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UK Entry Requirements

Information from the Home Office on immigration for dentists

It is important to study the entire relevant information well in advance before planning to come to the UK. This is to avoid disappointment and frustration and avoid a waste of time and money. All persons entering the UK must have a passport or other travel documents valid within UK. In addition a visa may be required. Advice on this can be obtained from British embassies, high commissions and consulates overseas. The fact that a dentist has gained the right to enter to the UK does not override the legal requirements that any dentist practicing in the UK must hold appropriate registration with the General Dental Council (GDC). Likewise, registration with the GDC or eligibility to apply for registration does not itself convey a right to entry to the UK, or the right to work in the UK. Always look at the UK Visas & Immigration website for up to date information. Do not rely on advice from well-meaning friends, relatives or colleagues as their information may be out of date. The employment situation for dentists is continually changing so do not assume that it will be easy to find employment or training posts in the UK even if you have passed a UK registration examination.  Please also note that some visas have restrictions to working in a training post in the UK.

UK Entry Requirements


UK Visas & Immigration has been piloting the pre-migration screening of persons applying for long-term visas and entry clearance from high incidence TB countries on a model routinely employed by the US, Australia and Canada. Screening overseas in advance of the visa application process enables the use of laboratory tests where x-rays or clinical judgement suggests the possible presence of TB. It also increases the possibility of detecting and intercepting drug and multi-drug resistant forms of the disease. Where individuals are found to have active pulmonary TB, they may successfully undergo treatment before their application to come to the UK can be considered. This approach is already sanctioned by existing powers in the immigration rules. The UKBA has introduced new measures for migrants wanting to enter the UK for more than six months, from 67 countries with a high incidence of TB. Migrants will need to be screened in their home country before they are granted a visa for the UK.

Pre-entry screening, followed by treatment where necessary, will help to prevent the risk of TB in the UK. The introduction of pre-screening comes as recent figures showed that there were over 9,000 new cases of TB in the UK in 2011, a 5% increase on 2010. The programme is targeted at migrants after research showed non-UK born people accounted for three quarters of all new TB cases diagnosed - 20 times higher than in the UK born population.

UK Visas & Immigration will build on existing pre-screening undertaken by international partners including the US, Canada and Australia. The costs of screening and subsequent treatment will be met by those people applying to come into the UK.

The current UK pre-migration TB screening programme covers 15 countries considered to have high incidence of TB by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and has demonstrated clear potential to detect active TB. The UKBA intends to expand this programme to those visa applicants applying to stay in the UK for longer than six months from the over 80 countries with a high incidence of TB, beginning the roll-out during the summer of 2012.

Countries currently covered by pre-screening pilot
Bangladesh Ghana Somalia
Burkina Faso Kenya Sudan
Cambodia Laos Tanzania
Cote D'Ivoire Niger Thailand
Eritrea Pakistan Togo
Countries with a high incidence of Tuberculosis
Afghanistan Guinea-Bissau Nepal
Angola Guyana Nigeria
Bhutan Haiti Papua New Guinea
Bolivia India Peru
Botswana Indonesia Philippines
Burma Kazakhstan Russian Federation
Burundi Kiribati Rwanda
Cameroon The Democratic People's Republic of Korea Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe
Cape Verdi Republic of Korea Senegal
Central African Republic Kyrgyzstan Sierra Leone
Chad Lesotho Solomon Islands
China Liberia South Africa
China, Hong Kong SAR Madagascar Suriname
China, Macau Malawi Swaziland
Congo Malaysia Tajikistan
Zaire Mali Timor-Leste
Djibouti Mauritania Tuvalu
Ecuador Micronesia Uganda
Equatorial Guinea Moldova Ukraine
Ethiopia Mongolia Uzbekistan
Gabon Morocco Vietnam
Gambia Mozambique Zambia
Guinea Namibia Zimbabwe

Changes to the Immigration laws to the UK

On the 29 February 2008, a new immigration system was launched. The new points system combines pre-existing work and study routes into the UK into 5 Tiers. Points are awarded on workers' skills to reflect aptitude, age, experience ability to support themselves and also the demand for these skills in any given sector.

The five tiers are:

Tier 1

The tier 1 (general) category allows highly skilled people to look for work or self-employment opportunities in the UK. If you are not in the UK this category is now closed.

  • Tier 1(exceptional talent)-for internationally recognised as world leaders in the fields of science and arts. See UK BA Guidance before applying.
  • Tier 1 (post study work) closed from 6th April 2012. You can apply for leave to remain in the UK under other immigration routes.
  • Tier 1 (entrepreneur) - for migrants who want to invest in the UK by setting up or taking over and actively involved in the running of a business. See UKBA policy before applying.
  • Tier 1 (investor)- For individuals who want to make a substantial financial investment in the UK

Tier 1 (graduate entrepreneur)-allows non-european MBA and other graduates to extend their stay after graduation to establish one or more businesses in the UK. See policy guidance before applying.

