Applying with overseas registration

Nursing Council Requirements

The Nursing Council requires you to complete information that verifies your identity, nursing qualification, current overseas registration, English language competence and post-registration nursing practice hours. Our processes are designed to be as straightforward as possible and are able to be completed by you, the IQN applicant.

If you are intending to use an agent or third party to assist with your application for registration, please advise us of this and the details of the agent or third party. Please also provide the separate personal contact details of you, the IQN applicant.

There is a form for you to complete here which confirms the authority of the agent or third party to act on your behalf and their details. If applicable, email the completed form to [email protected]. Please advise us if you do withdraw from using an agent or third party.

Statutory Declarations

Please note there is a requirement to complete legal statutory declarations within your application. These declarations must be completed by yourself, the IQN applicant. They cannot be completed by an agent or third party. If a statutory declaration is completed by an agent or third party, your application will be unable to be processed.

All about the requirements

Click on the links to find out about all the Nursing Council requirements.

1. Documents to be verified by CGFNS, including:

You must be able to prove that you are who you say you are.

To prove your identity, you must provide notarised/certified colour copies of your current passport and one other form of identity document directly to CGFNS to verify your current name (with no abbreviations).

Acceptable forms of photo identification (ID) are:

  • Passports (required)
  • Driver’s License(s)
  • Other government-issued photo identification

To be acceptable, all photo IDs are required to include a clear photo.

Other acceptable forms of identification include:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Divorce certificates
  • Legal name change affidavits

Documents to support a change in name

If you have changed your name/s, you must provide notarised/certified copies of any names that appear on any of the documents required to support your application for registration with the Nursing Council.

All identity documents provided in support of the application for registration must be current at the date of application to CGFNS.

English Language Requirements

The most common way to provide evidence of your English language competence is to pass a Nursing Council-approved English language test. These include the Occupational English Test (OET) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic.

For OET, you must achieve a minimum score of 350 for reading, listening, and speaking; and a minimum score of 300 for writing.

For IELTS Academic, you must achieve a minimum score of 7 for reading, listening, and speaking; and a minimum score of 6.5 for writing.

You can achieve the minimum score in the English language tests over more than one sitting; however, the required score must be met within 12 months of first sitting the test and met within three years of your CGFNS report being transmitted to the Nursing Council.

Please note that the Nursing Council of New Zealand does not currently accept online computer-based tests. However, computer-based tests administered in an approved testing centre are accepted (this includes the OET on computer at an approved venue with the speaking sub-test that is hosted online).

English language evidence pathways

Some nurses educated or registered in certain countries can provide evidence of English language competence through their education or registration pathways. Eligibility for these pathways is at the discretion of the Council, but you will always be eligible for the above test-based pathway.

Full information on our English language policy and requirements is available in the guidance document below.

English Language Competence Policy Guidance
You may be invited to apply for an alternate English language evidence pathway by CGFNS if your CGFNS application appears to meet one or more of the following criteria:

Nursing Qualification

Your education that led to registration as a nurse was taught and examined in English in the United Kingdom, Singapore, Ireland, Canada, or the United States of America.

The Council may require you to provide evidence that you completed your nursing education in English, for example, a transcript from your education provider.


Nursing Registration

You have current nursing registration in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, or the United States of America that required you to pass an English language test.

The Council may require you to provide evidence of this.

English language evidence pathways are at the discretion of the Nursing Council

Each application for an alternate English language evidence pathway is assessed on an individual basis and will only be granted at the sole discretion of the Council. Additional evidence to support your application may be requested by the Council. Please note that assessing an application for an alternate English language evidence pathway may extend assessment timeframes. If your application is declined, you will be required to demonstrate language proficiency through an approved English language test.

To apply to be registered in New Zealand, you must currently be registered overseas as a nurse with a registration authority.

The Council will require information from overseas authorities where you have been registered and practised in the last 10 years.

The Nursing Council requires overseas nurses applying to register in New Zealand to have academic qualifications that are equivalent to New Zealand nursing qualifications.

As an Enrolled Nurse, you must have a Diploma in Enrolled Nursing or a comparable qualification to apply to become registered.

If you are a Registered Nurse, you will need a Bachelor of Nursing degree (or the equivalent) or a Master’s degree in nursing that led to your registration.

