Registration application stages

There are several stages involved when assessing applications for registration from internationally qualified applicants.

Your application will be assessed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) on behalf of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA).

We carefully review all documentation before making a decision on each application, so the assessment process takes time. Each application is assessed individually, so we are unable to give an estimate of processing time. We will give you a timeframe on your application if we can.

Wherever possible, we aim to complete the assessment of an international application within four to six weeks of receipt of all required documentation. However, some international applications require a decision from the NMBA or its delegate and these applications will take an estimated eight to ten weeks to process. Estimates of processing times can only be given for complete applications (i.e. where all required documentation has been provided) – if you do not provide all the required documentation with your application, your processing time may be significantly longer.

You can help avoid unnecessary delays in processing your application by:

  • making sure your application is complete. A complete application is one that has met all requirements listed on the registration form. (Note: the registration form is only available if you have successfully completed the required steps (assessment stages) before registration application)
  • making sure you provide ALL supporting documents required, and
  • requesting documentation required from third parties in advance to avoid delays.

Your application will be reviewed to ensure that we have received all required documentation and you will be notified if there are outstanding or additional documents or information required. We do not start assessing applications until all required documentation has been received.

Staying up to date with your application

If you have experienced a delay in receiving an outcome for your application that has resulted in personal hardship, please contact AHPRA directly or speak to your assigned registration officer so we are aware of your specific situation and we can consider how we can help you.

To find out the status of your application, contact AHPRA directly. AHPRA information systems allow the customer service team to give status updates without the need to transfer to your registration officer.

Your application will be assigned to a regulatory officer, who will contact you if there is any outstanding documentation relating to your application. Whenever we ask you for information, we will update you on the contact details of the person who can answer any questions you may have. Please note that your assigned regulatory officer may change during the assessment of your application.

Once you have provided all necessary documentation and paid the application fee and registration fee (see Fees for nurses and midwives), your application will be reviewed and assessed. As part of this process, your application may also be reviewed by Ahpra staff members other than your assigned regulatory officer.

Note: You will be given 30 days to provide any outstanding information.

If we do not receive this information within the timeframe stated in the notice we will assume that you have withdrawn your application and will close it.

We appreciate it can take time to gather the required information. If you anticipate any delay in sending us the additional information, you may ask your regulatory officer for additional time.

If you are a Steam A application the qualification information you provided at the Self-check must be checked by Ahpra. Note, Stream B applicants will have already had their qualification documentation checked when they completed the Portfolio stage, however certified hard copies may still be required at the registration application stage.

Ahpra reviews the documents you provided for your qualification(s) against the information you provided at the Self-check. We will contact you if there are any documents missing from your application and you will have 30 days to provide the documentation. If we do not receive the documents within this timeframe we will assume you have withdrawn your application and will close it.

If your documentation matches the Self-check

If the qualification documentation you provide with your registration application matches the information you provided at Self-check, we will continue to process your registration application.

If your documentation doesn’t match the Self-check

If the qualification documentation you provide with your registration application does not match the information you provided at Self-check, we will assess your qualification based on the documents you have provided. We will then let you know whether you can stay in Stream A, or need to proceed in Stream B or Stream C.

If the outcome of the assessment of your qualification determines:

  1. that you should remain in Stream A, your registration application will continue to be processed (move on to Stage 3).
  2. that you should be in Stream B, we will withdraw your registration application and refund your registration fee. We will advise and assist you to complete the Portfolio stage to progress to the multiple-choice question (MCQ) exam.

    If you successfully complete both the MCQ exam and the Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) and still intend to register with the NMBA, you will need to complete a new registration application and pay another application fee. It is therefore very important that the qualification information you provide at the Self-check is accurate.
  3. that you should be in Stream C, we will withdraw your registration application and refund your registration fee. If you wish to participate in the IQNM assessment process in the future, you must first upgrade your qualification.

If we withdraw your registration application because your qualification determines that you should be in Stream B or Stream C, you do not need to apply for the registration fee refund, as we will initiate your fee refund as part of closing your application. If required, we will contact you for new payment details.

Ahpra must review and verify proof of identity information and documentation. Stream B applicants will have provided identification information and documentation at Portfolio, but these must be checked again to ensure they are still valid.

At this stage, Ahpra will also assess other required information and documentation provided for the other elements of the application.

We will contact you if there is any outstanding documentation related to your identification and/or other elements of the application.

The NMBA’s decision will either be to register, propose to register with conditions, or propose to refuse your application.

Registration

If the outcome of your application is registration, we will:

  • inform you by email of registration if your residential address is in Australia, or
  • send you a letter of in principle approval of registration if you are currently living overseas and cannot meet the local ID requirements. For more information, see in principle registration.

It is a requirement of registration for all IQNM registrants to complete Orientation Part 2. See Fact Sheet - Orientation Part 1 and Part 2 (47.4 KB,PDF) for further information.

All other outcomes

If the NMBA proposes to register you with conditions or proposes to refuse your application, you will be sent a letter communicating the proposed decision on your application and the reasons for the decision.

You can make a submission to the NMBA about the proposal within 30 days of receiving the communication.

Submissions give applicants the opportunity to present any additional information or evidence that can be considered in making a final decision.

If you do not make a submission, the NMBA may uphold its decision after the 30-day period has expired and the decision will become final.

If you do not agree with the final decision of the NMBA, you generally have the right to appeal the decision and take your case to a tribunal for a decision.

How to lodge an appeal

This information is for international applicants who would like to find out about how to appeal an NMBA decision on registration. The document does not provide legal advice. None of its content is intended to be, or should be, taken as legal advice from the NMBA, Ahpra or any related body.

It is important that you obtain independent legal advice to inform any decision you choose to make based on the information that we provide.

Where to appeal

Your principal place of practice (PPP) or residential address in Australia will determine your responsible tribunal – i.e. where you should lodge your appeal. If your residential address is not within Australia, your responsible tribunal is based in New South

As a general principle, you should lodge an application to appeal the NMBA’s decision within 28 days of the date that the decision was made. However, we strongly recommend that you contact the responsible tribunal to directly confirm the accurate timeframe.

Costs

The responsible tribunal may make an order about costs. This may result in an order to the international applicant to pay the NMBA’s costs as well as their own costs, or the reverse.

More information

The following pages contain useful information that may be relevant to your situation:

 
 
 
Page reviewed 26/05/2020