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Dental Training Initiative

Tier 5 International Training Fellows

The Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) of the Royal College of Surgeons of England is able to sponsor suitably qualified postgraduate dentists to come to the UK for clinical training in approved hospital training posts. All enquiries must be made via the NACPDE - email:

Check your eligibility for the Dental Training Initiative Tier 5 Programme

Information for Trusts

The Dental Training Initiative

The Dental Training Initiative (DTI) is a national programme designed to allow a small number of postgraduate doctors and dentists to enter the UK from overseas for a maximum of 24 months. This affords them the benefit of training and development in NHS services before returning to their home countries. Through the DTI, suitably experienced and qualified trainee dentists from countries outside the UK will have the opportunity to learn from experienced consultants within the UK National Health Service hospitals. The UK Department of Health established the DTI Programme in February 2009 as an immigration category under the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) class of the points-based immigration system. The Tier 5 GAE permits entry to the UK for overseas nationals coming to undertake exchanges or educational initiatives sponsored by government departments.

There are different programmes for doctors and dentists.

The National Advice Centre for Postgraduate Dental Education (NACPDE), based in the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is the National Sponsor of the programme for dentists. NACPDE is responsible for issuing Tier 5 certificates of sponsorship to be used for visa applications. DTI consists of appropriate hospital-based posts in dental specialties for applicants who meet the specific training requirements, qualifications and career history necessary for the programme. These posts must deliver training and education that will benefit the International Training Fellow. It is important to note that the DTI is not in competition with UK dental training.  Rather, it utilizes spare training capacity within dental departments of UK hospitals as well as supernumerary Trust and Deanery training posts.

The UK Visa &Immigration (UKVI) arrangements for DTI come under the Government Authorised Exchange regulations and are different from other employment rules. Hospitals cannot bring these dentists to the UK on their own and cannot be the sponsor for any dentist on the DTI programme. Under the UKVI requirements, individual employers do not act as the sponsor for the applicant as they would with a direct overseas appointment. Instead, the formal process for getting UKVI approval for the applicant is handled by the national umbrella body, the NACPDE, which manages the Tier 5, DTI programme across the UK.

It is important to highlight that the DTI can be used to fill both posts unfulfilled by the Deanery as well as dedicated posts. However, all posts must offer significant training elements similar to that of an equivalent-level UK trainee. They must not be solely used for service provision. If a hospital is funding a DTI post, the pay must be equivalent to the pay of a UK trainee at a comparable level. If the overseas dentist is receiving financial support from outside the UK and is not receiving any payment from the hospital, then the dentist must not be paid less than the UK’s minimum wage. Please note that these posts cannot be self-funded.

Please also note that the regulations concerning registration and supervision of a dentist on temporary registration are managed by the General Dental Council and are significantly different from the regulations for doctors on the DTI.

Criteria for acceptance on the programme

All applicants must:

  • have gained suitable experience in their home country
  • have no rights of residence in the UK
  • be proficient in English, with satisfactory IELTS English language score or have English as their first language, having had their dental tuition in English and have practised for at least two years in a country where the predominant language is English (please see below for the English language requirements for Temporary Registration with the GDC)
  • have been offered a Tier 5 training opportunity in the UK
  • have a scholarship or means of financial support from their employer (hospital, university, college)
  • intend to return to their home country after training to put into practice the training that they have received in the UK

Refugees and those applying for asylum in the UK are not eligible to apply.


Candidates must:

  • possess a primary dental qualification recognised by UK NARICS and the GDC for temporary registration
  • meet the English language requirements
  • have completed a recognised postgraduate dental qualification
  • have completed a minimum of four years postgraduate dental clinical practice with at least one year in the specialty in which they are seeking further training in the UK
  • provide the GDC with a certificate of good standing and medical information at the time of applying for temporary registration


Applicants are advised to look at the UK Visa and Immigration website for details of the Government Authorised Exchange.

The mechanism for setting up these posts is not the same for dentistry as it is for medicine.

Suitable posts

Posts should be offered by a consultant working in an NHS hospital or University Department in the UK and should be agreed by the postgraduate dental dean. Posts must have a minimum duration of six months. The maximum duration is two years. Please note that short-term training experience in a Tier 5 post covers a specific subject and is not regarded as the same as a UK specialist training post and cannot contribute to specialist training in the UK. Suitable posts would include:

  • one tailored to the specific training requirements of the International Training Fellow
  • a locum appointment for training (LAT) of longer than three months but which does not have an NTN or lead to a CCST
  • an international fellowship or scholarship (commonwealth, overseas government, etc.)

Temporary registration with the GDC

If you are successful in being accepted for a tier 5 post in the UK, you will need temporary registration from the GDC to cover the period of clinical training. The NACPDE will contact the GDC to inform them that you have been allocated a post under a tier 5 visa and will supply the GDC with specific details of the post. At this stage, you should apply to the GDC for temporary registration. The GDC requires the following forms to be sent to them:

  1. a correctly completed temporary registration application form which is available from the GDC
  2. UK NARIC certification of your primary dental degree.
  3. confirmation letter from NACPDE
  4. an original certificate of good standing
  5. appropriate registration fee for temporary registration with the GDC
  6. an Academic IELTS Certificate, no more than two years old, showing an overall score of not less than 7.0 with no individual score below 6.5.

