How does your UK GP verify their signature with the FCDO?

How does your UK GP verify their signature with the FCDO ?

A key part of the Non-Lucrative Visa application process is getting a medical certificate stating that you have “no exportable diseases in accordance with the provisions of the 2005 International Health Regulations”. 

These certificates can be obtained privately in both the UK and Spain, but many applicants choose to request this certificate from their local NHS GP. 

When requesting this certificate from a GP it is very important that the correct wording is used, the certificate must be on letterheaded paper, stamped and carry the GPs GMC registration number.

Once you have your Certificate, that’s not the end of the process, unfortunately. As well as being translated into Spanish, the certificate must be apostilled by the FCDO (Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office) . Upsticks recommends that you use a professional apostille service to manage the process, rather than directly via the FCDO website, as this can be difficult to track. 

The biggest problem with Medical Certificates issued by NHS GPs is that the doctor must be registered with the FCDO before they will issue an apostille stamp. Not many UK GP’s are pre-registered, so Upsticks contacted a Customer Service Officer from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and asked the question “How do UK GPs register their signature with the FCDO?”

Here is their reply: 

In order to register a medical practitioner’s signature on our database, they need to send an email to [email protected] which includes the following:

  •         A specimen of their signature
  •         full name
  •         registration number (GMC, etc).

 Once we receive the above, we will confirm their status with the relevant regulatory body and, pending the successful outcome of that check, we will add a record of their specimen signature.

We would usually add a signature to our database within a couple of days of an email arriving, depending on our current workload.

What all this means is that if your GP is NOT registered with the FCDO, they will have to email their details to the relevant office, wait for a reply, action any requests and then wait for the central database to be updated.

Obviously, this can seriously delay the Apostille process and completely depends on the  GPs willingness to register their signature – if they don’t want to do so, then you are back to square one with the Medical Certificate, and will need to find an alternative supplier.

If you intend to use an NHS GP for your Medical Certificate, we strongly advise you to check the GP is registered with the FCDO before going ahead or use a private provider with registered doctors and avoid unnecessary stress and delays.

Article correct at date of publication.
Last updated 10.11.2023

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