CESR – am I eligible? 

  • April 13, 2020

Here we take a quick look at the CESR route for overseas experienced specialty doctors & consultants hoping to find a senior doctor job in the NHS and qualify for the Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR).

Many IMGs have recently asked if they would be eligible for the CESR route to Specialist registration. International Medical Graduates (IMGs) from any country in the world can apply for CESR, provided certain eligibility criteria are met.

To help answer this question we have put together a short article to explain further, including the following topics: 

Applications for CESR requires a lot of preparation and can seem quite daunting. This is the first in a series of articles aimed at helping doctors planning to engage in this process.

What is CESR? 

The Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) is the process by which doctors who have not trained in an approved programme can demonstrate their knowledge, skills and experience are equivalent to that of the relevant CCT curriculum to join the GP or specialist registers. 

How does CESR work? 

The CESR is awarded by the GMC and applications are made directly to them.

The Royal College then assesses the evidence an applicant has submitted to the GMC. 

The assessment is to assure the GMC that the applicant has gained the equivalent level of competence as a trainee (i.e. ST6) making application for CCT via the ARCP process (Annual Review of Competency Progression).

This means that the CESR applicant must demonstrate competence against all Intended Learning Outcomes in the curriculum of the specialty of their choice via the written evidence submitted.

Are you eligible? 

There are different ways to apply for registration with a licence to practise in the UK. It depends on your nationality, qualification and experience. 

To meet the minimum eligibility requirements to apply you must have either:

  • a specialist qualification in the specialty you’re applying in 


  • at least six months continuous specialist training in the specialty you’re applying in.

You’ll need to provide evidence of how you’re eligible as part of your application. This could be a copy of your qualification or evidence of your employment. 

In your application you must show that you meet the requirements of the CCT curriculum in your specialty. 

The CESR certificate is awarded only on the written evidence provided by the applicant. It is not granted on the basis of references or experience. 

In most circumstances we can say that evidence must: 

  • come from higher training equivalent 
  • be less than 5years old
  • demonstrate higher level experience 
  • map to the curriculum
  • be represented clearly
  • be current
  • be primary evidence

You can check the approved Royal College curricula for all 65 specialities and sub specialties here

I am eligible, what happens next? 

As an IMG, it is highly likely that you haven’t complete a UK based approved training programme but could be eligible for Specialist Registration via the CESR route. Take a look at our in-depth CESR overview for more information on how to apply and what to expect.  

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