UK Nursing Agency information

The Overseas Nursing Programme (ONP)

Saturday, 13 April 2024

Overseas Nursing Programme

Provided you are accepted and meet the minimum standards to be accepted on the NMC register, as a nurse you will be required to undertake the Overseas Nursing Programme, if you have trained outside of the EEA.

Some employers are able to provide the Overseas Nursing Programme and will arrange to register you to start on the programme upon production of your NMC decision letter, as soon as you arrive in the UK.

Whilst you complete the Overseas Nursing Programme and obtain your NMC registration, certain employers are able to offer you work as an ATA (Auxiliary Trained Abroad) or a HCA (Healthcare Assistant), provided your registration documents are all in order. The Overseas Nursing Programme is not widely available in the UK and therefore the NMC advise against travelling to the UK unless you are registered on an ONP Programme

The programme assesses your ability to practice in the UK healthcare environment. It consists if 20 days protected learning time, plus, where appropriate a period of supervised practice. Your decision letter will confirm what parts of the programme you must undertake. If you have had educational and practical experience in your home country that closely matches UK requirements for entry to the Register, you will only have to take the 20 protected learning days.

Stages of registration

Stage 1

When you apply you will need to pay the NMC an administration fee. You should then return the initial application form with your choice of registration tickets. You should also send the NMC certified (signed by a solicitor) photocopies of your:

  • Registration certificate
  • Passport (details page)
  • Birth certificate

Marriage, civil partnership or deed poll certificate (if you don’t use the name on your birth certificate).

You should also send your International English Language Testing System (IELTS) candidate number and test score.

Stage 2

When the NMC receive the documents listed above and the required fee, they will send you an application pack, which contains.

  • Your application form
  • Your post-registration experience form
  • Two employment references
  • Transcript of training form
  • Registration authority / licensing body form

This will be supported by detailed information on how to complete the forms and provide the information the NMC require. Further details can be found from the NMC booklet called “Registering as a nurse or midwife in the United Kingdom (for applicants from outside the European Economic Area) Download PDF (57.1Kb).

Nursing abbreviations

RN Registered Nurse
RMN Registered Mental Health Nurse (Psychiatric Nurse)
RNMH Registered Nurse Mental Health, which is a nurse trained to care for people with mental or physical disabilities.
RSCN Registered Sick Children’s Nurse (paediatric nurse)
ITU Intensive Therapy which is Intensive Care.
A&E Accident and Emergency
HDU High Dependency Unit
CCU Coronary Care Unit
PICU Paediatric Intensive Care Unit
NICU Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
ATA Auxiliary Trained Abroad. A registered nurse (general or enrolled) from abroad who does not have UK registration or is not able to register with the NMC


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