Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Information for international practitioners

Information for international practitioners

Do you want to work in Australia as a registered health practitioner?

Registered health practitioners are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners
  • Chinese medicine practitioners
  • chiropractors
  • dental practitioners
  • medical practitioners
  • medical radiation practitioners
  • midwives
  • nurses
  • occupational therapists
  • optometrists
  • osteopaths
  • paramedics
  • pharmacists
  • physiotherapists
  • podiatrists, and
  • psychologists 

To work as one of these health practitioners in Australia, you need to be registered with the National Board of your profession (eg. the Medical Board of Australia).

It’s important to know that you can’t work in your profession before you’re registered.

This page contains general information about registration requirements and applying for registration in Australia. In addition to this information, it’s important you visit the website for the National Board for your profession for information specific to your profession. We strongly encourage people applying to the Medical Board of Australia and/or the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia to read the detailed information on their websites.

What does it mean to be registered?

Registration means that you;

  • are qualified (hold a recognised qualification for the profession)
  • meet the registration standards for your profession in Australia, and
  • are suitable, your identity has been established and you’ve satisfied all the relevant probity checks.

Qualified

An approved or substantially equivalent qualification
OR
A relevant qualification and complete an exam or assessment
AND (for some professions)
Supervised practice

Meets registration standards

English language
Criminal history
Recency of practice
Professional indemnity insurance
Continuing professional development

Suitable

Proof of identity
Fit and proper
Safe and competent
Good standing

I’m an international applicant wanting to apply for registration in Australia

Use this flowchart as a general guide of what you need to do when applying for registration. Please read the information below carefully, as applying for registration has different steps depending on your circumstances, qualifications, and profession.

Please download the Reference guide for international applicants which includes this flowchart, a checklist and the Qualification/s assessment table.

Check when your qualifications will be assessed

Before you apply for registration

or

After you apply for registration

To see which pathway applies to your profession/s, check the Qualifications assessment table (30KB, PDF)

Know which form to use

Nurses and midwives: Complete the online self-check to have your qualification/s assessed.

Paramedics: Download a PDF form to lodge your qualification portfolio, then apply online for registration

All other professions: Download a PDF form to apply for registration

Prepare your application

Answer all questions on the application form.

Provide certified and, if not in English, translated copies of documents to support your application for registration.

See our Checklist for international applicants (21KB, PDF) for what to include.

Apply for international criminal history check

You must submit an international criminal history check to an Ahpra-approved supplier.

Apply at the same time as you submit your registration application so the results are valid when we assess your application.

and

Submit and pay for your application

If applying online, click to submit application

or

If using a PDF form, scan and upload the application form and supporting documents, using Ahpra’s online upload portal.

The National Board and Ahpra assess your application

Assessment outcome:
Your qualifications are eligible and you meet all the registration standards

You are yet to meet the identity requirements 
in Australia:

You have in-principle approval for registration.

or

You have met the
identity requirements
in Australia:

You are now approved for registration

Present in person

Once in Australia, you will be required to ‘present in person’ to prove your identity. This can be with your employer or via video conference with Ahpra staff.

You are now approved for registration

or

Assessment outcome:
You aren’t eligible or don’t meet all the registration standards

The Board may propose to grant registration with conditions or refuse your application. You will have the opportunity to respond before a final decision is made.

 

To work in Australia, you will also need to ensure you meet other requirements, such as obtaining a visa (issued by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs), meeting immigration requirements, and securing employment. These are separate processes that Ahpra cannot help with. It’s important to note success in one process does not automatically guarantee success in the other.

Frequently asked questions

To help you understand the application process and what information is needed, read the frequently asked questions below.

Assessment of qualification/s

It depends which profession you’re applying for. 

For some professions you need to have your qualifications assessed before you can apply for registration. Other professions assess your qualification/s as part of your application for registration. To see the pathway for your profession, check the Qualification/s assessment pathways table in the FAQ How do I have my qualifications assessed?

There are two pathways for practitioners who qualified overseas to have their qualifications assessed. See the table below to find which pathway applies to your profession. 

Qualification/s assessment pathways

  1. Before you apply for registration; your qualification/s will either be assessed by the relevant accreditation authority for your profession or by Ahpra 
  2. After you apply for registration, as part of your registration application 
     

(Accreditation authorities are independent of the National Boards. You can read more about how accreditation authorities assess qualifications on their websites. See links in the Qualification/s assessment pathways by profession table below).

