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IELTS - NMC registration requirements for overseas qualified nurses

In order to work as a nurse or midwife in the UK you must apply to join the register of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

The NMC requires applicants who trained outside the UK to demonstrate that they have the necessary knowledge of English to communicate effectively.

IMPORTANT UPDATE - New English language testing options for overseas nurses


From the 1st of November 2017, The NMC will accept the Occupational English Test (OET) as proof of English language competence.

Alternatively, nurses and midwives who qualified outside EU/EEA could demonstrate English language capability if they have:

  • Undertaken a pre-registration nursing or midwifery qualification taught and examined in English. 
  • Registered and practised for a minimum of one year in a country where English is the first and native language, and a successful pass in an English language test was required for registration

For more information see:

If you trained within the EU or EEA

You must complete the IELTS test, unless you come under one of the following exceptions 

If you trained outside the EU or EEA

You must complete the IELTS test, even if English if your first language 

Information and resources

There is information on preparing for IELTS tests, including where to find helpful resources, practice materials and sample tests.

Further support for RCN members

If you're a member of the RCN and have more questions about IELTS, you can contact RCN Direct.

If your immigration status will be affected by your IELTS test result, you can access the RCN's Immigration Advice Service.

You can find IELTS preparation books and eBooks using our Library subject guide. RCN members can borrow books and access eBooks online. 

Preparing for IELTS and OSCE exams

A list of resources and useful links to help you prepare for your IELTS and OSCE exams