Dispelling myths about Brexit & studying abroad

As the Brexit transition period comes to an end on the 31st of December 2020, it is a time that many are wondering what happens next. There are many questions in the minds of both current and prospective students that require answers. Certain agencies are taking advantage of the situation by spreading misinformation to increase their sales.

After liaising with universities in Europe that we work with and contacting organisations such as the GMC, we have decided to write this article to separate fact from fiction.

Recognition of the qualification after Brexit – Medicine

There are changes that are being made to the way qualifications from countries that are part of the EEA will be recognised in the UK after Brexit. However, they are not as drastic as some agencies have claimed.

Students graduating from EEA countries including the likes of Bulgaria and Romania that are graduating before 2024 will not be required to sit the PLAB exam under current regulations.

The major change in the policy of recognition is that the degree will no longer be automatically verified, and the graduate will have to get their qualification independently verified by the ECFMG. This is confirmed by the GMC who we contacted, and they gave the following statement:

All the information regarding Brexit can be found here:


We will be adding more information to this page over the coming weeks.

However, the website states:

EEA nationals with relevant European qualifications will still be able to register with us in a timely and streamlined way. But they will need to have their qualifications independently verified before we can grant registration.  This means you will not need to sit the PLAB exam and will need to have your qualification verified by ECFMG only.

EEA nationals who qualified outside of the EEA, or who don’t have relevant European qualifications, will need to apply for registration via our overseas registration processes. This means you will need to apply for registration under the current international medical graduate routes.

This also applies to UK nationals, however, like all our processes, this is subject to change.

After 2024 the GMC will be introducing the UKMLA exam that must be given by all medical graduates regardless of being international or from the UK.

Recognition of the qualification after Brexit – Dentistry

The GDC in the UK has published information on their website to help future and current dentists understand how Brexit will affect the recognition of their qualifications. This information can be found here: Brexit – information for dental professionals (gdc-uk.org)

The UK Government has enacted legislation which enables the GDC to continue recognising EEA-qualified dentists under a near-automatic system for up to two years from 1 January 2021. This means dentists qualifying from our partner universities will not have to sit any extra exams until 1st of January 2023.

For those graduating after 2023, the GDC is yet to publish information about how the registration process will work and what will be the requirements. However, under no circumstances does this mean that the qualifications of our partner universities will not be recognised in the UK.

The most likely scenario is having to sit the ORE exam in order to join the GDC register although this is our prediction rather than official information.

Number of spaces for Bulgarian Medical Universities

It has been suggested by some other agencies that after Brexit the United Kingdom will fall under the Non-EU category and as such there will only be as few as 50 places per university in Bulgaria for UK students. This could not be further from the truth!

There is no separate list for EU or non-EU students for most Bulgarian medical universities. All students that are studying in the English language are considered international students and have always been in the same category in terms of the number of places available. This will not change, and we believe claiming as such is a marketing ploy to get students to rush into making a decision about applying abroad.

We have discussed this matter at length with our partner universities in Bulgaria who were unaware of such changes being announced on their behalf.

Visa Requirements

There is different guidance if you are starting your course next year or if you are already studying abroad. For those that are looking to apply next year:

From the 1st of January 2021, students will be able to visit EU countries such as Bulgaria and Romania for up to 90 days in any 180-day period for the purposes of tourism. To stay longer for the purposes of studying in Europe, you will have to apply for a long-term visa called Visa Type D.

The exact timeframe and details related to how the visa process will work is yet to be announced. We do not expect it to be any different to the visa process for other non-EU countries. Our experienced team is prepared to deal with the visa process since we have helped many students from countries around the world go through a similar process.

For those that are currently studying abroad must apply for a residency permit immediately to be able to legally live in Bulgaria after 1st January 2021.

Need more help and guidance?

Our team is always available to speak to prospective students about how we can help them apply to universities across Europe. If you would like to speak to us, please email us at info@medconnecteurope.co.uk or call us on 020 8190 0310!