Non-EEA qualified international pharmacists

If you’re qualified as a pharmacist outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or hold an EEA pharmacist qualification which is not recognised in the UK, you can apply to register as a pharmacist in Great Britain.

You must complete all of the following:

  • the Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme (OSPAP). This is a one-year postgraduate diploma which prepares people for UK practice and entry to foundation training.
  • 52 weeks of foundation training in England, Scotland or Wales which has been signed off as satisfactory by your tutor. This foundation training placement gives trainee pharmacists the opportunity to develop and demonstrate the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to practise as a pharmacist.
  • The common registration assessment with a pass result. We want trainee pharmacists to demonstrate they understand how to apply knowledge appropriately in pharmacy practice.

The right to study and work in the UK

Meeting the the criteria above doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll gain entry to the UK or find employment. Before you start the qualifying process, you should carefully consider information provided by the UK Borders Agency to see whether you’ll be able to get the necessary visas and work permits. Unfortunately, we’re not able to answer questions about these issues. 

Are you eligible to apply for an OSPAP course?

We need to assess if you are eligible to complete an OSPAP course before you can apply. We’ll consider your previous qualifications and work experience, your fitness to practise and your English language competency.

You’ll need to pay a fee of £739, which covers the cost of processing your application. It is non-refundable, even if your application is unsuccessful.

Assessing your pharmacy qualification

If your pharmacy qualification is not assessed as equal to at least a UK bachelor’s degree in pharmacy by ENIC, you must carry out an assessment of the syllabus of the degree that you studied, using the international comparative assessment framework.

Before you start your application

All courses starting in 2024  are already oversubscribed, due to high demand and applications carried over from last year. The situation for courses starting in 2025 is likely to be similar. This means that you are unlikely to be able to find a place to study during this time.

We recommend that you check with your preferred university or universities about availability before submitting your application for OSPAP eligibility to us.

Your application processing fee is strictly non-refundable even if your OSPAP eligibility application is unsuccessful, or you cannot secure an OSPAP place at university. 

Please make sure that you complete all sections of your OSPAP eligibility application form, and provide all supporting documents with your application, including evidence of your English language ability. We will return incomplete OSPAP eligibility applications without processing them.

The eligibility letter you receive once your application is approved is valid for two years. You will need to apply again if you’re unable to get a place within this time.

Applying for a training place using the Oriel system

As well as your OSPAP eligibility application, you will need to consider applying for a training place to complete after your academic course. Most training places are filled through the Oriel system. You can find out more about the application process on the Oriel website.

Getting professional support

If you’re considering working as a pharmacist in Great Britain, you may want to find a pharmacist who can support you professionally. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is the professional body for pharmacists in Great Britain and can help you find a mentor. You can join the RPS as an international member if you’re a pharmacist based outside Great Britain.

Support for pharmacy professionals with refugee status

  • Refuaid supports individuals who have claimed asylum in the UK with access to English language tuition, finance, education, and employment. They provide free English courses and exams, as well as financial support with covering the costs of professional requalification through interest-free loans. RefuAid will also support with employment opportunities across various sectors, including the National Health Service (NHS).
  • Refugee Assessment and Guidance Unit (RAGU) at London Metropolitan University provides specialist careers advice, and guidance and employability skills development training for all refugee health professionals.
    Refugee Assessment and Guidance Unit (RAGU) at London Metropolitan University
  • Refugee Council provides free advice and information to asylum seekers and refugees in the UK.
    Refugee Council
  • The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), and their branches in Wales and Scotland offer three years' complimentary RPS associate membership for pharmacists, pharmacy students, and pharmaceutical scientists who are fleeing areas of conflict. The RPS also has a regional ambassador programme.
    The Royal Pharmaceutical Society
    RPS regional ambassador programme
  • Displaced People in Action helps refugees in Wales.
    Displaced People in Action