Fact sheet: Graduate applications for nursing and midwifery

Download a PDF copy of the Fact sheet: Graduate applications for nursing and midwifery (285 KB,PDF).


The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) undertakes functions as set by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law). The NMBA regulates the practice of nursing and midwifery in Australia, and one of its key roles is to protect the public. The NMBA does this by developing registration standards, professional codes, guidelines and standards for practice which together establish the requirements for the professional and safe practice of nurses and midwives in Australia.

This fact sheet addresses common queries about applying for initial registration as a graduate of an NMBA-approved nursing and/or midwifery program of study.

You can apply for registration four to six weeks before completing your program of study. Students of nursing or midwifery about to graduate can go online to apply early for registration as a nurse or a midwife. An online graduate service is available on the AHPRA website for final year students in approved programs of study.

Online applications are also open for enrolled nurses due to complete an approved program of study to qualify for registration as a registered nurse or midwife. Refer to Enrolled to Registered Nurse or Midwife applications.

Approved programs of study are those programs leading to registration and endorsement. You can access a list of approved programs of study on the NMBA website.

Graduates wishing to apply for registration as both a nurse and a midwife cannot apply online and must apply using the correct hard copy form available for download on the NMBA website.

If you apply for registration by the online graduate service, you will receive your Graduate Online Application Next Steps Checklist by email. This document outlines what supporting documents you must provide in hardcopy.

You will then need to send the following completed documents to the AHPRA office in your state or territory:

AHPRA will:

  • assess your application and supporting documentation 
  • confirm its decision for registration and, if your application for registration has been approved, and 
  • publish your name on the Register of practitioners (national register).

All applicants, including Australian and internationally-qualified applicants, who seek initial registration in Australia, must demonstrate English language skills that meet the requirements detailed in the NMBA’s English language skills registration standard.

The English language skills registration standard is a best practice regulation that protects the public. It helps ensure that nurses and midwives can communicate effectively in English to provide safe care to their patients.

No. This registration standard does not apply to students of nursing or midwifery. When a student completes an NMBA-approved program of study successfully and applies for registration as an enrolled nurse, registered nurse and/or midwife, the student will then need to meet the NMBA’s English language skills registration standard.

The English language skills registration standard applies to all applicants, including Australian and internationally-qualified applicants, applying for initial registration as an enrolled nurse, registered nurse and/or midwife in Australia.

An internationally-qualified applicant is a person who has obtained an initial nursing and/or midwifery qualification in a country outside Australia.

As a new graduate registered with the NMBA, you are eligible to start working as a nurse or midwife as soon as your name is published on the national register.

Registration for nurses and midwives is renewed annually by 31 May regardless of how long you were registered during the previous 12 months. The National Law states that the period of a practitioner’s registration can be for no more than 12 months. Hence, a national annual renewal date was set.

If you are a graduate who registered within two months prior to the 31 May annual renewal date you are registered to practise until 31 May of the following year. Check the national register if you are not sure when your registration is due for renewal.

AHPRA will send a reminder when registration is due so it is important to make sure your contact details with AHPRA remain current including your email address and contact phone number. Look out for the reminder as confirmation that online renewal is open. After receiving your reminder, go to the AHPRA login page.

schedule of fees for initial registration and annual renewal, including the late payment fee for renewal applications received during June is outlined on the NMBA website. There are no pro-rata fees for the registration period.

If you do not renew your registration by 31 May, or within the one month late period, your name will be removed from the national register and your registration will lapse in accordance with the National Law.

Page reviewed 17/10/2019