HSMP, Post study work, fresh talent working in Scotland and International Graduates Scheme are all closed.

If you do have a Tier 1 visa but that visa states that you cannot work in any doctor or dentist training posts, then you are not eligible to apply for any training post for example: senior house officer, dental foundation, vocational trainee, core dental trainee or specialist registrar posts in the UK.

Tier 2 (General)

Skilled workers with a job offer to fill gaps in the United Kingdom labour force. It is an employer led system which allows UK employers to recruit individuals from outside the UK and European Economic Area (EEA) to fill vacancies that cannot be filled by an EEA worker. The resident labour market test must be applied for each post. On the 19 July 2010 an interim limit was applied to some tier 2 applications. Please see the UK Visas & Immigration website for further details.

Please note, if you have entered the UK as the spouse of a tier 2 worker, you may also have restrictions on your visa. If your visa states - no recourse to doctor or dentist training posts - then you will not be able to apply for Foundation Training posts, core trainee or registrar posts.

It is possible to switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2 but you must have lawfully obtained a UK bachelor or master’s degree during your last permission to stay. See further information on Tier 2 General.

Tier 3

Limited numbers of low skilled workers needed to fill temporary labour shortages.

Tier 4

Undergraduate dental students study in the UK on a Tier 4 Visa.  Adult students also study for postgraduate degrees within the UK on a Tier 4 Visa.   In both situations, the sponsor during study is the UK University where the student is enrolled.

Tier 5

Youth mobility, temporary workers and Medical Training Initiative (MTI) posts: people allowed to work in the United Kingdom for a limited period of time to satisfy primarily non-economic objectives. The purpose of these posts is to allow an overseas dentist to come to the UK for up to two years, for example, to gain experience in a technique or procedure. At the end of this period, he/she will be required to return to their own country. Please see the section on Tier 5, international training fellows for further information.  This applies to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Dentists who wish to practice in the Republic of Ireland - which is a separate EEA country and not part of the United Kingdom -  must register with the Dental Council of Ireland, which has its own procedures and conditions.

How will this affect overseas dentists?

It is important that you check your visa before applying for a post in the UK. You should only apply for a post for which you have the correct visa.

Doctors and dentists who are in the UK by virtue of another immigration category, for example those with leave as a dependent - each specific case would need to be checked to ensure that you can work or train in the UK.

Immigration Regulations for the UK

Dental Foundation (DF) Post

These posts were formerly known as vocational training posts (VT or Dental Foundation year 1). These are training posts which are occupied by newly qualified dental graduates. You will need full registration with the GDC for a DF post.

If you have entered the UK on a Tier 1 visa which states that you are not eligible for doctor or dentist training posts, you would not be able to apply for one of these posts even if you have full registration with the GDC.

If you have completed your undergraduate training in dentistry on a Tier 4 visa sponsored by one of the UK dental schools, and have full registration with the GDC, but you are not an EEA citizen, you would still be able to apply for foundation training. You can apply for a Dental Foundation training post.  If successful you should log onto the COPDEND website and complete an application form regarding visa sponsorship.  The evidence you require are: passport, UK Biometric card, degree certificate or confirmation of BDS in a UK dental school.  The completed application form and supporting documents should be validated by the postgraduate deanery where the foundation dentist will be completing their training.  Any enquiries should be sent to

Core Trainee year 1 (CT1) / Dental Foundation Year 2

The CT1 post is replacing the Dental Foundation year 2 post. These posts are training posts usually placed in hospitals. If you are an overseas dentist , the employers will have to demonstrate that there was no suitable EEA applicant before offering you the post. If you hold a visa stating stating no employment in training posts, then you will not be able to apply.

Senior House Officer (SHO) posts/ Core Trainee year 2 (CT2)

The SHO/ Dental Foundation year 2 posts have been  training posts in UK hospitals. These posts are changing to Core Trainee year 2 (CT2) posts. If you have entered the UK on a Tier 1 Visa which states that you are not eligible for doctor or dentist training posts, you would not be able to apply for one of these posts. If you have entered the UK on a Tier 2 visa you will need to have a job offer. The employers will need to demonstrate that there was no suitably qualified EEA citizen able to accept the post before the post can be offered to an overseas citizen. The employer will be required to sponsor you for the post.

Employer sponsorship is for a specific post and for a specified period of time.

No recourse to public funds

If you are allowed to enter the UK for a limited period, you may have "no recourse to public funds", stamped on your passport.

This means that you cannot claim any benefits, tax credits or housing assistance that counts as public funds. Public funds include:

  • housing benefit
  • child benefit
  • council tax benefit
  • an allocation of local authority housing.

Please contact the Job Centre plus website for more information.

Home Office contact details

Immigration and Nationality Department
Lunar House
Wellesley Road
Surrey CR9 1AT
Tel: +44(0) 870 606 7766



You may need a visa to travel to the UK. You can contact the visa section at embassies and high commissions overseas. If you are not sure you can obtain more information from website.

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