UK Nurse application process

UK Nurse application process

Applicants must submit their application to become registered nurses or midwives on NMC website. Please note, before deciding to apply, applicants should consider if they meet the general and specific requirements as described below.


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

Test of competence – part one

Once applicants have passed the eligibility assessment, they will be asked to sit the first part of the test of competence. This will be a computer-based test of theoretical practice-based knowledge. The test format will be multiple choice and can be taken in test centers around the world. Applicants have two attempts at the test. If an applicant fails to achieve the required minimum score after both attempts, they must wait six months in order to restart the application process.

The test provider, Pearson VUE, will administer their own test fee in agreement with us. Applicants will need to contact Pearson VUE directly to book and pay for their tests.

Try the Test.


Applicants will need to provide the following evidence in order for us to complete an assessment.

  • a valid passport – this same document must also be presented at the test center
  • birth certificate
  • a qualification certificate for each qualification being submitted as part of the application.
  • registration certificates from each jurisdiction where the applicant has practiced and/or been registered – in the applicant’s country operates state registration, they will need to have registered in each state where they practised.
  • Two employment references confirming the applicant’s post-registration practice of at least 12 months, their competence and character.
  • Verifications from all jurisdictions where the applicant practised or where the applicant has been previously registered.
  • Transcript of training for all relevant nursing or midwifery programmes completed by the applicant. These must be calculated in hours or be accompanied by a letter from the training institution with a key to how the credits translate to hours.
  • A good health declaration from the applicant’s general practitioner or the occupational health department at their place of work.
  • For every overseas country in which they have lived for more than three months, they will need to provide a police clearance certificate. If they have lived in the UK for more than three months, they will need to provide us with a standard level Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate.

All of the relevant forms required are available to download from our website once the applicant reaches the assessment stage, but not before. The applicant must send the relevant forms to the correct authorities to be completed and they must be posted back to us. We require the original forms that the referee or relevant body has completed. Uploads or copies of those forms cannot be accepted. All forms must be completed in full and be signed, stamped and dated.

Once all the evidence has been submitted, an assessment officer will review the full application to ensure that it meets the requirements for registration. Providing all documents are correct and the criteria are met, the application will be progressed to the next stage.

Where further information is required from the applicant and provided separately, a full new assessment and decision will be conducted. This allows the complete application to be reassessed in its entirety to ensure that all documents are consistent. Timescales of applications vary and some will take longer if the correct documents are not included with the initial application.

Test of competence – part two

The second part of the test of competence will assess an applicant’s clinical knowledge. The test is an objective-structured clinical examination (OSCE) and can only be completed in the UK. The test will be administered by one of our approved university test centres who will administer their own test fee in agreement with us. Applicants will need to contact the university directly to book and pay for their test.

The OSCE will simulate a clinical environment and patient scenarios which registered nurses and midwives are likely to encounter when they assess, plan, implement and evaluate care. The OSCE contains nursing or midwifery scenarios along with separate skill stations. Each separate clinical examination is known a ‘station’ and candidates will circulate through all the stations within a set timeframe.

Each of the six stations has standardised marking criteria against which all candidates are assessed. Candidates are assessed by a panel of examiners and will be filmed for quality assurance purposes.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate competence through safe and effective practice. The test of competence is based on current UK pre-registration standards.

Applicants who started their application before 6 April 2017 will have two attempts (an initial sitting and a full or partial re-sit) at the OSCE as part of one application.

If an applicant is unsuccessful following their second attempt their application will close. They will be required to submit a new application but will not be able to sit the OSCE again for a minimum of six months.

Applicants applying from 6 April 2017 will have three attempts (an initial sitting, and two full or partial re-sits) at the OSCE, as part of one application.

If an applicant is unsuccessful at their first OSCE, they must wait a minimum of 10 working days before they can take the examination again.

If an applicant is unsuccessful at their second OSCE, they must wait a minimum of three months from the date of their second attempt before they can take the OSCE for the third time.

If the applicant is unsuccessful after their permitted attempts, their application will close. They will be required to submit a new application but will not be able to sit the OSCE again for a minimum of six months.

ID check

A face-to-face ID check will take place at the OSCE location on the same day as the OSCE. Applicants will be required to bring all the original documents that they have uploaded as supporting evidence for their application. If applicants cannot produce the documents required, they will have to rebook an ID check at our London office before they can complete the last stage of the process and receive their registration number.

Final registration

Once we have received notification that an applicant has successfully completed part two of the test of competence and the ID check, they will be invited to complete their final declaration and payment for registration online. Once both have been received, we will send the applicant their registration number (Pin).

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