23 Portland Place

London W1B 1PZ Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7333 6600 Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7636 6935

E-mail address for overseas registration:


Request for NMC Overseas Application Forms 

Note: Before applying to work in the UK, it is highly recommended that you download the booklets produced by the NMC website:

Registering as a nurse or midwife in the UK [PDF]
This document outlines the registration criteria for applicants from outside the EU.

Additional information on applying to register as an adult or general nurse

Standards of proficiency for pre-registration nursing education [PDF]
Standards and guidance for pre-registration nursing education

Overseas Nursing Program (ONP):

If your application meets the NMC’s minimum standards and you were trained outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), you will be required to undertake the Overseas Nurses Programme (ONP) before your registration can be completed.  The program consists of 20 days of learning and assesses your ability to practice as a nurse in the UK.  Topics that will be covered include UK law, health and safety issues, record-keeping, drugs administration and NMC Code of Conduct.

Note: The NMC strongly recommends that you secure your place on an ONP before traveling to the UK.

Find an Approved Educational Institution (AEI) offering the Overseas Nurses Programme.

International English Language Test (IELTS):

If you are from a non-EU country, you will also have to take the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam before starting the NMC application process.  This exam is fairly easy if you are from an English speaking country.  You can visit the British Council website to find out where to take the exam in your home county. 

Work Permits and Visas:

Registering with the NHS allows you to practice as a nurse, however, you must still have a valid work permit or visa when you enter the UK. 

In order to obtain a UK work permit, you will need to be sponsored by a hospital, private clinic or company.  Nurses are on the list of industries experiencing a shortage of qualified personnel and so sponsorship by a UK employer is very likely.

For information on immigration, visit RCN Immigration Advice Service or UK Visa Info.

Links to Useful Sites:

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Royal College of Nursing


Department of Health

Have you worked as a nurse in the United Kingdom?  Please leave us a comment sharing your experiences. 

(Information for this article was derived from:,,,

NurseTogether Staff








Taulant Dosti 3 weeks ago
hi to everybody....I need your help please. I want to know one thing, I'm albanian and have study for nursing in italy where I work from more than 3 years in palliative care. If I want to join the nmc which form I can apply?! Nurses trained in europe or outside europe. In Italy I have a regular permit of stay whithout expire....Thank you

Nancy John 1 month ago
TOEFL is a language test generally taken by those students who want to take admission in any foreign universities. The test score works as a proof of their language proficiency and knowledge.

Shan Rose 4 months ago
It gives a result which does not show a pass/fail according to a certain standard, but rather shows your current level in different areas

Maria Smith 8 months ago
A high score represents a high level of proficiency; a low score shows a lower level.IELTS is an exam designed for people of any level to take.

princess casar 1 year ago
expensive =(

dorothy drummond 1 year ago
when I was working in the uk the experience was very good my co-workers were very helpful and they gave me the support i need leaving the uk to work in another country when i compare the experiences uk is the best