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Statutory Membership Exam

If your qualification is not recognised by the RCVS you must sit and pass the RCVS Statutory Examination for Membership in order to register.

If you are unsure whether we recognise your qualification, select from the list the region or country where your qualification was awarded.

To be eligible to take the exam you must be a qualified veterinary surgeon of good professional standing eligible to practise in the country where you gained your degree by the date of the exam. Veterinary surgeons who are already on the RCVS register are not eligible to take the exam.

The examination is intended for overseas veterinarians who wish to obtain the right to practise in the United Kingdom and not for those who wish to obtain an additional qualification.

If you pass the examination, you may register as a member of the RCVS which entitles you to practise veterinary surgery in the UK. However, membership of the RCVS is not a substitute for a work permit or for meeting UK immigration regulations.

Declaring your intention to sit the examination

The first step in the examination process is to inform the RCVS of your intention to sit. To do this, you will need to submit a completed 'Initial/ First Declaration of Intention to Sit' form, along with all the required supporting evidence by email to [email protected]

The declaration form can be downloaded from the 'Related documents' section at the end of this page. You can also download the 'Statutory Membership Examination Guidance' document which contains detailed information on all aspects of the examination, including what supporting evidence you will need to provide when declaring your intention to sit.

Declarations expire in September in the year you intend to sit the examination. The deadline for declaring your intention to sit the exam is 31 December to allow time to process your declaration. 

Once your application has been approved you will be issued a letter which allows you to ‘see practice’ in the UK as part of your exam preparation.

Renewing your intention to sit

Some candidates may take longer than one year to prepare for the exam. Every September, exam candidates who have previously declared their intention to sit the exam are asked if they would like to renew their intention.

If you have previously submitted a declaration of intention to sit and would like to renew your intention, please complete the ‘Renewal of intention to sit’ form and email it to [email protected].

Applying to sit in an examination diet

If you have submitted a completed declaration of intention to sit, you will be eligible to apply to sit in the next examination. The application window for the exam is open from 1 October and will close at 5pm (GMT) on 14 January.

Candidates who have declared/renewed their intention to sit the exam will be provided with the necessary information and relevant application forms. As part of the exam application process all candidates must provide evidence of their professional good standing. For more detail on this please see ‘Good professional standing’.  

English language requirements

You must demonstrate that you can communicate in English at an appropriate level.

This can be demonstrated by taking either the International Language Testing System (IELTS) or the veterinary version of the Occupational English Test (OET). The required scores for these tests are shown in the table below:

Provider Average Score Component Scores
IELTS (Academic) 7.0 or higher

6.5 or higher in one component
7.0 or higher in all other components

OET (Veterinary) Grade B or higher C+ or higher in one component
B or higher in all other components

Candidates whose bachelor veterinary degree was taught and assessed entirely in English may be exempt from English language testing if appropriate evidence can be presented.

Exam dates

The written component of the exam will be held across a period of two weeks during April 2024. This component will be delivered remotely, using live in-person invigilation, meaning that you may attempt it using your own computer, from a suitable location of your choosing.

The OSCE will be held at the Harper Adams University, in the week commencing Monday 9 September 2024.

Visa requirements

Unfortunately, we cannot give advice on visa requirements or work permit status. 

For such advice, please contact the Home Office in plenty of time.  

Contact us

If you have a query about the Statutory Examination for Membership, please contact us stating where you qualified (university name and country) and the year in which you qualified.

E:  [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

Filter FAQs

Statutory Membership Examination

  • To work as a vet in the UK, you must be registered with the RCVS. To discover if your veterinary degree is recognised by the RCVS, please see the registration application page for veterinary surgeons.

    If the university that awarded your primary veterinary degree is not listed, then you will need to pass the Statutory Membership Examination before you can register.

  • First, you will need to submit a declaration of intention to sit. You can submit this at any point during the year and it is valid until the end of September. Please refer to the examination guidance for detailed information on what supporting evidence you need to provide at this stage.

    Only once you have submitted a declaration of intention to sit, along with all the necessary documentation, can you apply to sit the examination.

  • The annual deadline for exam applications is 14 January.

    Application forms will be provided to candidates who have submitted a declaration of intention to sit.

  • Yes, you must demonstrate that you can communicate in English at an appropriate level. If your primary veterinary degree was taught and assessed in English then you may be granted exemption from language testing.

    Candidates whose primary veterinary degree was not taught in English can demonstrate their English skills by taking either the academic version of the International Language Testing System (IELTS) or the veterinary version of the Occupational English Test (OET).

    Please see the examination guidance for more information about these requirements.

  • We only grant exemption from English language testing if a candidate’s primary veterinary degree was taught and assessed entirely in English. Pease refer to the guidance for how to apply for an exemption and what supporting evidence we accept.

  • The entry fee is £2,500.

    This includes the £2,200 examination fee and a non-refundable £300 administration charge.

  • If you withdraw before the application closing date, you will be refunded the £2,200 examination fee.

    Withdrawals made more than 28 days before the examination will receive half the examination fee: £1,100.

    If you withdraw 28 days or fewer before the first examination date, then you will not be entitled to a refund.

  • You may be eligible for a discretionary refund of some or all of the exam fee (excluding administration costs).

    You must submit your request in writing, along with documentary evidence to support the medical or compassionate grounds cited, no later than 6 days after the part of the examination that you missed.

  • If you fail the Code of Professional Conduct paper then you will have the opportunity to resit it within the same diet.

    We do not offer re-sits for the clinical written papers or the OSCE.

  • The examination guidance includes an extensive reading list covering the main subject areas, links to websites that give information about current legislation of relevance to veterinary surgeons, as well as some recommended veterinary journals and publications.

    Candidates are eligible for a special RCVS Knowledge library membership category. 

    Confirmed exam candidates will be given access to a formative quiz containing 110 questions in the same format and of the same standard you will be faced with in the written examination, this will be provided in the run up to the final exam dates.

  • Once you submit a completed declaration of intention to sit you will be eligible to ‘see practice’ in accordance with the provisions laid out in the Veterinary Surgeons Act.

    This affords you the opportunity to gain practical, clinical experience, as part of your preparation for the examination and is strongly recommended. Further information about the regulations around ‘seeing practice’ can be found in the examination guidance and on the website.


  • The examination consists of two components: a written examination and a practical examination (Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

    The written component consists of best-of-5 multiple-choice questions which will assess your clinical knowledge and will include an open-book paper assessing your familiarity with the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct.

    The OSCE will assess a range of practical skills. For more information on the format, please refer to section 6 of the guidance document.

  • At present there is one exam per year. The written component is normally held in Spring and is run remotely, allowing candidates to take the examination securely using their own computer from a suitable location of their choosing.


    The OSCE is held at Harper Adams University in Autumn.


    Specific dates are provided to candidates once they are available.

  • If you can demonstrate that you have been granted humanitarian protection by the British Home Office then you may be entitled to financial support, including support with examination fees. Please contact the examinations manager at [email protected] if you would like to apply for this assistance.