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Working abroad

Many dentists think about the possibility of working in another country at some point during their career.

​When you are thinking about going to another country to work professionally, you must consider:


  • Am I eligible to register my qualification?
  • What are the immigration rules that I need to comply with?


Both depend on the laws in the country in which you wish to work. Compliance with both is essential. It is therefore vital to make enquiries before starting your journey to find out what exactly is needed to make the experience as positive as possible.


When to go

A stint abroad can be a valuable experience at any point during your career. However, if you need a work permit in the country of your choice, short-term travel visas are usually more easily available for individuals under the age of 35 (national rules will vary). Volunteering with an organisation is not usually subject to this restriction.


We generally do not advise dentists to work abroad straight after graduation unless you already have an established relationship with a practice that will support you in your first job, although there is nothing stopping you from doing so. Practices are likely to expect a fully competent and confident clinician, and the level of support that you would get in a DFT post is unlikely to be forthcoming. In addition, once back in the UK you will still need to complete DFT before job opportunities in the NHS will be open to you.


Keeping in touch

While you are away, there are a number of things to bear in mind with regard to your return to the UK. Whether you go for six months, two years, or on a more permanent basis, make sure you stay in touch with the profession in the UK during your absence. Get all the information you need for your return and don’t assume that you will be able to walk back into dentistry after a lengthy stay abroad. The profession is constantly changing and these changes may well affect your return. The arrangements for the dental performers list are also changing over time. Contact us at advice.enquiries@bda.org for information and considerations about these issues.


Stay on the GDC register

We recommend you stay on the GDC register. This is expensive but will make your return much easier. If you come off the register you will have to go through a restoration process which is more costly and can take more time than you expect. This process includes the need for a character reference and obtaining a letter of good standing from the relevant authority where you last worked. You will also need to prove that you have enough CPD to return to the register.


Staying on the register also means that you will continue to receive GDC communications while you are away. As of 2018, CPD requirements will include annual declarations of the CPD you have undertaken, some minimum hours requirements, and the need for a personal development plan. Do take further advice on this in any case, but especially if you are likely not to be on the GDC’s radar for a while.


Maintain your BDA membership

We suggest you keep your BDA membership going to help you keep in touch with UK dentistry. Our Essential membership rate is appropriate (unless you wish to have access to personal advisory services while you are away) and will help you keep up to date with developments in the UK.