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The Health Regulatory Authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

  • Represented by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Department of Health-Abu Dhabi and Dubai Health Authority (DHA) & these Health Regulatory Authorities in the UAE shall be referred to as the Authorities.
  • Privileges:
    • Privileging is the process by which specific duties are granted by the facility Medical Director to healthcare professionals.
    • These privileges are limited by the professional’s license, experience and competence as well as the infrastructure of the health facility he/she works in and do not require going through any online licensing procedure except for the two below mentioned specialties:

DHA Professional Licensing/Dubai health authority license

  • The Unified Healthcare Professional Qualification Requirements (PQR) is a standardized licensing document developed by UAE health authorities; Ministry of Health and Prevention, Department of Health – Abu Dhabi and Dubai Health Authority to set out the necessary requirements for licensure of healthcare professionals opting to practice in UAE in accordance with the federal laws and international best practices and standards.

Steps to get the DHA professional license:

dma1 All you need to know about DHA Professional Licensing Exam (Dubai)

  • Step 1: the self-assessment tool: self-assessment portal.
  • Step 2: create a Sheryan account: DHA “Single Sign-up” portal.
  • Step 3: the PSV AND CBT assessment: Those who are eligible for the DHA license in Dubai should get their Primary Source Verification (PSV) done and clear the CBT assessment (if required).
  • Step 4: get registered: “Register a Professional”
  • Step 5: schedule oral assessment: the DHA may require you to take an oral assessment depending on the professional healthcare position you apply for.
  • Step 6: activate the professional license:  you will be a registered DHA professional once you pass the oral assessment & activate your DHA professional license: DHA “Single Sign On” portal.
  • Documents for initial processing according to the DHA license requirements:
    1. A recent photograph (passport size)
    2. Copy of your valid passport
    3. Your educational qualifications
    4. Your experience certificates
    5. Practice license or registration
    6. The Good Standing Certificate (GSC)
    7. A 2-year surgical logbook (for surgeons)
    8. A medical fitness test in case the applicant is aged 65 and above. You can get this done at any of the visa medical centres in Dubai.
  •  Documents to be submitted when your DHA license application is approved:
    1. An offer letter from your recruiting facility
    2. A malpractice insurance certificate from your recruiting facility

