The National Advice Centre for Postgraduate Dental Education (NACPDE) provides information for qualified dentists about:
- working in the UK;
- general or specialist training;
- and studying for a postgraduate degree or diploma in the UK.
Immigration regulations for the UK
Further information for:
- Overseas-qualified dentists
- European Economic Area (EEA)-qualified dentists
- VT by Equivalence for dentists graduating outside EEA with full GDC registration
- Dental schools and universities offering postgraduate degrees and diplomas in dentistry
- MJDF examination
Arranging an Appointment
Overseas or EEA-qualified dentists wishing to obtain careers advice for working in the UK may make an appointment to meet the postgraduate advisor in London. Interviews can only be arranged by appointment.
Once your appointment has been confirmed, please bring with you the following documents:
- Passport/photocopy of passport
- GDC correspondence
- Copies of results of exams taken
- Degree certificates
You will need to complete the form below and send it via email to the NACPDE before you arrange an appointment.
Please complete all parts of the form and email it to email@example.com
On receipt of the completed form, the NACPDE will contact the dentist to arrange an appointment.
If you are planning to come to the UK it is important to plan ahead to avoid any unnecessary disappointments.
Firstly it is important that you know what you want to do in the UK.
For all purposes you will need to check that you have the correct entry information or immigration requirements.
If you are planning to register and work as a dentist in the UK you will need to contact the General Dental Council (GDC) for advice about registration. You may be required to pass an English language test, the IELTS, before you can enter for the overseas registration examination or LDS. The IELTS can be taken in many countries and it can save time if you already have the required results for this test before you come to the UK.
If you want to study for a higher university degree in the UK, you will have to contact the individual universities for information about course content, duration of study, whether the course is full-time, part-time or if distance learning is an option. Each university has its own fee structure and you will need to contact the university directly about this.
Should you wish to find out more information on exams which are held at the various Royal College of Surgeons throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please view the following links:
- Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
- Royal College of Surgeons of England
- Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Once you have read through this website, should you feel you still have unanswered questions, please contact the NACPDE office to arrange an appointment.
Other useful documents and publications
Studying and living in Britain
This book is published by the British Council and updated each year.
This guide to overseas students and visitors provides international students and visitors with basic information on immigration, customs, accommodation, medical treatment, public services and many other aspects of life in Britain.
Postgraduate dental deaneries
In the UK postgraduate clinical training is provided and co-ordinated by postgraduate dental deans. The UK is divided up into different regions, each with a postgraduate dean.
Find out more about postgraduate deaneries and contact details.
Please note these examinations are not the same as specialty membership examinations.
Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties. The Exam is set at the standard of a dental graduate who has completed a two year foundation programme after graduating as a dentist.
Held by the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK). The syllabus for the MJDF is defined in A Curriculum for UK Dental Foundation Training.
The exam consists of:
- Part 1 may be taken during the first year after graduation and will be in the form of a written paper containing multiple choice questions (MCQs) and multiple short answer questions.
- Part 2 during the second year is in the form of an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) and structured clinical reasoning (SCR) exercise.
There is no requirement for a period of training in an approved post.
Diploma of Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery. Held jointly by the RCS Edinburgh and Royal College of Physiciains and Surgeons of Glasgow. The exam is set at the standard of a dental graduate who has completed a two year foundation programme.
The exam consists of:
- Part 1 consists of multiple choice questions (single best answer and case cluster type).
- Part 2 consists of an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).
Information about Dental Foundation Equivalence in England
Many overseas dentists who require a visa to enter the UK will have a stamp on their passport stating, "No recourse to doctor or dentist training". An overseas dentist who has this stamped on their visa can enter the UK but cannot apply for, or be appointed to, any training posts. This includes all hospital training posts and also Foundation Training (FT), formerly Vocational Training (VT). This regulation must be adhered to even if the overseas dentist has passed the ORE or LDS and has full registration with the GDC.
Overseas trained dentists who have "no recourse to doctor or dentist training" stamped on their visa and have full registration with the GDC and have the correct visa to work in the UK and who have had clinical experience in their home countries could (if successful at interview by the practice) be considered for a programme of supervised employment in an NHS dental practice followed by assessment of competencies by their post graduate dean. The clinical experience from their CV/log books from their home countries and competencies evidenced in portfolios compiled whilst working in the UK would then be considered and assessed by the postgraduate dean as FT equivalence. Foundation training in the UK is required to be 12 months full time duration, supervised by an approved trainer. Training by equivalence may be shorter because the overseas dentist already has some clinical experience.
The pathway of FT equivalence or FT should be seen as a route for experienced overseas clinicians who have passed ORE or LDS and need possibly some further clinical training in a UK general practice environment and assistance before working in the NHS.
Clinical experience gained overseas should be well documented to enable equivalence to be established and allow the postgraduate dean to design an appropriate programme for the overseas dentist to work in NHS general practice dentistry in the UK. Please remember that in the EEA the undergraduate dentistry course is five years. Candidates should be advised to read the PDF paper by Professor Alison Bullock on the COPDEND website for recommendations of the process. The appendices in this document contain information which would be useful for applicants.
The Royal College of Surgeons of England
35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London WC2A 3PE
Please remember to include your full postal address when writing to us.
Our telephone enquiry service is available between Monday and Friday from 10am until 4pm.
Tel: 020 7869 6804
Fax: 020 7869 6816