Qualification/s assessment pathways by profession

Profession Pathway Where to find more information
Chinese medicine Qualification/s assessed as part of your registration application after you apply for registration. You’ll need to complete a form available on the Chinese Medicine Board website. Overseas qualified Chinese medicine practitioners page on the Chinese Medicine Board website
Chiropractic Qualification/s assessed by the Council on Chiropractic Education Australia, before you apply for registration Overseas trained practitioners page on the Chiropractic Board website

Council on Chiropractic Education Australia website
Dental Qualification/s assessed by the Australian Dental Council, before you apply for registration

Specialist qualifications assessed as part of your registration application
Overseas qualified practitioners page on the Dental Board website

Australian Dental Council website
Medicine Medicine has four assessment pathways, all require qualification/s assessment before you apply for registration.

Specialist qualifications assessed by an approved specialist medical college.
International medical graduates (IMGs) page on the Medical Board website

IMGs must also apply for primary source verification of qualifications
Medical radiation practice Qualification/s assessed as part of your registration application after you apply for registration. You'll need to complete a form available on the Medical Radiation Practice Board's website. Overseas qualified practitioners page on the Medical Radiation Practice Board website
Nursing and midwifery Qualification/s assessed by Ahpra before you apply for registration. Internationally qualified nurses and midwives page on the NMBA website

You’ll need to do the Self-check and have your qualification assessed
Occupational therapy Qualification/s assessed by the Occupational Therapy Council, before you apply for registration 'Overseas qualified practitioners' section of the Registration page on the Occupational Therapy Board website

Occupational Therapy Council website
Optometry Qualification/s assessed by the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand, before you apply for registration Overseas Practitioners page on the Optometry Board website

Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand website
Osteopathy Qualification/s assessed by the Australian Osteopathic Accreditation Council, before you apply for registration Overseas Qualified Osteopaths page on the Osteopathy Board website

Australian Osteopathic Accreditation Council website
Paramedicine Qualification/s assessed by the Paramedicine Board before you apply for registration Assessment of overseas qualifications on the Paramedicine Board website. If you don’t hold an accepted or approved qualification, you’ll need to have your qualification assessed.
Pharmacy Qualification/s assessed by the Australian Pharmacy Council, before you apply for registration Overseas Practitioner Registration page on the Pharmacy Board website

Australian Pharmacy Council website
Physiotherapy Qualification/s assessed by the Australian Physiotherapy Council, before you apply for registration Overseas Practitioner Registration page on the Physiotherapy Board website

Australian Physiotherapy Council website
Podiatry Qualification/s assessed as part of your registration application after you apply for registration. You'll need to complete a form available on the Podiatry Board website. Overseas trained podiatrists and podiatric surgeons page on the Podiatry Board website
Psychology Qualification/s assessed as part of your registration application after you apply for registration. You'll need to complete a form available on the Psychology Board website. Overseas applicants page on the Psychology Board website
 

Registration application process

You will either apply online or by using a paper-based form, depending on which profession you’re applying for. 

Nurse or midwife? Apply online

If you’re an international qualified nurse or midwife (IQNM), the first step you need to do is complete a self-check online to have your qualification/s assessed. 

Once you successfully complete the self-check and any assessment stages you will be notified that you can apply for registration online via our practitioner portal (access the portal via the IQNM Dashboard). 

Paramedic? Apply online

If you’re an internationally qualified paramedic, the first step you need to do is have your qualifications assessed using a paper form. If your application is successful then you can apply for registration online via a practitioner portal. 

All other professions – paper-based form

If you’re applying for registration in any other registered profession, you apply using a paper-based form. Visit the National Board for your profession’s ‘Forms’ webpage to access the form.

If you don’t hold an approved or accepted qualification for general or specialist registration, you may be able to apply for limited registration. Your qualification will need to be assessed as being a suitable qualification for limited registration. Limited registration is not available to all professions. Please visit the National Board for your profession for further information and use the Forms webpage to access the form.

As well as the completed application form (either online or paper-based), your application for registration must include:

  • fee payment (read more about registration fees)
  • proof of identity documents
  • relevant qualification/s 
  • a Certificate(s) of Good Standing or Certificate(s) of Registration Status if you have been registered in your profession outside of Australia any other information we say we require on the application form, e.g. evidence to support your English language declaration, relevant information about your criminal history (if you have a criminal history), or evidence from your treating practitioner about any health impairments. 

All documents must be certified and if not in English, translated into English. See How do I have my documents certified? and Do I need to get my documents translated? for more information. 

Documents provided directly to us by a third party such as an employer or education institution who we can verify, do not have to be certified. For example, statements of service can be provided directly from an employer (if we can verify the employers contact details).

You will need to apply for an international criminal history check for every country you have lived in outside Australia for a period of six consecutive months as an adult (over the age of 18) and/or if you declare you have a criminal history, for the country the history relates to. See Do I need to get an international criminal history check? below for details on how and when to do this.