Licensure General Requirements

  • Applicants must fulfill all the following requirements in order to qualify for licensure:
  • Educational Qualifications
    1. Educational programs must be nationally accredited.
    2. Qualifications must be issued by institutions/ colleges recognized in home country.
    3. At the entry level, minimum qualification requirement is high school certificate as per country specific education.
    4. The Authorities will evaluate and accept qualifications in accordance to the following criteria:
    5. The country and institution from which the qualification was awarded.
    6. The level of national /international recognition of the qualification.
    7. The duration and content of study, and the presence of clinical practice/ practical training.
    8. Qualifications acquired through honorary nature, correspondence or distance learning are not counted towards the PQR requirements.
    9. Post qualifications/ sub-specialty qualifications attained must be from one of the recognized countries and relevant to the Primary specialty.
    10. Qualifications not mentioned in this document may be evaluated and reviewed by the Authorities joint committee who may grant the applicant with the appropriate title
  • Professional Experience
    1. Internship
      • All physicians and dentists are required to successfully complete one (1) year internship post- graduation.
      • For physicians and dentists with no evidence of completion of internship; an additional two (2) years’ experience is required.
      • Certain programs with the internship being part of the undergraduate training. No internship postgraduation is required.
    2. Experience
      • The applicant’s experience must be relevant to the title applied for, and must have been accomplished in an appropriate setting licensed by the health regulatory authority in the country of practice.
      • The applicant’s experience must be Hands on clinical experience gained by a licensed healthcare professional during a salaried employment/contractual period and it excludes volunteer jobs, Observership, or clinical attachment.
      • Non UAE nationals:
        • Graduates from UAE universities: are exempted from experience post internship/training.
        • Graduates from non UAE universities: are required to fulfill experience as per relevant titles according to the PQR.
  • Professional License and Good Standing Status
    1. The applicant must have a valid professional license to practice, or registration (Where applicable) from home country and/or country of last employment.
    2. The validity of the license/registration (Where applicable) should cover the minimum required experiences for the applied title.
    3. The applicant shall provide Good Standing Certificate GSC that meets the following requirements:
    4. Valid and not older than six (6) months at the time of application for licensure covering the minimum required experiences for the applied title.
    5. Issued by the health regulatory authority in the country(s) of last employment. In countries that lack regulatory bodies GSC may be accepted if issued officially from last employer.
    6. The Authorities may request more evidence or conduct investigations if deemed necessary to prove the status of good conduct of the healthcare professional.
    7. The applicant must declare that he/she has never been convicted with any legal cases, medical malpractice during his/her practice of the healthcare profession or he/she is currently under investigation.
  • Primary Source Verification
    1. The documents required for licensing shall be verified directly from the original or primary source.
    2. These documents include but not limited to: educational qualification(s), experience certificate(s), professional license(s) and/or any other documents deemed necessary by the Authorities.
  • Assessment (DHA license exam/DHA professional license exam)
    1. UAE nationals are exempted from the Authority examinations, conditions may apply in accordance to Authority standards
    2. Healthcare Professionals are required to pass the Authority’s assessment in order to obtain the professional license in the UAE.
    3. The mode of assessment shall depend on the healthcare professional’s title and may include but not limited to: written, oral, OSCE, etc.
    4. While applying for the assessment, applicant needs to consider the following:
      • All assessments will be conducted in English language and no translator is allowed to attend the oral assessment.
      • Oral assessment consist of minimum five (5) different scenarios/questions in areas related to the specialty or as deemed necessary by the examining panel.
      • The applicant is granted a total of three (3) attempts to pass the assessment across the Authorities.
      • The applicant is allowed to reapply if additional Recognized Certificate/qualification as per the published unified PQR stipulated herein is obtained.
      • After the third attempt the applicant is not allowed to apply for a lower or equivalent title.
      • The applicant must declare the number of assessment attempts he/she has undertaken across the Authorities.
      • A list of the failed candidates after three (3) attempts shall be shared among the Authorities on regular basis.
      • Assessments are not applicable for UAE nationals who meet the PQR requirements for the applied title.
  • Exam Equivalency Criteria
    1. Healthcare professionals who successfully completed certain international examinations and/or hold an active registration/license to practice with certain regulatory bodies will be exempted from the assessment required to obtain the professional license (Exam Equivalency Criteria).
    2. In case of assessment exemption, the scope of exemption is limited to assessment requirements and does not apply to any other requirements for licensure such as credentialing, experience, PSV, etc.
  • Discontinuity of Practice
    1. Healthcare professionals who have an interruption of clinical practice exceeding two (2) years and opting to be licensed in the UAE must follow the CME/CPD requirements below.
    2. All CME/CPD credits must be related to practice specialty of the healthcare professional, and according to the CME/CPD specific requirements of the Authorities.
    3. All applicants are required to complete a clinical training program accredited by Regulatory Authority in the specialty field.
    4. All clinical training programs shall be carried out in an approved practice setting by the Authorities.
      All applicants (Apart from UAE nationals) after completion of CME/CPD credits and clinical training program are required to pass the Authorities licensure assessment to obtain the license to practice; this does not apply to those whose exams are valid in accordance to the exam validity policy.
    5. In general Non UAE nationals will not be able to apply for a license if they have a gap of clinical practice for more than 5 years (and more than 10 years for UAE nationals)

