The moment has come! You finally made the decision, you want to work in the UK. Registering with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons will be your first step.
It may seem a bit complicated in the beginning but it really isn’t! Sure, there are some documents required, deadlines you need to stick to and fees that need to be paid, but it really isn’t that hard. Hopefully, this article will guide you through the process.
First of all, you will find all the necessary information on the RCVS’s website: https://www.rcvs.org.uk/registration/applications-veterinary-surgeons/
Treat this article as a nice summary but do also read the information provided there.
What type of documents do you need?
Depending on the country you graduated from you may need to submit slightly different documents. You will need to choose a country from a map you will find on the website above and read the instructions provided for your country.
After clicking on the map you will find information about the documents you need to provide and about the awarding bodies recognized within your country, which basically means the Universities in your country which are recognized by the RCVS.
If your qualification is not recognised by the RCVS you will need to take the RCVS Statutory Examination in order to register. As England is still in the UE degrees awarded by UE countries are recognised by the RCVS. We still don’t know what will happen after Brexit but it is possible after 29th March 2019 this will change.
In terms of language requirements if your qualification is recognized by the RCVS you don’t need any proof of your language skills but the RCVS holds the right to question them if they are having doubts about your communication skills. Those who will need to sit the statutory exam will also need an IELTS language certificate with a score of minimum 7.
Remember, registration may take up to 8 weeks and will require a trip to London. A registration appointment is necessary.
For example for a Polish vet the required documents include:
1. A copy of the identifying page and front cover of a valid passport
2. An A4 copy of a primary veterinary qualification in both ENGLISH and POLISH.
Note: An English translation must be done by a certified translator!
Also If your qualification was awarded before 1 May 2004, you will need to supply additional documents. Check RCVS website for more details.
3. A letter of good standing – 2 options depending on the time you graduated.
- Applicants registering within three months of the date of their graduation:
A letter of good standing from the Rector of the veterinary school.
- Applicants registering more than three months after the date of their graduation and who are registered with a registration / licensing authority:
A letter or certificate of good standing from your current registration / licensing authority.
The registration authority in Poland is called Izba Lekarsko-Weterynaryjna. So, Polish vets need to write an email to their Izba lekarsko-weterynaryjna and ask for a document like this. The document is free and it takes about 7 days to be issued. You will need to collect it in person and make a certified translation of the document.
Important note: Please note that letters of good standing are only valid for three months after the date of issue and must be valid on the day of the registration appointment.
Ok, so you gathered the documents. What’s next?
You need to fill in and submit a registration form: https://www.rcvs.org.uk/document-library/registration-form-eu-graduates/
Please note that this is a form for EU graduates. Depending on your country the forms may slightly differ, you will find the forms on the RCVS website.
You need to print the form, fill it in, sign it, scan it and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You also need to pay a registration fee. There are several ways of doing that including bank transfer, credit card and cheque.
The current fees are as stated below:
- All applicants (registering anytime from 1 April 2018 to 30 September 2018) £330.00
- New Graduates (Graduated between 1 January 2018 and 30 September 2018, and are registering before 30 September 2018) £165.00
Please remember that these amounts cover your fee until 31 March 2019, you will need to pay a renewal fee before that time which is 330 GBP per year.
You will also need to book an appointment. In the registration form, there is a question about the appointment dates which would be convenient for you. You are supposed to choose two and mark which one is the preferred date.
The appointments are held on Tuesdays and Fridays. You will find the available dates under the link: https://www.rcvs.org.uk/registration/applications-veterinary-surgeons/registration-dates/
After you send your registration form and document scans to the RCVS you will be contacted by them within 15 working days (usually even sooner) and your appointment date will be confirmed.
What about the appointment itself?
The appointment is just a formality (if you bring all the required documents) but you don’t need to dress formally for it. During the appointment all the document will be checked once again, you will be instructed about how the RCVS works and about the service it provides. You will also be introduced to the ethics code of conduct and asked to declare the oath of the veterinary profession:
“I PROMISE AND SOLEMNLY DECLARE that I will pursue the work of my profession with integrity and accept my responsibilities to the public, my clients, the profession and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and that, ABOVE ALL, my constant endeavour will be to ensure the health and welfare of animals committed to my care.”
The appointment usually takes 1-2h. For the appointment you will need to bring:
- the originals of all the documents you submitted
- your passport or ID card
If you still feel a bit overwhelmed by the registration process please remember that everyone at the RCVS is extremely helpful and email contact with them is quick and easy. If there are any problems with the documents they will let you know and tell you what they need you to do.
For example, in my case, they needed a marriage certificate as I changed my surname after getting married and my current surname wasn’t consistent with the one in my diploma.
Whatever it will be in your case, you will receive all the help you need!
That’s it! You’re done, ready to start your new UK journey?