There are some definite do’s and don’ts when applying for your Australian nursing registration. Firstly, make sure you allow plenty of time. All too often, nurses start the AHPRA process a month or two before departing for Australia. Gathering and certifying all the documentation then takes longer than people account for – meaning their application may only arrive in Australia shortly before they do. The processing time for your application can range anywhere from a month, to half a year. To be safe, we suggest applying for your AHPRA 3 months before you want to start nursing in Australia – in saying this, don’t underestimate the time it will take you to gather your documentation, ready for submission.
Before submitting your application, make sure you have checked and double checked that you have included everything that is required. It is most certainly worth investing time in making sure your application is correct and complete before applying.
The checklist on the back of the AHPRA form makes this easy – use it to ensure all items required have been included and attached. If you submit an incomplete application, it will affect the processing time considerably. If your assigned AHPRA case officer has reviewed your application, and discovered an omission, they will get back in touch with you to request the missing documentation. Whilst they are waiting for the information, your application may be placed at the bottom of the list and will only start progressing again when everything has been provided.
If your application is 100% complete, AHPRA takes an average of 4-6 weeks to process your application. This may vary depending on various factors, but acts as a guide.
Once your application has been processed and approved, you will be sent a letter providing “in principle approval for registration”, which is valid for three months, and details the outstanding proof of identity requirements. This does not mean that you are registered, it means 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 that time).
Final registration (when you actually get your AHPRA number and can officially work as a nurse) will be subject to you providing the outstanding proof of identity requirements to AHPRA in person. This can be done at any AHPRA office, regardless of which one you sent your application to. The “in principal approval for registration” is valid for three months, so it is advisable to present at an AHPRA office soon after you arrive in Australia.
Part of applying for your Australian nursing registration is outlining your full practice work history. The detail of this needs to be included in a signed and dated CV that has been formatted to AHPRA’s mandatory requirements.
You must declare on your CV that the ‘The Curriculum Vitae is true and correct as at (insert date)’. This declaration must be signed and dated. The Boards will only accept the original signed Curriculum Vitae. You must also attach certified copies of any results or performance reports from bridging courses undertaken, skills assessment, observership (as applicable) that have been stated in the CV.
You must also include a statement of service from all of your employers from the past five years. This needs to be attached to your application.
The Statement of Service is required to:
- be on the employer’s letterhead
- provide dates of employment
- describe the role in which you were employed, and whether it was full-time/part-time hours, and
- be signed by a manager (e.g. director of nursing, unit manager or HR manager)
The detail of this is to be included in a signed and dated CV that has been formatted to AHPRA’s mandatory requirements. Further information on how to write your full practice history can be found on AHPRA’s website.
A certified (or notarised) copy of a document, is a copy of the original that has been certified to be a true copy, by an authorised officer. Various forms, including AHPRA, will require proof of identity. You obviously don’t want to send your original documents (such as your Birth Certificate and Academic Qualification) as AHPRA does not post these back. The alternative to this, is to have them ‘certified’.
Whilst it differs slightly with what organisations will accept, the general rule is that only a handful of people outside Australia are authorised to certify documents. These include;
- Justice of the Peace
- Notary Public
- Australian Consular Officer
- Australian Diplomatic Officer
The cost of getting your documents certified can vary substantially. Some notaries will charge per document; others are happy to do all of your documents for a set-price. You will need certified copies of your documents for various applications, so it is worthwhile finding a well- priced notary, and even get a couple of spares done before you leave home, just in case.
For more information about getting your documents certified, visit the official AHPRA site www.ahpra.gov.au/certify
AHPRA is the regulation agency that registers and regulates all healthcare practitioners in Australia. In addition to this, AHPRA works with and supports 14 separate boards, that are specific to each individual healthcare profession. For nursing, this board is called the Nursing and Midwifery Board Australia (NMBA), and they are responsible for regulating all working Australian nurses and midwives. As a generalisation, these two boards (AHPRA and NMBA), whilst separate, work together to achieve a common goal, and as such, their names are sometimes used interchangeably.
ANMAC on the other hand, has a completely different purpose all together, and the two (ANMAC and AHPRA) should not be confused. Whilst AHPRA is concerned with registration and regulation, ANMAC is a skills assessment authority used for the purpose of migration. If you are wanting to move to Australia as a skilled migrant, ANMAC is the body that assesses you as an internationally qualified nurse or midwife.
ANMAC works to ensure that you are suitably qualified and that your skill will benefit Australia’s workforce. They look at your qualification, skills and experience to make sure you meet the requirements to be considered a skilled migrant, eligible to apply for an Australian Visa.