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Applying for a practising certificate

In addition to being registered, you must also hold a current practising certificate to practise medicine in New Zealand. It is illegal to practise here without this certificate.

With a practising certificate you are authorised, and considered competent and fit to practise medicine within the scope of practice and conditions given on your certificate.

General information

It is your responsibility to ensure you hold a current practising certificate.

Your employer is responsible for ensuring all doctors they employ are properly registered and certified to practise.

Practising certificates:

  • are valid for up to 12 months
  • are not backdated
  • authorise you to practise medicine within the scope of practice and conditions given on your certificate.

If you do not comply with the scope and conditions of your practising certificate, we may refer you to a Professional Conduct Committee for investigation and this may lead to disciplinary action being taken against you.

When you apply for a practising certificate we will either: issue you a certificate, decline to issue a certificate, or include (or vary) the conditions on your scope of practice.

If we decline your application, you will be informed of the reasons and given an opportunity to make submissions and be heard before a final decision is made.

Every three months we audit 20 percent of practising certificate applicants. We check the professional development recorded matches what the doctor has actually done. This process will delay the issue of your certificate; however you are entitled to work while the audit takes place.

Download Guide to completing a Practising Certificate application (March 2019)

Download The Workforce Survey (May 2016)

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Practising certificate health disclosures

Important information relating to health disclosures on practising certificates.

Download Practising certificates disclosure

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Processing times

Your practising certificate will be issued within 5 working days if it is complete and no follow-up is required.

If your application is incomplete, we will return it to you; giving details of what is required to complete it.

In some circumstances we may need more time to consider your application, such as when you:

  • have not maintained the required standard of competence
  • have not satisfied or complied with a condition on your scope of practice
  • have not satisfactorily completed the requirements of a competence programme
  • are unable to perform the functions required to practise medicine because of some mental or physical condition.

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Certificate issue dates

Your practising certificate will be issued at the end of one of four time periods (cycles) during the year. Which cycle you fit into depends on your birth date. See the table below.

Certificate cycles

(Select the cycle your birthday is in)

When we send out certificate renewal notices 


Date the new certificate is effective from

1 Dec -  28 (or 29) Feb

mid January

1 March

1 Mar – 31 May

mid April

1 June

1 Jun – 31 Aug

mid July

1 September

1 Sep – 30 Nov

mid October

1 December

If you start work in New Zealand outside your birth date cycle, your certificate is issued for a shorter period of time. This allows you to work until you fit into the correct practising certificate cycle. The fee is pro-rated accordingly.

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Application fees

See our Fees, forms & checklists page

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Renew a current practising certificate

All practising certificate renewal applications are now made through myMCNZ - our online system.

We will send you a certificate renewal notice 6 weeks before your current certificate expires. We will also send you a reminder notice 2 weeks before your current certificate expires. If you don’t receive these notices please contact us.

If we receive a complete application and your payment before the expiry of your existing practising certificate, you are then deemed to hold a practising certificate. This will remain in effect from the date the completed application and fee payment is received until the date the new certificate is issued, or until we notify you the certificate will not be issued. This process allows you to legally continue practising if there are delays in issuing the new certificate.

If you do not submit your application and fee before the old practising certificate expires, you do not hold a current practising certificate. It is an offence, under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, to work without a current practising certificate and disciplinary action may result.

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When your practising certificate is not current

If your practising certificate has expired and you intend to practise in New Zealand, you need to request a practising certificate application form, after you receive a job offer. We will then send you the application form, which you need to complete and return to us.

If you haven't practised medicine in the last 3 years

If it is 3 years or more since you last practised medicine, there are additional requirements you need to satisfy. Read our policy to find out what these are.

Download Policy: returning to practice after 3 years (June 2004, 59 KB, 2 pages)

Download Download Practise intention form (APC2)  ( PDF, 373 KB)

When you have been practising overseas for less than 3 years

If you have worked outside New Zealand since we last issued you a practising certificate, you must request a certificate of good standing for each country or board you were registered (or licensed) with during this time.

Your certificate of good standing must be sent direct to us from that country or board and must be less than 3 months old from your new New Zealand employment start date.

Request a practising certificate application

There are two exceptions to our requirement for a certificate of good standing; where we will alternatively accept a letter of good standing from the person you reported to in the organisation or hospital you worked in.

The exceptions are:

  1. if you were working overseas as a volunteer for up to three months and you were lawfully not registered for that period
  2. if you were registered while doing voluntary work for up to three months, but the overseas authority is unable to issue a certificate of good standing within a reasonable time period.

Please note: if you have worked overseas as a volunteer for more than three months, we require a certificate of good standing.

When you have been practising overseas for more than 3 years

Download Policy on returning to practise after working overseas (PDF, 32 KB)

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Refund of your application fee

You are eligible for a 50 percent refund of the certificate fee if your medical income (including any tax) in New Zealand or overseas is NZ$20,000 or less.

Apply for this refund at the end of your financial year by downloading our 'Low Income Declaration' form.

Download Low Income Declaration (PDF, 20 KB)

You will need to provide us with a certified statement of earnings from the Inland Revenue.

Inland Revenue

Send both forms completed and signed where necessary to us.

Contact us

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Amendments and variations to conditions and scope

You must apply for an amendment or variation to your scope of practice if you are registered within a provisional (general or vocational) scope of practice or a special purpose scope AND your employment, supervision, position or location changes. We will then issue you a new practising certificate.

Please allow at least 20 working days for your application to be processed. Where your application does not meet our policy requirements, disclosures are made or performance concerns have been indicated, processing will take additional time.

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Applying for the first time

If you’ve not been issued a practising certificate before, you need to apply for registration to practise medicine in New Zealand instead. Your application for a practising certificate will be considered as part of the registration process.

Get registered to practise medicine

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Replacement copies of practising certificates

You can download replacement copies of your current and expired practising certificates by logging into your myMCNZ account.

If you do not have a myMCNZ account, you will need to request a PIN and set up an account. To request a PIN, please contact the system support team on 0800 636 555 (for calls within New Zealand only). Overseas callers please phone +64 4 384 7635 during business hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30 am-5:00 pm) or email

Access your myMCNZ account

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