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How to register with a GP surgery

Anyone in England can register with a GP surgery to access NHS services. It's free to register.

You do not need proof of address or immigration status, ID or an NHS number.

GP surgeries are usually the first contact if you have a health problem. They can treat many conditions and give health advice. They can also refer you to other NHS services.

How it works

Most people need to register with a surgery close to where they live.

You can use the Find a GP service to look for a surgery.

In the search results you can see:

  • if a GP surgery is currently accepting patients
  • reception opening times
  • reviews of the surgery

Once you've chosen a surgery, you'll need to fill in a registration form. These are usually available on:

  • the NHS App
  • the GP surgery's website
  • the GP surgery's profile page on the NHS website (Find a GP)

You can also get a paper form from the surgery.

It's also possible to register with a GP surgery outside your local area.

Do I need ID or proof of address?

No, you do not need ID, an NHS number or proof of address to register.

Some GP surgeries ask for supporting documentation as it can:

  • help the surgery find your medical records or transfer them from your current GP
  • confirm that you live in the surgery's area (or "practice boundary") if they do not accept patients from outside this area

If you do not have a permanent address you can still register using a temporary address or the address of the GP surgery.

Can a GP surgery refuse to register me?

A GP surgery can refuse to register you if:

  • they're not accepting new patients
  • you live outside their area and they only accept patients inside this area
  • you have been removed from that surgery before

If a GP surgery refuses to register you, they must write to you within 14 days explaining why.


If you have problems registering with a GP surgery, contact:

Registering children

Children under 16 need to be registered by their parent or guardian. This usually means filling in a separate form. You may also be asked to provide a form of ID to prove that you're their parent or guardian.

If you have a personal child health record (red book) from the birth of your child, it will help to provide this.

Changing GP surgeries

You can change your GP surgery if you need to.

This might be because:

  • you've moved
  • you've had problems with your current GP surgery
  • you were removed from the patient list

When you register with a new GP surgery, you'll usually get a message to tell you your registration has been successful.

Your medical records will be transferred from your old GP. This can take up to 28 days.

Important: Changing your address

You should tell your GP surgery if you change your address.

If you do not tell your GP that you've moved there's a risk that:

  • NHS letters giving appointment dates or test results go to the wrong address
  • your GP surgery may not be able to provide home visits or other services if you move outside their area

If you register with a new GP, they will let your old GP know you've moved.

Registering as a temporary resident

You can register as a temporary resident with a GP surgery for up to 3 months. This can be helpful if you're living away from home but do not want to change your home GP surgery.

To register you'll need to fill out a temporary services form (GMS3), available from GP surgeries.

After 3 months, you'll have to reapply to register as a temporary resident or become a permanent patient.

You may also be able to register as a temporary resident if you are visiting from abroad.

If your application is refused, you can still receive any treatment you need immediately for up to 14 days.

Registering someone you care for under the Mental Capacity Act

If someone over 16 is unable to register with a GP because they cannot make decisions about their care, registration can be done by:

  • a relative
  • the main carer
  • a lasting power of attorney
  • a person appointed by a court under the Mental Capacity Act

Page last reviewed: 12 April 2023
Next review due: 12 April 2026