Yes, when you apply for registration or an assessment of your qualification/s you must provide sufficient evidence of your identity. 

When you apply for registration, you will be asked to provide proof of identity. Download our Proof of identity requirements flyer to read detailed information about what you must provide. 

Not living in Australia yet? You’ll need to provide minimum proof of identity with your application, usually a certified copy of a valid passport issued by your country of citizenship. 

Once you arrive in Australia, you’ll need to provide the remaining proof of identity documents. This is because some of the documents we need can only be issued once you arrive. For example, Australian government issued visa or Australian bank statement.

This means that, if the National Board approves your application for registration, and you have only provided the minimum proof of identity, you will be granted ‘in-principle’ approval.

If you have been registered in your profession outside of Australia, you must arrange for a Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Registration Status from the registration authority in every jurisdiction in which you are, or have previously been, registered as a health practitioner. 

Please refer to the application form for your profession to confirm the period that a certificate is required for. 

Certificates must be:

  • sent directly from the registration authority to COGS@ahpra.gov.au
  • dated within three months of your application being received. 

If you have problems arranging your certificate, for example, the regulatory authority will not authorise a certificate due to conflict in the jurisdiction or other serious concerns, please advise us. You may need to provide alternative evidence to confirm a current or previous registration status.

All supporting documents submitted with your application must be certified. 

See the Certifying Documents webpage for further details. 

Please note that there are different requirements for certifying documents with and without a photograph.

To protect against identity theft, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has specific certification requirements. Download our guide to make sure your documents are certified correctly.

Please read the information about certifying documents carefully. If a document is not certified correctly, it can cause delays to your application.

If you’re submitting any documents in a language other than English in support of your application, yes you need to include an English translation. To see the requirements for how documents must be translated see our translating documents page.

Please upload a scanned copy of your paper form, as well as your supporting documents, using our online upload portal.  

We are in the process of transitioning away from hard copy application forms. To assist with a quicker assessment, please submit your application online.

 

Registration standards and requirements

As well as assessing your qualifications to ensure you are suitably trained and qualified to practise as a health practitioner in Australia, the National Board for your profession needs to make sure that you are safe to practice.

There are five mandatory registration standards that apply to everyone who registers as a health practitioner in Australia:

  • English language skills registration standard 
  • Criminal history registration standard
  • Continuing professional development
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Recency of practice

For more information about each of the standards, see the registration standards page.

You will also need to tell us about any health impairments that may affect your ability to practise. 

The English language skills registration standard is one of the five mandatory registration standards. 

The purpose of this standard is to make sure all registered practitioners can provide safe care and communicate effectively in English with their patients/clients and other health practitioners.

You must meet the registration standard for English language skills set by your National Board.

Detailed information about English language skills is published on each Board website. You can access this information by visiting the Registration Standards page.

Like all the mandatory registration standards, the English language skills registration standard applies to everyone who applies to be a registered health practitioner, whether they’ve qualified in Australia or internationally.

The Criminal history registration standard is one of the five mandatory registration standards.

When you apply for registration, you need to tell us about any criminal history you may have.

Criminal history includes every: 

  • conviction for an offence
  • plea of guilty or finding of guilt by a court for an offence, whether or not a conviction is recorded for the offence 
  • every charge for an offence. 

We carry out an Australian criminal history check on every applicant. The cost for this check is covered in your application fee so you don’t have to pay any extra for it.

When you apply, you need to provide a complete criminal history with your application irrespective of the time that has lapsed since the charge was laid or the finding of guilt was made. This is because under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, spent convictions legislation does not apply to criminal history disclosure requirements. If you don’t supply your full criminal history, your application may be delayed or refused.

The National Board for your profession will decide whether your criminal history is relevant to the practise of the profession.

You will need to complete an international criminal history check 

  • for every country you have lived in outside Australia for a period of six consecutive months as an adult (over the age of 18); and/or
  • if you declare you have a criminal history, for the country the history relates to.

It is your responsibility to request and pay for your international criminal history check through an Ahpra-approved supplier. The results will be given to us directly.

The results are valid for three months. We recommend you submit your application for an international criminal history check at the same time as when you submit your application for registration, so that the results are still valid when we assess your application.

Your application for registration cannot be assessed until we have received the results of your criminal history checks. 

Yes, you need to tell us if you have any health impairments that may detrimentally affect your ability to practise.

A health impairment means any physical or mental impairment, disability, condition or disorder (including substance abuse or dependence), that detrimentally affects or is likely to detrimentally affect your ability to safely practise the profession.

