‌‌Imperial College London, coordinated by the Clinical Academic Training Office (CATO), is able to provide General Medical Council (GMC) sponsorship (approval) for well-qualified and highly recommended international medical doctors, who wish to undertake part of their research in the UK. It is only intended for those who will return to their home country to practice with the skills they have gained, at the end of the sponsored period. 

In addition to the application process at Imperial College, candidates must also complete the specified application and registration process for International Medical Graduates at the General Medical Council. 

CATO is not able to provide work permits or visa assistance for candidates. This scheme provides GMC sponsorship (approval) only. This is entirely different to that outlined by the UK Borders Agency that requires a "certificate of sponsorship".  Candidates must make their own visa arrangements, with assistance from their supervisor and the associated Imperial College department they will undertake research and clinical time in. 

Imperial College will only consider sponsoring overseas doctors who already meet the following criteria:

  • Already offered a suitable post by a senior member of Imperial College academic staff (candidates must initiate and make direct contact with a supervisor, CATO will not provide assistance in this respect)
  • Candidate intends to carry out clinical research at an affiliated Imperial College London Hospital and associated Imperial College department
  • Candidate has been awarded a scholarship, official funding or a salary, (the scheme does not encompass financial support for candidates). 

You are advised to read the scheme regulations before applying ‌.

ICL Application process

Scheme regulations

Before commencing an application for GMC sponsorship at Imperial College London the Supervisor and the candidate should read the GMC Sponsorship Scheme Regulations and the GMC Sponsorship Flowchart.

The supervisor should first conduct a structured interview with the candidate (as outlined in the regulations). Structured interview questions are available from CATO if required.  If interviewed successfully, and the candidate is offered a suitable position at Imperial College London, the Supervisor can commence the application process.

The supervisor should complete the Supervisor form:
International Sponsorship Scheme supervisor form (Word)

The candidate should complete the Initial International Sponsorship form:
Initial International Sponsorship Scheme form (PDF)

Both completed forms should be sent by the Supervisor to (cato@imperial.ac.uk) for review. Once the forms have been reviewed and deemed suitabale, instructions will be provided to progress the application.

Applicant and supervisor will need to provide a number of supporting documents as part of the process. Please refer to the checklist for the full list of requirements:                                                  CATO GMC Sponsorship Paperwork Checklist Applicant (PDF)

Administration fee

There is a fee of £300 for administration payable after the CATO administrator has received the Initial International Sponsorship form and deems the candidate initially suitable. 


Applications should be made as far in advance of the expected start date for the post as possible (6 months recommended). The timeframe for processing applications varies depending on the complexity of each case. Applications are processed in receipt of all requested documentation, and all correspondence will be dealt with as quickly as possible.  

For any information or queries about the International Sponsorship Scheme, please contact cato@imperial.ac.uk