Physicians Licensure Requirements

  1. Must be graduates from an allopathic Medical School/College listed in the Avicenna Directory of Medical schools published by the World Health Organization (WHO) or the International Medical Education Directory (IMED) of the Foundation for the Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER).
  2. For graduates from the UAE universities, the program and university must be accredited by the Ministry of Education (MOE/NQA).
  3. Graduates with basic degree in Osteopathy opting for licensure as specialists or consultants will be accepted if their specialization is obtained from one of the following:
    • American Board of Medical Specialties
    • Certificates of Specializations of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  4. All Physicians are required to successfully complete one year i.e. 12 month’s internship post-graduation.
  5. Applicants must hold a valid License/Registration to practice in their home country and/or country of last employment (Where applicable).
  6. Experience in the following specialties will be accepted as GP experience
    1. Emergency Medicine
    2. Family Medicine
    3. General Surgery
    4. Internal Medicine
    5. Obstetrics and Gynecology
    6. Pediatrics
  7. Applicants accepted into the Authorities’ Approved Residency Programs will be granted the licensure title “Resident”.
  8. A recognized specialty certificates that is listed in the current PQR will be accepted with the following conditions:
    • Must be obtained after a full-time structured clinical residency program of minimum three (3) years course duration.
    • Clinical Master degree of minimum two (2) years of full time course duration.
    • Clinical PhD of minimum three (3) years course duration of full time course duration.
  9. Specialization certificates with stated validity period will not be considered if invalid at the time of application.
  10. Specialists with Tier 1 or 2 qualifications are not required to have experience post qualification in the specialty field.
  11. The Authority recognized clinical programs in Public Health Medicine /Community Medicine shall be the Australasian Fellowship of the Royal College, the Canadian specialization certificate of the RCPS or CEPC, the UK and Ireland CCT and CSST, the American Board of medical specialties and Fellowship of the College of Public Health Medicine of South Africa.
  12. Qualifications not mentioned in this document may be evaluated and reviewed by the Authorities joint committee who may grant the applicant with the appropriate title.
  13. Special Considerations: Experience
    1. Graduates from the UAE universities: exempt from experience post internship.
    2. Graduates from non UAE universities: are required to fulfill experience as per their relevant titles
      according to the PQR.
  • Credentialing: The following standard will apply to the UAE national physicians who started post graduate training prior to the publication of this PQR:
    1. If the qualification obtained is moved to a lower tier in the new PQR, then the previous credentialing criteria will apply.
    2. If the experience required is reduced in this current PQR, then the new criteria will be applied.
  • Click here for the complete details of PQR
  • Click here for the Self-assessment Tool

Computer-Based Testing/CBT Assessment Guideline for physicians (DHA license exam/DHA professional license exam)

  • Guideline Preview
    1. Computer Based Testing (CBT), or online assessment, is conducted by DHA for evaluating professionals applying for a healthcare license in certain specialties to practice in the Emirate of Dubai.
    2. CBTs are managed and run by our partner “Prometric” company through their worldwide network of 8,000 test centers in more than 160 countries.
    3. All exams’ contents are developed and validated by Subject Matter Experts. The contents are updated on a frequent basis.
    4. Specialties not listed in the guideline will go through Oral Assessment (e.g. Consultant titles for Physicians and Dentists).
    5. DHA reserves the right to activate or de-activate a specialty assessment, change the assessment content, the exam format or the pass score without an update in the content of this document.
      • Exam format: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs).
      • Exam result: Pass or Fail only which can be accessed from applicant’s account in Sheryan. The applicant score will not be shared.
      • Exam Exemption: Based on the PQR criteria and DHA Licensing Healthcare Professionals policy.
  • Exam for General Practice:
    • Duration: 165 minutes
    • Number of Questions: 150
    • Code: GENPR
    • Fee: USD280
    • Pass Score: 60%
    • Exam Coverage:
      1. Chronic Diseases
      2. Acute and/or Common Medical Problems
      3. Common Pediatric Problems
      4. Women Health
      5. Emergency Problems
      6. Common Surgical Problems
      7. Common Psychiatric Problems
      8. Common Eye and ENT Problems
      9. Common Derma Problems
      10. Basic Epidemiology and EBM Concepts
      11. Family Medicine Concepts
      12. Screening and Periodic Health Examination
    • Recommended books:
      1. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, Latest Edition, Saunders (Elsevier).
      2. Primary Care Medicine, Latest Edition, Goroll and Mulley.
      3. The Johns Hopkins Manual of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Latest Edition Johns Hopkins Institute.
      4. Harrison’s Principles of Internal medicine, Latest Edition, McGraw-Hill.
      5. Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties, Latest Edition, Collier and Longmore.
      6. Psychiatry for Primary Care Physicians, Latest Edition, Goldman, Wise, and Brody.
      7. Primary Care Medicine: Office Evaluation and Management of the Adult Patient, Latest Edition.

Application & registration for the Healthcare Professional Services

  1.  New applicants for Healthcare Professional Services
  2. Registered Professionals: 

Also Watch :

  • How to get DHA license for Doctors in Dubai? in the youtube channel “Dr.Safia”


Also read:

  1. How To Get A Medical License To Practice In Dubai
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