The Council may require additional information from you to assess how your diploma or degree/s compare against nursing qualifications in New Zealand.

You must provide a declaration to CGFNS that you have practised nursing for at least 1,800 hours.

It is important that you apply to CGFNS after you have achieved the required 1,800 clinical practice hours.

If you apply to CGFNS with less than the required 1,800 clinical practice hours your application to the Nursing Council will be delayed and further verified information will be required from you to support your application.

The Council may also require further information from you about your practice hours if they have not been in the last 10 years.

*If you have no post-registration experience at all, you are not eligible to apply for registration with the Nursing Council.

2. Nursing Council

You must be able to demonstrate that you are competent to practise in New Zealand.

The Council may require a nurse, who is registered overseas, to complete a competence assessment before we can grant New Zealand registration.

If you hold current registration in the UK, Ireland, Ontario, British Columbia, Singapore or the USA your application will be assessed by the Council and you may not be required to undertake the below examinations.

We will advise you if you need to do this after we assess your application.

1. Theoretical and clinical exam process

From 4 December 2023, an internationally qualified nurse who applies to NCNZ to become a Registered Nurse and who is required to undertake an assessment of competence, will need to successfully complete the following:

  • an online theoretical exam that tests nursing knowledge, taken at an accredited exam centre overseas or in New Zealand.
  • and
  • a two-day orientation and preparation course followed by a three-hour clinical examination known as an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). These will take place in person in New Zealand at an accredited centre.

2. Competence Assessment Programmes (CAPs)

An internationally qualified nurse who has applied to NCNZ before 4 December 2023, and is required to undertake an assessment of competence, will need to successfully complete a Competence Assessment Programme (CAP).

The CAP prepares overseas nurses for the nursing role and healthcare context of New Zealand, which is different to many other countries.

CAPs are generally six to twelve weeks long and include theory and clinical components.

You can find out more about Competence Assessment Programmes here.

There will be a transition phase where we have both the CAPs and the examination process running at the same time throughout 2024 and into 2025.

Enrolled Nurses

Enrolled Nurses can continue to apply to become registered and, if directed to, will undertake a competence assessment programme (CAP).

This online programme currently consists of two free online courses which you must complete to become registered.

The courses provide an introduction to culturally safe nursing practice in New Zealand and to Te Tiriti o Waitangi:

  • Ngā Paerewa Te Tiriti Module 1
  • and
  • Foundations in cultural competence.

Course information and how to apply

1. Ngā Paerewa Te Tiriti Module 1

This course includes:

  • An introduction to Ngā Paerewa Health and Disability Service
  • An introduction to the articles and principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and how they apply to Ngā Paerewa
  • An explanation of equity, cultural safety and Te Ao Māori
  • An Introduction to Pae Ora Healthy Futures
  • An explanation of how Ngā Paerewa fits into Pae Ora

2. Foundations in Cultural Competence

This course includes:

  • What is Culture?
  • NZ History and Legislation
  • Making a difference to all patients
  • Health literacy

How to access the courses:


  • Create a profile
  • Log into your account
  • Search for and enrol in:
    • Ngā Paerewa Te Tiriti Module 1
    • Foundations in Cultural Competence

When you’ve completed the courses:

You are encouraged to complete the two online courses as soon as possible to avoid any delays in your registration.

When you have successfully completed the short quiz at the end of each course, you will receive a certificate of completion. Both certificates must be provided to the Nursing Council via the MyIQN portal.

You can supply the completed certificates via the progress/communication tab on your MyIQN portal.


  • If you have not received a registration email or a reset password email, check your email junk/spam folder
  • For lost or forgotten username and/or password, please follow the prompts on the login screen.
  • If you are unable to find the courses, please copy and paste the title of each course (Ngā Paerewa Module 1 and Foundations in Cultural Competence) into the search function of learnonline
  • For technical queries, please log tickets by emailing: [email protected]

You must be able to show you are of good standing to practise nursing in New Zealand.

You will be required to undergo a criminal history check that will cover countries you have lived in for 12 months or more within the last seven years.

The check will be done at your cost by Fit2Work, an external agency that is our designated provider of these checks.

If you have lived in New Zealand for six months or more, you are required to complete a criminal history check through the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).

The check will only be asked for once you are invited to apply to register, via MyIQN.

Link to apply

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