Advice for dentists from abroad aiming to train and establish a career in the UK dental field

Advice for dentists from abroad aiming to train and establish a career in the UK dental field

We understand that adjusting to life in a new country can be overwhelming, particularly as you embark on a new dental career while relocating with your family. We trust that the following pages will offer valuable assistance in accessing the necessary support and direction.

Much like the variety seen among patients, the dental workforce in the NHS boasts diversity, with thousands of dentists originating from countries other than the UK. Their presence is highly valued for the fresh insights and expertise they bring to dental practices, enriching the profession as a whole.

We’ve curated a set of resources containing practical insights to facilitate your adjustment to life in the UK, easing your transition. Consider joining the International Dental Organisation – UK for peer support.

Life in the UK


Additional resources include:

You can find guides on purchasing and renting property in the UK on the Rightmove property website, offering insights into housing options nationwide and associated expenses.


In the UK, schools fall into two categories: state schools, which receive government funding and are tuition-free for all students, and independent schools, which charge fees to parents.

Education is mandatory for all children aged 5 (4 in Northern Ireland) to 16 and is administered at a devolved level.

Children typically attend primary and secondary schools based on proximity, provided there are available slots. In England, applying for a school place is done through the local council. Each school undergoes regular inspections, and you can access performance reports on the Ofsted website to gauge its effectiveness.

While further and higher education aren’t mandatory, the UK boasts some of the world’s finest universities. For an overview of the UK education system and details on each nation’s educational framework, explore the following links:


Parents have various childcare options to choose from, such as nannies, nurseries, childminders, and crèches. In many areas, children aged three and above are eligible for some free childcare services.

For detailed information specific to England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, as well as general insights into childcare options and costs across the UK, you can visit the following websites:

Opening a UK bank account

Establishing a new bank account can pose challenges, considering the various types of accounts and associated costs. It’s advisable to inquire with your current bank regarding partnerships with UK-based banks. Some banks offer the convenience of applying for an international account online, such as Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, and NatWest.

MoneyHelper provides a wealth of articles covering topics like opening a bank account, account types, and selecting the right banking option for your needs.

For comprehensive guides on banking and financial management, you can refer to:

Driving in the UK

If you have a foreign license, you might be permitted to drive in the UK (England, Wales, and Scotland) for a maximum of 12 months.

You can verify your eligibility and obtain details on exchanging your foreign license for a UK one on the GOV.UK website. However, the process in Northern Ireland differs.

Accessing healthcare

Every UK resident has access to the NHS, which provides healthcare services free of charge at the point of delivery. It’s important to register with a local GP to ensure prompt access to medical care when needed. For further details on the NHS services offered, you can explore additional information.

Cost of Living

Living expenses differ among countries and regions, with London typically having the highest costs. To offset this, salaries often include an allowance known as London weighting.

For an overview of the cost of living in the UK, you can refer to Numbeo and Expatica.

Immigration and Visas

For non-UK nationals, including EEA nationals (excluding the Republic of Ireland), the following are required to work in the UK:

  • A Health and Care Worker visa
  • A Skilled Worker visa (which replaced the Tier 2 visa)
  • Indefinite leave to remain status

Specific rights to reside and work in the UK may apply if you are the spouse of an EEA national or if you have Commonwealth ancestry rights. For eligibility verification, please consult the GOV.UK website.

Health and Care Worker Visa

In the domain of UK employment visas, the Skilled Worker visa emerges as a passage for individuals to engage in endorsed occupations with sanctioned employers, replacing the erstwhile Tier 2 (General) work visa. However, for dentists navigating the healthcare or adult social care sectors, an alluring alternative manifests in the form of the Health and Care Worker visa. This specialized visa not only offers a streamlined pathway but also grants exemption from the burdensome annual immigration health surcharge. Yet, aspiring dentists must secure a coveted job offer within the UK’s borders and obtain the necessary licensing from the General Dental Council (GDC) to embark on this transformative journey.

More Immigration and Visa Resources Office




Northern Ireland

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