Registered Nurse

  • Nursing and Midwifery Council
United Kingdom
  • Health and care

Regulatory or professional bodies

Primary regulator

Regulatory authority
Nursing and Midwifery Council

23 Portland Place

Email address
Phone number
+44 (0)207 333 9333


Regulation summary

We are the independent regulator for nurses and midwives in the UK, and nursing associates in England. What we do is set out by legislation. Our main legislation is the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 (‘the Order’); a series of orders made by the Privy Council and Rules made by our Council sit underneath the Order.

The Nursing & Midwifery Order ‘The Order’ requires that we establish standards of education, training, conduct and performance for nurses, midwives and nursing associates and to ensure the maintenance of those standards.

Our nurses have their own part of the NMC register, as well as their own education standards and standards of proficiency.

Anyone looking to practise as a nurse in the UK must be registered with us. To do this, every nurse is expected to uphold our professional standards and act in line with the Code which outlines the standards of behaviour and conduct expected of professionals on our register.

They must also meet our standards for revalidation, which promote lifelong learning. Revalidation helps make sure that everyone on our register keeps up to date, and continues to develop their nursing knowledge and expertise, to maintain excellent standards of practice.

Regulation type


Reserved activities


Protected titles

The title of ‘Registered Nurse’ is protected in the UK, meaning it's a criminal offence for any person to practise as a nurse without being registered as one with us, or to falsely claim to be qualified or registered.

More about regulated activities and titles

Qualifications and experience

New professionals

Routes to qualification

All nurses working in the UK must be registered with us. Before registration, they must have successfully completed a nursing programme of education that is approved by us. They must also meet our requirements of good health and good character.

In the UK nursing education and training programmes are run only at our approved educational institutions (AEIs) based in health and social care settings. Courses usually take a minimum of three years, although entry routes are available which take into account any previous learning.

Nursing training takes place at an NMC approved educational institution, with half of the programme based in clinical practice with direct contact with patients and families. This could take place in the home, community, hospitals, and independent and voluntary sector organisations.

Professionals from outside the UK

Recognition for professionals outside the UK
Some - qualifications from some countries may be recognised, but professionals from other countries will have to re-qualify
Summary of routes

If you trained outside the UK and want to join our register, you'll need to join through our overseas registration process. We launched a new process in October 2019.

Please note that regulations passed by the UK Government following the UK's departure from the EU allow for certain EU general nursing and midwifery qualifications to be recognised. If you have a relevant European qualification that meets the requirements for automatic recognition, we’ll recognise your qualification and you won’t need to take the Test of Competence. This applies even if you are not an EU national, but you have a relevant European qualification. If you do not hold a relevant European qualification, you will need to take a Test of Competence as we cannot recognise your qualification.

More about recognition for professionals outside the UK


Registration requirements

Once you begin your application you will need to provide us with relevant information regarding your qualification, your identity and pay the evaluation fee (£140).

Once we've confirmed your eligibility, we may ask you to complete a Test of Competence as well as completing your registration application. The total cost of fees and tests is £1,140 (including the evaluation fee of £140).

After you have registered there is a £120 a year registration fee.


Title of relevant act or charter

The Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 (as amended)

Title of relevant act or charter

The Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 (as amended)

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