Registration for overseas nurses

​Registration for overseas nurses

By Luke Aldred

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has announced it will now accept results from the Occupational English Test (OET) on the computer at test venues and OET@Home, the OET’S new computer-based English language test, which can be taken from home. For more information, visit

We’re thrilled that you’re considering a move to the UK! If you are in search of a little more information, you’ve come to the right place! We are on-hand to make this process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

How do you know if you’re eligible? What tests do you need to pass? How much does it cost? The following process details everything you need to know if you trained outside the EU/EEA.

Why is professional registration so important?

You may have already heard of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC); they are the professional regulator for nurses and midwives in the UK and are responsible for upholding standards of practice. You will need a valid NMC registration in order to work in either of these roles.

What requirements are needed to join the NMC register?

They have recently changed their requirements making it easier for overseas applicants to join the register; you can now apply immediately after qualifying! Qualifications need to match the UK equivalent so to give you an idea, for nursing roles, your training should be at least a UK Level 1.

“In the UK, a Level 1 nurse is a nurse who has completed a three-year programme of education leading to a nursing qualification and an academic qualification (a degree or diploma).” - NMC

You will be tested on your English language skills with either an International English Language Test System (IELTS) or Occupational English Test (OET). There are set scores or grades you are required to achieve, which are outlined on the NMC website.

The application process

If you’re confident with the points mentioned above, how do you begin the application process?

  • Self-assessment. The first stage is an online self-assessment of your eligibility. 

  • Test of competence part 1. Once you have passed the eligibility assessment, you’ll sit a multiple choice computer-based test (CBT) which will look at your theoretical knowledge. If you don’t pass first time, don’t worry! You can sit this, and the OSCE, up to three times before your application is closed.

  • Test of competence part 2. The objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) is a test of your clinical knowledge and can only be completed here in the UK. The test simulates a clinical environment and acts out the scenarios which nurses are likely to encounter. The OSCE can be sat at the approved centres; University of Northampton, Oxford Brookes University and Ulster University.

  • ID Check and final registration. You will need to bring all your original supporting documentation with you to the OSCE test as you will also attend an identification check. Once this is complete, you will sign a final declaration and receive your NMC pin number upon final payment.

How Sanctuary can help you

Our international consultants will offer you support and guidance throughout the entire process – from advising on visa applications and professional registration enquiries right through to helping you to find the perfect place to live.

To find out more about the application process, please get in touch!