Frequently Asked Questions

What has changed?

The Nursing Council has changed the competence assessment requirements for internationally qualified nurses applying for registration in New Zealand.

All nurses need to have their documents verified and authenticated by CGFNS as the first step before applying to the Nursing Council.

All nurses need to complete the Welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand programme, which currently is two free online courses. The only exception is Australian nurses who have a different pathway to registration (see below).

Some nurses who apply for registration will be required by the Council to undergo an assessment of competence. That assessment will be completed in two parts:

  • A theoretical examination
  • This tests nursing knowledge and is taken online through our accredited provider Pearson VUE, at one of their exam centres, overseas or in New Zealand.

  • A clinical competence examination
  • This includes a three-hour clinical examination which is called an Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE). It is taken in person in New Zealand through our accredited provider Nurse Maude Association. The exam is held in purpose-designed facilities at the Nurse Maude Simulation and Assessment centre in Christchurch.

    Prior to the OSCE, there will be a two-day orientation and preparation course held at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. This must also be taken in person.

    If you are required to take a competence assessment, find out more here.

Why is there a new application process?

The Council has introduced the new process to

  • offer an objective, standardised, and consistent approach to assess competence
  • protect public safety by being objective and fair while requiring knowledge of New Zealand’s unique practice setting
  • uphold the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi by requiring culturally safe practice, examined in the OSCE
  • align with other international regulators taking a similar approach.

Do I need to do the 'Welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand' online programme?

It is a  Nursing Council requirement for internationally qualified nurses to complete the ‘Welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand’ online programme prior to becoming registered. 

The programme currently consists of two free online courses that will provide you with an introduction to culturally safe nursing practice in New Zealand and to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

You can find out more by clicking here and scrolling down to 'Welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand programme'. 

Are the English language assessment requirements changing?

No. There will be no change to the current English language requirements.

Further information about the current English language evidence pathways can be found here. Once on the page, scroll down to 'English Language'.

What happens if I applied for registration before the new system was put in place?

If you applied before the new system was put in place, (04 December 2023), and you are required to undergo a competence assessment, you may have the opportunity to take a Competence Assessment Programme.

Find more information here.

Is it the same process for Enrolled Nurses?

The Nursing Council is developing a dedicated pathway to registration for Enrolled Nurses and until that is ready, the following process is in place:

  1. Verify your documents through CGFNS, an external company.
  2. Find out more here.

  3. Apply for registration to the Council.
  4. You can only apply for registration to the Council AFTER you have had your documents verified by CGFNS. Read about our requirements here.

  5. The Council will then let you know what you need to do.

What if I am a nurse with an Australian practising certificate?

Nurses with a current Australian practising certificate have a separate process.

Under the TTMR agreement, you would apply to the Nursing Council here.

How much will this new application process cost?

The Nursing Council fee to process your application is $485 (New Zealand).

There are additional costs from external providers. Find out more information here.  

All fees paid are non-refundable.

Does CGFNS still have to verify my documents?

Yes, this is your first step.

CGFNS is the Nursing Council’s only accredited provider of verification services.

You will need to submit your documents and have them verified by CGFNS before you can begin your application to the Nursing Council for registration.

How do I check my CGFNS status?

Log in to your CGFNS applicant portal here.

Can I apply directly to the Nursing Council with all my documents?


You must first verify your documents with CGFNS before you can begin your application for registration with the Nursing Council.

How do I apply for Council registration?

After your documents have been verified and authenticated by CGFNS, an email will be sent to you from the Nursing Council inviting you to apply for registration.

Do I need to submit my documents to the Nursing Council?

CGFNS will send all the documents you have provided directly to the Nursing Council.

Do I need to complete a criminal record check?

Yes. The Nursing Council will tell you how and when to do this but for more information, click here, and scroll down to the Fitness to Practise requirement.

How long will registration take?

We are receiving high volumes of applications from internationally qualified nurses.

All applications are individually assessed and the length of the process varies depending on what is needed.

If the Council assesses your application and says you require a competence assessment, you will need to successfully complete a theoretical and a clinical examination as part of the registration process.

If we require further documentation from you or documents are missing from the application, the process will take longer as we follow up.

We also require all internationally qualified nurses to take the ‘Welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand’ online programme to introduce you to culturally safe nursing practice in a New Zealand setting, and to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. You then upload your completion certificates.

All IQNs also need to complete a criminal history check, as the Council needs to make sure nurses coming to practise in New Zealand are of good standing. That check needs to be completed before registration occurs.

Check the requirements to complete your application here.

You can track the progress of your application via MyIQN, the Council’s online portal.

Can I withdraw my application

You can withdraw your application at any stage.

However, all fees you have paid are non-refundable.