Applying for a practising certificate

How you apply for a practising certificate will depend on whether or not you are already registered in New Zealand, if you have worked in New Zealand before, and how long it has been since you last practised.

If you already hold a practising certificate, please see our page on renewing your practising certificate.

I have never been registered

To be eligible to apply for and be issued with a practising certificate, you must first apply for and be granted registration. In some cases, you may also be issued with a practising certificate as part of the registration process once your registration is approved.

You can find information on how to apply for registration at the link below:

I am no longer on the medical register

If you have practised as a doctor in New Zealand before, and you want to start practising again, you first need to check that you are still on the medical register. If you are no longer on the register, you will need to apply to restore your name to the register, before you can apply for a practising certificate.

I am on the medical register

If you are on the medical register, but do not hold a current practising certificate and you want to start practising again in New Zealand, you need to contact us to request a practising certificate application. We will then send you instructions on how to apply for your practising certificate. For some scopes of practice you must have a job offer before submitting an application.

If you hold a provisional scope and you are returning to practise in New Zealand, or you need to change the endorsement on your practising certificate, you will need to apply for a variation to your scope of practice. You need to submit a returning IMG application, or a change of scope application, before you can be issued with a practising certificate.

I haven't practised medicine in the last 3 years

If it is three years or more since you last practised medicine, you'll need to meet some additional requirements to regain your practising certificate. Please read our policy for more information on these.

  • Policy on returning to practice after three years

    Where a doctor wishes to commence or resume practice in New Zealand,but has not practised medicine within the last 3 years, the doctor does not have an automatic entitlement to a practising certificate. Council must consider such applications on a case by case basis.

  • APC2

    Practice intentions - To be completed by doctors applying for a PC to return to work after an absence of three or more years

Been practising overseas?

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

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

There are two exceptions to our requirement for a certificate of professional status; 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 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, you'll need to have a certificate of professional status.

When you have been practising overseas for more than 3 years

If you have been practising overseas for over three years,you will need to provide additional documentation. For more information, please see our policy on returning to practice after working overseas.

Practising certificate disclosures

An application or a practising certificate requires you to make a number of disclosures. These include disclosures relating to matters of professional conduct, disciplinary proceedings, criminal investigation or proceedings, and matters relating to any mental or physical condition that has the potential to affect your ability to practise.

To assist you with your response to questions about any relevant mental or physical conditions (a 'health disclosure") we have prepared information relating to making such a disclosures. You can find this on our Practising certificates disclosure form.

Application fees

See our Fees, forms & checklists page.