Having an impairment will not necessarily prevent you from practising. However, we need to know what you are doing to manage any impairment. We may require current documentation about your diagnosis and/or treatment plan and a statement regarding your current fitness to practise from your treating health practitioner. It’s important that you provide all details of any impairments and how you are managing them when you submit your application. Assessment of your application may be delayed if we need to contact you for further information.

 

What happens after I’ve submitted my application?

If you have met all registration requirements, but only provided the minimum proof of identity evidence with your application (because you were not living in Australia at the time you applied), Ahpra and the National Board for your profession will give you a letter providing in-principle approval for registration and detailing the outstanding proof of identity requirements. 

The in-principle approval will be valid for three months.  

This does not mean that you are registered. It means you will need to present in person once you have arrived in Australia to show proof of identity before registration is granted. To understand more about proof of identity read the FAQ Do I need to provide proof of identity?  

If you can’t meet the three-month timeframe to present in person, you’ll need submit a written request for an extension. 

You can do this by emailing your Regulatory Officer to explain the circumstances and provide supporting evidence.

Send your request to the email in your in-principle approval letter. 

If you have been granted in-principle approval you must meet the proof of identify requirement before registration can be granted. To do this, you need to present in person in order to prove your identity. 

You can read about how to present in person here.

To understand more about proof of identity read the FAQ Do I need to provide proof of identity?

If you’re applying to the Medical Board of Australia as an international medical graduate, you’ll need to present in person to have your identity verified before your initial limited, provisional or specialist registration can be granted.

We will review your application within seven to fourteen days of receiving it. We’ll let you know if your application is complete or if we need further information from you.   

Once we have a complete application – everything we need to do our assessment - it may take four to six weeks before we can tell you the outcome of your registration application (approved for registration, approved with conditions, not approved for registration, approved in-principle or more information required). This timeframe does not include assessment of your qualification by an accreditation authority.

If you have accepted a job and included the proposed start date on your application, we aim to assess and provide an outcome for your application before that date.

If you are not able to fully comply with a registration requirement, for example if you have a criminal history that could pose a risk in relation to your practice or you have a health impairment that may affect your ability to practise, your National Board may propose to place conditions on your registration in order to protect the public.

Any proposal to place conditions on your registration or refuse your application is made by your National Board. If a National Board intends to grant registration with conditions or to refuse the application, we will let you know. You may then elect to make a submission to the National Board responding to that proposal. The National Board will consider your submission before making a final decision.

If you do not provide a submission within the timeframe, we will grant the registration subject to the proposed conditions. A letter will be sent to you advising that registration was granted subject to conditions.

 

I’m registered in New Zealand; can I apply under the Trans-Tasman arrangements?

If you hold practising registration in New Zealand, you can apply for registration in Australia under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act.

This applies to the following professions: 

  • Chiropractic
  • Dental
  • Medical radiation practitioner
  • Midwifery
  • Nursing
  • Occupational therapy
  • Optometry
  • Osteopathy
  • Paramedicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Psychology

You must hold a current practising certificate in New Zealand to be eligible.

Registration in Australia will only be granted in the same category as your New Zealand registration. Any conditions, limitations, or endorsements that apply in New Zealand may also apply to your registration in Australia.

You must apply online.

You’ll need to;

  • provide your personal details 
  • provide the relevant fee 
  • upload documents to support your application, and
  • make a declaration.

If you are applying for registration with an endorsement or in multiple divisions, you may be directed to apply using a hardcopy form. This will be determined by your answers in the online application process. If this applies to you, you will be instructed to download and complete the appropriate application form and provide the supporting documents and upload them using our online upload portal.

You’ll need to provide the following documents and information:

A current passport 

You must provide a certified copy of your passport, it must be valid at the time of application.

Evidence of any name changes 

You must attach a certified copy of evidence of a change of name if;

  • you have ever been formally known by another name(s), or
  • any of the documents you provide in support of your application are in another name(s). 

Evidence of current registration in New Zealand

You must provide evidence of current registration in New Zealand, such as;

  • an annual practising certificate, or
  • a registration certificate, or
  • a valid registration number

We will assess your application within 30 days and contact you to let you know the outcome of the assessment.

We will either register you, register you with conditions or your application will be refused.

If you are granted registration, you will receive an email with your registration details and information about when to renew your registration. 

What if there are conditions placed on my registration or my application is refused?

If we intend to grant registration with conditions or to refuse your application, we will let you know. You may then elect to make a submission which will be considered before making a final decision.

If you do not provide a submission, we will grant the registration subject to the proposed conditions or refuse your application

 
 
 
Page reviewed 30/11/2022