Internationally Qualified Nurses

You may apply to become registered as a nurse in New Zealand if you are currently registered with an overseas regulatory authority and meet Nursing Council requirements.

If you are a nurse with a current practising certificate in Australia, and you want to apply to register in New Zealand, click here.

For other internationally qualified nurses, the Nursing Council has changed its application process for Registered Nurses, as below.

All nurses are required to provide documents on their identity, registration, qualifications, and post-registration nursing experience, and demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively in English. In addition, if you apply to register and the Council says a competence assessment is needed, you must successfully complete the following:

  • an online theoretical exam that tests your 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 exam known as an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Exam). These will take place in person in New Zealand at an accredited centre.

NOTE: You can only apply to be registered by the Nursing Council after your documents have been verified. See the step-by-step process opposite.

Transition phase

Registered Nurses who applied to the Council before 4 Dec 2023 may be required to complete a competence assessment programme (CAP). Find out more here.

The Council is developing a dedicated pathway to registration for Enrolled Nurses, and until that is in place, ENs can continue to apply under the existing competence assessment system.

There will be a transition phase where the Council runs both the existing systems of competence assessment programmes (CAPs) and the competence examination process. It is anticipated this transition will last through 2024 and into 2025. To find out more about the process, read our FAQs.

If you have confirmed employment in New Zealand, please email [email protected].

If you would like to check your application, log into MyIQN here.

Timeframe for assessment

The Nursing Council is experiencing high volumes of applications from internationally qualified nurses. The length of time it takes to process these varies depending, for example, on whether a competence assessment or further documents are needed or whether all the requirements are met. We will be in contact with you about next steps within approximately three months from the date you submit your application to the Council.

This is separate from, and does not include, the time it takes CGFNS (see opposite) to verify your documentation.

IQN step by step process

1. Verify your documents with CGFNS (external company) including your:

  • identity
  • current registration with an overseas authority
  • nursing qualification equivalent to NZ qualifications
  • evidence of English language proficiency
  • 1,800 hours post-registration nursing experience

*You can only apply to the Nursing Council AFTER your documents have been verified by CGFNS. Please read the Council requirements first before starting an application (link below).

2. Apply to the Nursing Council to become registered

2.1 Complete Welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand (two free online courses) to introduce you to culturally safe nursing practice in New Zealand:
  • Ngā Paerewa Te Tiriti Module 1
  • Foundations in cultural competence
2.2 Nurses who need a competence assessment will be asked to successfully complete:
  • A theoretical exam (online)
    Tests your nursing knowledge and is taken overseas or in New Zealand at a Nursing Council accredited-exam centre.

  • and
  • An objective structured clinical exam (OSCE)
    A two-day orientation and preparation programme followed by a 3-hour OSCE exam. This is taken in person in New Zealand at an accredited examination centre.
2.3 Fitness to practice checks
All applicants undergo an international criminal history check by Fit2work (external company).

Find out more about the Council's requirements here.