Registration as a dental care professional (DCP) for individuals with a formal qualification gained overseas

Who is this guidance for?

Below you will find help and guidance on applying for registration as a dental care professional (DCP) with qualifications gained outside the UK. It is for those who have not been registered with us before.

If you are already registered, you can apply to add an additional title to your registration. You can also apply for more than one DCP title at the same time, but you will need to complete a separate application for each title. 

If you have been previously registered in the UK, you should refer to our guidance on applying to rejoin the register

Important changes on qualifications

You can no longer apply for registration as a DCP in the UK if you only hold an overseas diploma in dentistry (degree or diploma that qualifies you as a dentist). To be considered for registration as a DCP, you will need a relevant DCP qualification. If you do not hold a relevant DCP qualification and hold a diploma in dentistry only, you should refer to our guidance on how to join the register as a dentist

If you submitted a completed application to us for registration as a DCP relying solely an overseas diploma in dentistry on, or before, 7 March 2023 your application will be processed under the previous arrangements, after this date applications of this type will not be accepted. 

If you submit an application to join our register as a DCP, relying solely on an overseas diploma in dentistry on, or after, 8 March, it will not be assessed and will be securely destroyed. We will return any original documentation, but a small fee will apply. 

How do I apply for registration?

You will first need to fill out an assessment application form and complete and enclose all of the documents we need to do the assessment. 

If your application is successful, you will be eligible for registration.

Complete our route to registration online questionnaire to access an assessment application form and the relevant learning outcome form for the DCP title or titles you are applying for. 

Applying for more than one DCP title

You can apply for more than one DCP title at the same time e.g. dental hygienist and dental therapist, but you must provide a completed application form and supporting documents for each title. You must also ensure that you have completed the relevant learning outcomes form for each application and title.

How long does the process take?

We're currently experiencing unprecedented demand and a very high volume of applications. That means you’ll be waiting longer than usual for a decision from us. We're working hard to progress all applications as quickly as possible. If you’ve received an application acknowledgement email, please be assured that we've received your application. 

It can currently take up to six months to complete an initial review of your application by one of our caseworkers. Following that review, you’ll be advised of the next step and the amount of time we expect it to take. Next steps may include: 

  • a request for further information 
  • the return of your application, if you’ve not provided the information required or it is not in the right format (e.g. not translated)
  • progressing your application to next stage, which is considered by the Registration Assessment Panel.

You can help us to improve processing times by ensuring you have completed the assessment application form in full, and provided all associated documents in the correct format and language. 

How are applications assessed?

Correctly completed applications are referred to our independent Registration Assessment Panel of dentally qualified assessors for consideration and recommendation. Panels are held monthly, and applications are sent to panel members three weeks in advance. 

The panel will provide advice and recommendations to the GDC Registrar on each applicants’ knowledge, skills and suitability for registration. The panel is not a decision-making body. Following the panel meeting, the Registrar will review panel recommendations and decide whether or not to grant registration. One of the following steps can be taken: 

  • registration as a DCP is granted
  • further information or clarification is sought before a recommendation or decision can be reached
  • registration is refused.

We will write to you to inform you of the decision, normally within four weeks of the panel meeting. 

Why are applications refused?

Your application may be refused if: 

  • You have not provided the requested information in the format or language as prescribed by the guidance e.g. your syllabus or qualification.
  • Your supporting evidence is not strong, recent or verifiable across one or more of the relevant learning outcomes.

We have produced a guide on the most common reasons for applications to be refused to help you to avoid these issues. Please review it before submitting your application. The guide is relevant for applications for registration as a: dental hygienist, dental nurse, dental therapist, and orthodontic therapist (information for dental technicians and clinical technicians will be added at a later date).

If your application is refused

If your application is refused, we will write to you detailing the reasons for the decision. You can appeal the decision, and we will provide details of how to formally appeal when we write to you. If you do not appeal within 28 days, your application will be closed. 

In some instances i.e. where your circumstances have changed, and you have new or additional evidence to address the reasons your application was refused, you may be able to send it to us as part of a new application. In these circumstances, your application and additional evidence will be resubmitted to a panel for another assessment.

How do I demonstrate I have met a learning outcome?

Providing strong, recent and verifiable supporting information with your application will help us to efficiently assess your suitability for registration. 

You can demonstrate you have met the learning outcomes relevant to the DCP title by completing the learning outcome form. Details of the learning outcomes requirements for DCPs (by title) can be found in our Preparing for Practice guidance. These are the learning outcomes we use to assess applications for registration. Your primary source of evidence to support attainment of learning outcomes will be your syllabus. 

We will not be able to assess your knowledge or skills without a full undergraduate syllabus for your qualification. The syllabus you supply must be issued by the institution where you trained. It must also be relevant to the period during which you undertook your training. If not, you’ll need to provide a letter from the awarding institution to confirm the course content has not changed, or which sets out how it now differs.

