Information for overseas dentists
If you're looking for information about becoming a dentist in the UK, you’ve come to the right place.
This page describes what you need to know, depending on where you’ve trained, and signposts you to further information.
The General Dental Council (GDC) is the organisation that regulates dental professionals in the UK. All dentists and dental care professionals must be registered with the GDC and licensed to work in the UK.
Temporary registration allows dentists who are not eligible for full registration to practise dentistry in the UK in supervised posts for training, teaching, or research purposes only for a limited period. Temporary registration will not allow dentists to work in general or private practice, or in community dental services.
An overseas qualified dentist can apply for temporary registration in specific approved posts if they hold a dental qualification from a university which is recognised by NARIC UK for the purposes of temporary registration and the overseas registration examination (ORE).
Temporary registration is granted for a minimum of 84 days and a maximum of 365 days at a time and may be renewed by means of application, for up to a maximum of 1826 days (5 years).
Non-European Economic Area nationals
Dentists from outside the EEA whose qualifications are not recognised for full registration with the GDC need to take the overseas registration examination (ORE). For information on the qualifications recognised for full registration, dentists should contact the GDC.
The ORE tests the clinical skills and knowledge of dentists from outside the EEA whose qualifications are not recognised for full registration with the GDC. The examination is based on the UK dental curriculum and uses modern assessment methods to ensure a robust and consistent examination. Dentists who pass this examination become eligible to apply for full registration to practise in the UK. All applicants need to demonstrate that they have an appropriate level of English language competence before they can sit the ORE and are required to demonstrate their linguistic competence by sitting the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
Dentists who complete the ORE examination may be required to do up to a year's vocational training (VT) in order to work for the NHS. Success in the exam is not a guarantee of employment or a VT place.
To work in general dental practice (primary care) undertaking NHS work, dentists need to have their names on the NHS Performers list held by NHS England. Find out more information about the performers list on the NHS England website.
The right to work in the UK
Registration with an appropriate regulatory authority does not give you the right to work in the UK.
If you are not a UK/EEA national, you will need to meet the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration regulations to gain the right to enter and work in UK.
European Economic Area nationals
Dentists from the EEA, with a primary qualification specified in the relevant EC Directive are able to register with the General Dental Council and practise in the UK on the basis of that qualification. All dentists who qualified outside the UK, must confirm the status of their registration and the documentation required for registration, with the GDC before they travel to the UK.
In certain circumstances, dental professionals who are non-EEA nationals but are family members of EEA nationals, are entitled to be treated as an EEA national for registration purposes. Non-EEA nationals must provide certain documents to prove this entitlement. The main conditions under which this condition applies are as follows:
- the non-EEA national must be the family member of an EEA national (other than a UK national)
- the EEA national is moving to work or reside in the UK and their family member is accompanying them