International registration

Note on timeframes

We're currently processing a lot of registration applications. At the moment, we estimate it will take us 40 days from the time we receive your full and complete application, to process it. We'll regularly update your file on our online tracker. The tracker is the quickest way to find out where your application is up to, and whether you need to give us more information.

The requirements for New Zealand registration

The international registration process

The iqn process diagram


Australian applicants

If you hold current registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), you can apply for New Zealand registration under the  Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997.

For downloadable forms, see the downloads box on the right of this page.

If you have any questions or require an application pack to be posted to you, please contact the Council with your full name and postal address:

The requirements for New Zealand registration

If you are a nurse who is registered overseas, and you want to nurse in New Zealand, you must meet our requirements. There are 7 requirements which help us make sure you are safe, competent and well-prepared to nurse in New Zealand.

 1. You must prove your identity

We need to check you are who you say you are. We check this by looking at certified copies of your identity documents.

2.  You must have completed an appropriate nursing qualification

We need to check you're qualified in nursing to the right standard. This means you must hold a nursing qualification that is equivalent to level 7 or 8 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

3. You must have a high standard of written and spoken English

We need to make sure you can effectively communicate with your patients, colleagues, employers and other medical professionals. You can take the OET or the IELTS Academic Test to prove this. The minimum score you must achieve is:

OET test: at least B for each band (listening, reading, writing, speaking)

IELTS Academic test: at least 7.0 for each band (listening, reading, writing, speaking)

You can achieve these results in a single test, or across several tests, if you sit them within 12 months of the first test, and using the same candidate number. Your results on these tests must be less than 3 years old when you apply for registration.

If you are already registered in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada or the United States of America, you can request a waiver for the English language requirement. Please complete this form once you have applied. 

English language testing waiver form (PDF, 270 KB)

 4. You must hold current registration overseas

We need to check you hold current registration in another country. We'll check this by asking for information from your nursing board or professional licensing body in the country you last nursed in.

5. You must demonstrate fitness to practise

We need to see if you have a criminal record, and if you do, what is on it. Being convicted of an offense is not always a barrier to New Zealand registration - if you have a criminal record and would like to talk to us about it before you apply, please email and we can advise you.

 6. You must demonstrate competence to practise in the New Zealand context

Many nurses who have been registered overseas will need to complete a Competency Assessment Programme (CAP) before we can grant New Zealand registration. The CAP programme prepares overseas-trained nurses for the registered nurse role and healthcare context of New Zealand, which is different to many other countries. More about CAP programmes

If you hold current registration in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Singapore, the United States of America or Canada, you probably won't have to complete a CAP programme. This is because the registered nurse role and healthcare context in these countries is similar to New Zealand.

7. You must have two years' post-registration experience

We need to check you have at least two years' experience working as a registered nurse overseas. Your previous employer must confirm in writing, how many years' nursing experience you have had.

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