Other information you provide will be secondary, but may be used to demonstrate your current knowledge and skills. However, it is unlikely that completing a CPD course or providing a reflection statement alone will provide sufficient evidence that you have met a learning outcome. 

We will consider any additional DCP qualification you might hold, so if relevant, provide these details with as much supporting information as possible. We will also consider any evidence you can provide on postgraduate experience in dentistry, wherever it was acquired. 

We cannot accept a transcript of marks obtained as evidence of your qualification, as it will not provide sufficient detail for our assessment. It will not give details of the theoretical and practical hours studied, or any information on each of the subjects studied.

You may provide a self-declaration or reflection statement (must be signed and dated) to demonstrate how you have obtained a non-clinical learning outcome. Your statement must be personal to you. However, these documents are unlikely to sufficiently satisfy a learning outcome on their own because they are often not considered suitably robust and cannot be verified. If you choose to provide a self-declaration or reflection statement, use our template to guide you

To help you to complete your application we have created a guide on the different ways you can demonstrate you’ve met a learning outcome. The guide is relevant for applications for registration as a: dental hygienist, dental nurse, dental therapist, and orthodontic therapist (information for dental technicians and clinical dental technicians will be added at a later date).

What documents do I need to send with my application?

You should wait until you receive your full application pack from us, and have read through all of its content and guidance before you start pulling together all of the documents you need to submit with your application.

Completed application will need to include: 

  • Completed learning outcomes form relevant to your DCP title (issued with your application pack).
  • Certified copy of your valid passport clearly showing your photograph, personal details, and the expiry date.
  • Passport sized photograph of you, which has been signed on the back by your character referee.
  • Certified copy of your DCP qualification certificate.
  • Certificate of good standing or certificate of current professional standing.
  • Certified copy of the syllabus of the training course you completed.
  • Certified copy of the transcript of marks for your training course.
  • References from colleagues and employers referring to your experience and knowledge as a DCP.
  • Evidence of any relevant postgraduate qualifications.
  • Evidence of any relevant training courses or CPD.
  • Translations of documents which are not issued in English.
  • Evidence of English language competence.
  • Certified copy of your change of name document (only if you have changed your name).
  • One full copy (photocopy) of your whole application.

The application form contains detailed guidance for the information required with your application. Incomplete applications will be closed and returned without assessment.

Translate all documents into English

You must ensure all documents and supporting evidence are translated into English. We cannot consider or assess any document which is not translated i.e. it will not be used when assessing your application. 

The translation must be made by a qualified translator, and have been translated directly from its original language into English. It must also contain the translator’s signature, printed name and full postal address.

Applicants must meet the costs associated with translating documents. 

English language competence

You must provide evidence of English language competence with your application for registration as a DCP. We have provided detailed guidance on how to show you have the necessary knowledge of the English language. Please review it to ensure standards are met before submitting your application. 

Who can complete a certificate of good standing or certificate of current professional status?

If you have worked as a DCP before, in the UK or overseas, you will be asked to complete a certificate of good standing or certificate of current professional status. These need to be signed by the relevant authority (professional regulator) in the country where you last worked. 

Where there is no such competent authority in the country where you practised as a DCP, please ask your last employer to complete the certificate of current professional status. 

Requirements for certified documents

Copies of certified documents must be a ‘first generation’ photocopy and certified to confirm it is a true copy an original document. 

That means it is a copy an original document, and not a photocopy of a photocopy or fax, on which the person certifying has confirmed, in English, that they have inspected the original document and it is true copy. The copy must also include the name, signature, and address of the person certifying the document. 

Documents can be certified by a:

  • Notary Public
  • Commissioner of Oaths
  • Justice of the Peace
  • lawyer or solicitor
  • authorised official of an embassy or consulate. 

You cannot certify documents yourself, and the person certifying your documents must not be your spouse or a close relative. 

Do I have to pay a fee?

You will need to pay a registration application fee when you first register with the GDC. The registration application fee is made up of two parts:

  • a flat rate to cover processing costs
  • a variable rate to cover the cost of assessing different types of applications. 
Registrational application fee rates specific to the different types of applications we receive are published on our website. 

We also ask applicants who request the return of original documents to pay a small fee to cover the cost.  

Frequently asked questions

No. However, we can consider your qualifications when assessing your application. 

The Registration Assessment Panel will consider how your qualification was gained e.g. through a test, examination, or other form of assessment, and whether it entitles you to full and unrestricted registration, or some form of limited registration or restricted practice.

No. It is illegal (an offence) to practise dentistry in the UK as a DCP without first being registered with the GDC. 
No. Temporary registration is only available to dentists.

Yes. But there is no guarantee that you will be registered as a DCP.

While you can look for employment, you will not be able to practise in the UK as a DCP until you have been registered.