Practice Nursing in the UK : The Registration Process

Table of Contents

Overseas-trained nurses or midwives wishing to work in the UK must apply for registration as a nurse or midwife at the Nursing Midwifery Council. NMC (Nursing Midwifery Council) is the regulatory body for nurses and midwives in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. It sets the standards for nurses and midwives, as well as a code of conduct that states how nurses and midwives must work and adhere to policies. NMC is governed by its own council. It complies with the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 and Charities Act 1993.

The Language Requirements

Applicants must be able to show that they can communicate clearly and effectively in English. They must complete the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and achieve a minimum score of at least 7 overall, and not less than 6.5 in any module. However, nurses are allowed to attempt the IELTS twice within 6 months of each other to meet this criteria.


1. There are no exceptions to this requirement, even if English is the applicant’s first language.

2. IELTS test results that are two or more years old are not accepted.

The Application Process


Applicants must complete a self-assessment of their eligibility to apply prior to the application process. They should meet all of the minimum requirements including good health and good character. If an applicant confirms the declarations and cannot provide evidence at the assessment stage, their application will not be progressed and the assessment fee will not be refunded.

Test of Competence – Part One

This test is a computer-based test of theoretical practice-based knowledge. It is a multiple choice test format. It can be taken in test centers around the world. The applicant has two attempts at the test. If an applicant fails to achieve the required minimum score after both attempts, they must wait six months to restart the application process. Applicants will need to contact Pearson VUE directly to book and pay for their test.

Test of Competence – Part Two

The second part of the competence test assesses the applicant’s clinical knowledge. This test is an objective-structured clinical examination (OSCE) and can only be completed in the UK. The test is administered by the University of Northampton. The University administers a test fee in agreement with the NMC.

ID Check

The next step is getting the applicant’s face-to-face ID checked. Applicants are required to bring all of their original uploaded documents as supporting evidence for their application. The ID check takes place at the OSCE location.

Final Registration

In the final registration, after the applicant has successfully completed part two of the competency test and the ID check, they are invited to complete their final declaration and payment for registration online. Once both are received, NMC sends the applicant their registration number (Pin).

Paying the Fee

Different levels of the application process require different fees –

  • Application for nursing/midwifery £140
  • Part 1 test of competence (CBT) £130
  • Part 2 test of competence (OSCE) £992
  • Admission onto our register £153

Total fee equals £1415

In addition to this, there is an annual registration fee of £120.
In its NURSES4UK initiative, INSCOL aims to connect nurses with employers who bear most of the cost of registration.

Payment of the fees can be done via the following –

  • NMC Online
  • Direct debit
  • Online Payment
  • Cheque or banker’s draft
  • Telephone

Benefits to Nurses

After registration, nurses can work in the National Health Service (NHS) or any private healthcare organization. To work as a nurse or midwife in the UK, all international applicants must meet immigration guidelines. Immigration in the UK is handled by UK Visas and Immigration.

All nurses and midwives registered with NMC are required to practice in accordance with the rules and standards of NMC, including The Code: Standards of conduct, and performance and ethics for nurses and midwives. For more details, visit

If you are a nurse and want to practice in the UK, you can participate in the Nursing Programs in London offered by INSCOL.

Author – Reeva Paul


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