Exempt persons status

Guidance on exempt person status

This guidance is current as of April 2016.  This is a complicated area of law and the GDC recommend that you obtain independent legal advice on your status as an exempt person.
Please note that rights conferred by Directive 2004/38/EC do not extend to a substantive right to have professional qualifications recognised. Even if you are entitled to be treated as an exempt person, this does not mean that you are entitled to automatic recognition of your qualifications. The recognition of professional qualifications for dentists and dental care professionals across the EU is covered by Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications.
 
Therefore, in the event you can demonstrate exempt person status, this does not lead to automatic registration and does not “exempt” you from the ORE. It gives you the option of applying under the route of an individual assessment in addition to applying for the ORE.

Introduction

Under the Dentists Act 1984 (as amended), certain routes to registration with the GDC (either as a dentist or as a dental care professional) are only available to applicants who can demonstrate that they are an exempt person under the Act. To qualify as an exempt person in relation to the professions of dentistry or in relation to a profession complementary to dentistry you must be either be:-

  • a national of an EEA state (other than the United Kingdom) or Switzerland;
  • a national of the United Kingdom who is seeking access to, or is pursuing, the profession by virtue of an enforceable EU; or
  • a person who is not a national of an EEA state or Switzerland but who is, by virtue of an enforceable EU right, entitled to be treated, for the purposes of access to and pursuit of the profession, no less favourably than a national of an EEA State or Switzerland. 

Directive 2004/38/EC governs the rights of citizens of the EU and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the member states. It applies to all EU citizens who move to, or reside in a member state other than that of which they are a national, and to their family members.

The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 implement Directive 2004/38/EC in the UK and extend it to citizens of the EEA and Switzerland.

The EEA member states are:

Austria
Greece
Norway
Belgium
Hungary
Poland
Bulgaria
Iceland
Portugal
Croatia
Ireland
Romania
Cyprus
Italy
Slovakia
Czech Republic
Latvia
Slovenia
Denmark
Lichtenstein
Spain
Estonia
Lithuania
Sweden
Finland
Luxembourg
United Kingdom
France
Malta
 
Germany
The Netherlands
 

 

Applicants to the GDC may seek to rely on the Directive in order to demonstrate that they are seeking access to, or pursuing, the profession of dentistry or a profe​ssion complementary to dentistry by virtue of an enforceable EU right​.

This guidance explains the circumstances under which an applicant to the GDC is entitled to be treated as an exempt person. It also contains suggestions for the documents required by the GDC; this is not an exhaustive list and the responsibility lies with you to provide sufficient evidence to the GDC to prove this entitlement. 

Please note that this guidance does not constitute legal advice. This is a complex and developing area of law which is subject to change and if you have any questions about your rights under European law, you are advised to consult an appropriately qualified lawyer. We cannot provide legal advice. 

I am a national of an EEA State (other than the United Kingdom) or Switzerland – how to I demonstrate that I am an exempt person?

If you are a national of an EEA state or Switzerland you are required to provide a valid national identity card or passport issued by an EEA state or Switzerland.

I am a UK national - am I an exempt person?

 
If you are a UK national, you will only qualify as an exempt person if you can demonstrate that you are seeking access to or are pursuing the profession by virtue of an enforceable EU right. In order to demonstrate this, you will need to provide the GDC with documentary evidence that:

 
  1. You hold an appropriate European diploma as defined in Schedule 2 to the Act , or hold a qualification which entitles you to be assessed under the General System Regulations ; AND/OR 
  2. ​You are (or were) residing in another EEA state or in Switzerland as either a worker, self-employed person, student or self-sufficient person, or pursuant to the three month right to reside under Directive 2004/38/EC; AND/OR
  3. You have a different enforceable EU right. 
 
You are required to provide the GDC with:-
  • ​A certified copy of your valid UK passport; and
  • Proof of residency (e.g. a registration certificate, tenancy agreement or residence card issued by another EEA state or Switzerland proving your residence in that state for at least three consecutive months) OR proof of the other enforceable EU right (such as qualification) on which you are relying; and (if relevant) 
  • Either: 
    • ​Proof of employment (e.g. a letter from an employer or certificate of employment) or,
    • Proof of self-employment (e.g. a set of self-employed accounts or letter from an accountant) or
    • Proof of student status (e.g. a letter from the educational establishment attesting to attendance,   enrolment or completion of a course), or 
    • Proof of self-sufficient residence in another EEA state or Switzerland, or of other residence for no less than three months in another EEA state or Switzerland.

Please note: If the EEA national from who you derive your rights is a UK national, you will also be required to provide evidence of his/her exempt person status (in accordance with the paragraph).

 

I am a non-EEA/non-Swiss national - am I an exempt person?

If you are not a national of an EEA state or Switzerland you will only qualify as an exempt person if you can demonstrate that you are, by virtue of an enforceable EU right, entitled to be treated no less favourably than a national of an EEA state or Switzerland for the purposes of access to and pursuit of the profession of dentistry or a profession complimentary to dentistry. In order to do so, you will need to provide the GDC with documentary evidence that you fall within one of the following categories:-

 
You are either: 
i.   the spouse or registered partner of an EEA/Swiss national, or
ii.  the direct descendant under the age of 21, dependent, or
     dependant relative in the ascending line of an EEA/Swiss national
     or of their spouse or partner, or
iii.  an “extended family member” of an EEA/Swiss national (as
     defined in the Immigration (European Economic Area)
     Regulations 2006) AND

You are accompanying or joining an EEA/Swiss national who is residing in the UK either as a worker, as a self-employed person, as a student, as a self-sufficient person, or pursuant to the three month right to reside under Directive 2004/38/EC. OR

 
You are a person previously falling into one of the categories above who has retained their rights under Directive 2004/38/EC rights following the death or departure of the EEA/Swiss national from the UK or following divorce, annulment of marriage or termination of the civil partnership, under the conditions described in Articles 12 - 13 of Directive 2004/38/EC.
 
In order to demonstrate to the GDC that you fall within one of the categories above, you will also need to provide the GDC with the relevant documents, depending on your relationship with the EEA/Swiss national from whom you derive your rights. It is your responsibility to obtain the necessary documentation from the appropriate bodies in another EEA state/Switzerland.

 
Please note: If the EEA national from whom you derive your rights is a UK national, you will also be required to provide evidence of his/her exempt person status.
 
Please refer to our guidance document for further information.
 

Working in the UK

Please note that if you are the family member of an EEA national who has been granted registration by the GDC, you may still require clearance to work in the UK. We are unable to provide advice on this. For advice please contact the Home Office UK Border Agency.

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