Returning to practice

Nurse with baby

The information in this section is for nurses who are planning to return to practice after a break in service. For more information, see the documents in the right hand downloads box on this page.

For more information, please contact us

More than five years away from practice

If you have not practised nursing in the last five years, you must successfully complete a competence assessment programme before applying for your annual practising certificate (section 27(1)(a) and (d) of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003).  

Competence Assessment Programmes March 2018 (Word 2007, 118 KB)


Less than five years away from practice

If you have not practised nursing for less than five years, please contact us to request an APC application pack. 

Please ensure you have your full name, NZ registration number and date of birth when contacting the Nursing Council, and also ensure we have a current postal address to which to send your application pack.

Guidelines for Competence Assessment (PDF, 128 KB)

Returning to New Zealand

If you are overseas and planning to return to New Zealand, you will need to support your application for an annual practising certificate by: 

  • requesting an APC application pack from the Nursing Council (you will need to provide your full name, your New Zealand registration number, your date of birth and your current postal address)
  • providing evidence of your employment hours, if in the last three years you have completed a minimum of 450 hours of nursing practice outside New Zealand. This evidence could be an employment letter confirming where you have been employed and the number of hours you worked. The letter must be on the employer's letterhead and include the contact details of the person who wrote it. The Council will also accept pay slips (either originals or certified copies) as long as they show the number of hours practised
  • providing a Letter of Good Standing or Verification of Good Standing from the overseas regulatory authority with which you have been registered. This document will state the period during which you were registered and affirm that no disciplinary action has or is to be taken against you (i.e., you are of good standing). The regulatory authority needs to send this document directly to the Nursing Council of New Zealand. The Council will not issue a full APC until this information has been received.

In some cases a regulatory authority may provide an online verification check. Please contact the Council to find out if the online verification check is sufficient.

If you have practised in a country that has no regulatory authority, please contact the New Zealand registration team at

The Council also requires you to have completed a minimum of 60 hours of professional development in the last three years. You do not have to provide evidence of this with your application. The Council conducts recertification audits on 5% of nurses each year and you will be required to provide evidence of professional development at the time of audit.

If you do not meet the required nursing practice or development hours outlined above, you can still apply for an annual practising certificate. 

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