Annual practising certificates (APCs)
Anyone who is practising as a nurse must hold a practising certificate. Nurses who practise without a practising certificate may be referred to a professional conduct committee.
Applications for practising certificates are always considered on an individual basis. If you have any questions about your eligibility or whether you require a practising certificate in your current role, please contact us.
Please use the links in the right hand box on this page to renew your APC online.
Definition of practising
The Council is required to define practising, to determine whether a nurse has maintained the required standard of continuing competence and whether a nurse requires a practising certificate.
Nursing practice is using nursing knowledge in a direct relationship with clients or working in nursing management, nursing administration, nursing education, nursing research, nursing professional advice or nursing policy development roles, which impact on public safety.
This means that a person who has the responsibilities of a nurse as defined by the Nursing Council scopes of practice and is using his or her nursing knowledge in a direct relationship with clients should hold a practising certificate.
If a nurse is employed in one of the other roles set out in the definition, he or she may not require a practising certificate unless his or her role impacts on public safety.
The purpose of this definition is to ensure that nurses who are in a direct nursing relationship with clients or whose role impacts on public safety comply with the requirements of the Act. The Act aims to ensure that nurses have maintained the required standard of competence to protect public safety, such as ongoing professional development and the completion of the required number of hours of practice.
The definition and its requirements do not extend to nurses who no longer have nursing responsibilities but who choose to continue working in the health care sector. The definition may include some practitioners who are working as nurses but whose employers have not previously required them to hold practising certificates.
APCs are issued in one-year cycles depending on the nurse’s birth date (see the table below).
|Birthday grouping||Annual renewal date||Application forms sent|
|1 Apr–30 June||1 July||Late April|
|1 July–30 Sept||1 October||Late July|
|1 Oct–31 Dec||1 January||Late October|
|1 Jan–31 Mar||1 April||Late January|
If a nurse returns to work outside her or his usual cycle, the fee payable is reduced and a practising certificate is issued for a shorter period of time. This allows a nurse to work until she or he comes back into the correct APC cycle.
Nurses who do not apply for their next APC before their current APC expires may be working without a current APC. This is not permitted under the Act and may lead to disciplinary action.
To protect public safety, employers also have a responsibility to ensure that the nurses in their workplace hold current APCs.
If you are newly registered, a practising certificate will be issued that will be valid from the quarter of the year in which it is issued until your annual renewal date (as shown in the chart above). This will be valid for either:
- 3 months (with a fee of NZ$27.50); or
- 6 months (with a fee of NZ$55.00); or
- 9 months (with a fee of NZ$82.50); or
- 12 months (with a fee of NZ$110.00).
All fees quoted include the compulsory disciplinary levy and GST.
Frequently asked questions
Q: How long does it take to receive my APC once I have submitted my online application?
A: Your APC registration details will appear on the Online Register within 24 hours.
You should receive your plastic APC card within 5–10 working days. If you do not receive your card within this timeframe, please email: email@example.com
Q: What are the options for payment?
A: Payment can be made by either Credit Card or online banking. If you choose to make payment by online banking please note your internet browser will need to one of these versions or higher:
- Internet Explorer (IE) – 8 or 9
- Firefox – 12.0
- Chrome - 21.0.1180.75
- Opera - 11.61
- Safari - 5.1.2
An older browser may let you complete the online form but will not allow for online banking. Payment by credit card is not restricted by your internet browser version.
Note: For step by step instructions on how to pay for your online Annual Practising Certificate with Account to Account (online banking), please read the instructions below:
Q: Will my bank allow for me to make a payment to the Nursing Council?
A: Online banking is available for the following banks:
Q: Why is my bank no longer appearing as one of the banks to complete my online payment?
A: Connections with hosting banks and the merchant bank (i.e. DPS) can from time to time go down, or your bank could be experiencing time out or routine maintenance (i.e outages). If your bank is not showing on the list, please try again in 24 hours. Alternatively select the other payment method ‘credit card’. If you continue to have these errors please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: There is a mistake in my details on the online application form. How do I correct this?
A: It depends on the type of information that needs to be corrected. You can change your address, employer and workforce planning details by updating the details on the online application form.
If any other details need to be changed (such as your scope of practice), please email: email@example.com
Q: Do I have to complete the workforce planning questions?
A: The information you provide in these questions helps to create a detailed demographic profile of the nursing workforce – covering Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses and Enrolled Nurses. This is important for planning workforce and health service delivery. The workforce planning questions are not compulsory, but it is greatly appreciated if you do take the time to complete these questions.
For any other questions not covered here, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org