Local and national restrictions
We’re aware of a number of local and national restrictions across the UK, however all three objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) test centres still remain open during this time.
Check our Covid-19: OSCE page for more information.
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. We have put measures in place to make sure candidates and staff are safe, which are kept under constant review.
Check our Covid-19: OSCE page for more information.
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.
Change to CBT validity periods
As the pandemic continues in 2021, we're automatically extending the validity of CBT results due to expire between 1 March and 31 August 2021 by six months.
You don't need to contact us to have this change applied to your application - we're updating this for you.
If we already automatically extended your CBT results validity period in 2020, this won't be extended again.
If your CBT results expired between 1 January and 28 February 2021, you can contact us to request an extension if you need it.
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 pandemic.
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 be close to expiry because of the impact of the pandemic on their application.
We've introduced 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:
- Your valid English language evidence expires between 24 March 2020 and 21 August 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.
After careful consideration we’ve decided not to extend the eligibility period of this temporary measure beyond 21 August 2021 as there are no longer delays in processing applications and taking an OSCE.
If your application was affected by the previous NHS England temporary ban on deployment of nurses from India and your English language is near to expiry, we’ll consider this on a case by case basis.
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.
If your language test expired on 31 January 2021 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 31 July 2021 or you may be asked to provide another language test.
If the temporary measure applies to you please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org 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're accepting the OET@Home test as evidence of English language competency from 10 October 2020.
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.
We're also accepting the new OET on computer test from 19 September 2020.
For more information, please visit the OET website.
UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) implications
UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have made some announcements on changes to UK immigration and borders due to coronavirus:
- News: Visas extended for thousands of frontline health and care workers (9 April 2021)
- News: NHS frontline workers visas extended so they can focus on fighting coronavirus (31 March 2020)
For the latest information, please visit the UKVI website.