The GDC requires the above information in order to grant temporary registration. Failure to provide the above information and any further information requested will result in a delay in the start of your training.

The following posts would not be deemed suitable for the tier 5 programme:

  • posts that are more than 50% research
  • posts leading to a CCST
  • posts in private hospitals
  • posts in primary care
  • locum appointments for service (LAS)
  • self or family funded posts

Funding of posts

Posts may be funded by scholarships, by overseas hospitals, colleges and universities, or be extant funded posts not filled by an EEA dentist.

I meet the criteria - what next?

If you feel that you meet the criteria outlined overleaf, then you should email the NACPDE at with a copy of your CV and the name of the Consultant who has agreed to supervise you. The NACPDE will then contact them and request details of the post, including a timetable.

We will then request the following from you:

  • A completed form setting out your personal details (which will be sent to you by the NACPDE).
  • A letter from your financial sponsor. This should be on letterheaded paper and signed. It should include the amount of your financial sponsorship. This cannot be less than the UK national minimum wage (NMW).
  • Copies of your IELTS certificate.
  • Certified copies of dental examinations together with English translations if the originals are not in English (the originals can be shown to us when you arrive in the UK - you do not need to post these to us).
  • A letter from the UK hospital confirming your appointment.
  • An application fee. 

The charges are as follows:

  • Applicants from low to middle-income countries £750 per year or for each renewal of a Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Applicants from high-income countries £1500 per year or for each renewal of a Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • If paying tuition/training fees to a trust or University - 5% of an annual fee. 
  • If employed by a Trust, the Trust will be required to pay NACPDE an additional £1000 per annum.

The NACPDE collects this information, and once satisfied that the applicant and placement meet the criteria, they will seek the approval of the Postgraduate Dental Dean (and possibly the Postgraduate Medical Dean) for the region where the proposed training is due to take place. The NACPDE requires this confirmation to be in writing for our records.

Financial considerations when applying for a visa

If your government, hospital or university is supporting you financially, then we will already have requested a letter confirming your rate of pay. When we have all the required information, as your sponsor, we will apply for a certificate of sponsorship (COS) from the UKVI. On approval of the application UKVI provides what you will need for your visa application. This is a reference number which holds information about the job and your personal details. This reference number can only be used once. Your COS is valid for three months from the date it is assigned to you. Please note that the NACPDE does not support your maintenance. Therefore, UKVI requires a minimum amount to be held in your bank account(s) to prove you can support yourself in the UK. This amount varies from time to time. You must have had this sum in your bank account(s) for 90 days before you apply for the visa. If you are accompanied by other family members, you will need additional funds. You will have to demonstrate this by submitting bank statements. Full details of UKVI's requirements can be found here.

Confirmation of approval of your application by the Postgraduate Dental Dean is required for your COS to be issued.

At the same time, the NACPDE writes to the GDC (General Dental Council) to inform them about your Tier 5 placement. It is the overseas dentist’s responsibility to make their application to the GDC for Temporary Registration. It is advisable that you contact the GDC to ascertain the specific documents required for your GDC application. When applying for Temporary Registration with the GDC under the MTI you will be expected to provide UK NARIC certification of your Primary Dental Degree. This can take some time to process, so please do this within good time. Failure to do this can result in a delay in receiving your Temporary Registration which means you will be unable to work in the UK.

The NACPDE while you are in the UK

Ahead of your arrival in the UK, a pre-starting questionnaire will be completed. This provides the NACPDE with useful information regarding what you hope to gain from your period of training in the UK. It is important for us to understand the motivation of overseas dentists coming to the UK so that we can run the scheme efficiently. It will also be useful for both the NACPDE and you to look back upon after the training period has been completed to see whether your training needs have been met and to highlight any lessons for the future in regard to the scheme.

When you arrive in the UK, you will need to make an appointment to come and see us at the NACPDE. You must bring certain documents with you so that we can make copies, but it is also a chance for us to meet you and for you to meet us.

Throughout your placement, the NACPDE will contact you to make sure that everything is going well with your placement. This will be done by email. We will also be in touch with your supervisor to ask for progress reports throughout your training. Your supervisor is required to inform us if you do not attend your placement for 10 consecutive days. In these circumstances, the NACPDE is required to contact UK Visas and Immigration and inform them of this.

When you are getting towards the end of your placement, the NACPDE Administrator will contact you again to invite you to a certificate presentation and exit interview.


The General Dental Council (GDC) is the organisation that regulates dental professions in the UK. All dentists, dental nurses, dental technicians, clinical dental technicians, dental hygienists, dental therapists and orthodontic therapists must be registered with the GDC in order to work in the UK.

The GDC’s purpose is to protect the public by regulating the dental team.

As an International Training Fellow, you will be eligible for temporary registration with the GDC.

Temporary registration allows dentists who are not eligible for full registration to practice dentistry in the UK in supervised posts for training, teaching, or research purposes only and for a limited period.

Read further details on temporary registration with the GDC.


If you think that overseas dentists could be accommodated in your unit, please complete Form B and return it with the following information:

  • a timetable together with details of the supervisor for each session
  • contact details for your human resources/medical staffing unit
  • details of your postgraduate dental deanery

Next stages

The NACPDE will consider applications and may request further information.

Remember that these posts require time to set up - so please plan ahead.

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