Express Registration with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand

In a very exciting development – particularly for those kinda interested in working Down Under, but who (rightly) felt the process was far too complicated – becoming registered to work in New Zealand just got a whole lot easier. For some…

Turns out every year approximately 50% of new registrations with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand (PBNZ) are from internationally qualified applicants. That’s a lot of qualifications to check, and something that has caused some very lengthy delays for a country desperate to fill lots of physio vacancies…

In a bid to increase the efficiency of this process for all those involved, a condensed “Express Pathway” has been created, so that physiotherapists who are either a) trained and/or b) registered to work in the UK, Ireland, Canada and South Africa might expedite the paperwork to practice in Aotearoa.

This new pathway went live on 13 December 2022, and so far it sounds awesome.

A friend of mine from Ireland was registered in 3 days. Now that’s express! (Note that the advertised turnaround time for processing is approximately 8 days as per PBNZ in February 2023).

So what are the in’s and out’s of the process? Read on to find out more…


P.S For those who are not trained or registered in the above listed countries fear not, the PBNZ reportedly has plans to revise the General International Registration Pathway in 2023. Stay tuned!


So who is eligible?

Physiotherapists who have done their degree or been registered to practice in the four above mentioned countries.

Plus, you must be able to demonstrate recency of experience by having either completed your qualifying degree within the past 3 years, have been actively practicing within the past 3 years, or provide evidence that you have been a university physiotherapy student during the 3 years prior to application (which I assume accounts for those undertaking postgraduate study).


Before I apply, what will I need?

Firstly, access to the Guidance Notes, which you should download from the PBNZ website and follow closely!

Secondly, be prepared to sit a few online courses and acquire some certified copies of documents. The things you’ll need to have ready:

  • Evidence of cultural competency pertaining to the Treaty of Waitangi, namely certificates showing you have completed 2 relevant courses (see Guidance notes for the correct ones!)
  • A copy of your passport certified by a lawyer, court registrar or Justice of the Peace
  • A certified copy of a criminal record check from each country you have lived in for more than 12 months since you turned 18 years old
  • A certified copy of your current registration with HCPC, CORU, your Canadian province physiotherapy regulator or the Health Professions Council of South Africa
  • A certified copy of your physiotherapy degree certificate
  • Certificates of Good Standing from every country in which you have been registered to practice physiotherapy
  • Money to pay the fee (see below)

How do I apply?

If you’re eligible, head to the PBNZ website, scroll down and hit the “Express” link. You’ll be taken to an online form which we’ll step through together below:

Nice and easy to begin with, hit start

Select the eligibility criteria relevant to you

Fill in your contact details

Upload the certified copy of your passport

Fill in some demographic information (you’ll find this sort of thing common on the forms you complete in NZ!)

Upload your criminal history check (you’ll be prompted for checks from each country you’ve lived in)

Upload your certified copy of your physiotherapy qualification

Upload your certified copy of your certificates of good standing from the relevant country (remember it should be UK, Ireland, Canada or South Africa)

Answer the Fitness for Registration Questions (namely pertaining to English language proficiency, physical and mental fitness, professional misconduct)

Upload your Cultural Competency certificates

Finally, accept the declaration and pay the fee!


How much does it cost?

At the time of writing $1734.50 NZD.


What happens next?

Your application will be processed and reviewed. There’s a chance PBNZ will ask you for more information if your documents are incomplete or they need clarity about whether you meet their practicing standards. This could cause some delays, so try and provide as much accurate info as you can from the get go.

If your application is approved, then ngā mihi (congratulations!). Time to get ready to make the move to the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Make sure you sort an Annual Practicing Certificate, your visa, a checklist for uprooting your life to Aotearoa New Zealand, and a job!

Kia ora.


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