Personal Experience of a Norwegian Applying for General Registration with PBNZ

After chatting to some international physio friends who have been through the wringer to become registered in other countries, it really sounded like a topic that was worthwhile getting some inside info on. So I’ve managed to rope in some very generous people who have been through the process and agreed to help you all out by talking about their experience, answering some common questions and providing some tips on what they learned/would do differently to make the whole situation slightly less challenging if they were to do it again (which none of them would I’m sure!).

Just a reminder that none of us has any affiliation with AHPRA, PBNZ, PBA or APC so I can’t promise any outcome based on these blog posts – they’re written in good faith to try and support you through a fairly difficult but necessary process. I highly value protecting our profession, healthcare system and patients, so you won’t find any cheats here!

Where are you from and where did you study your qualifying physiotherapy degree?

I am from Norway and did my Bachelor Degree in Bergen, Norway.


How long did the General Registration Process with PBNZ take?

I worked on my application for several months, I am not even sure how many. You can definitely get it done faster than I did, but I would say that months is a more realistic expectation than weeks.

Covid-19 hit New Zealand just as I had sent my application to the Physiotherapy Board, and with everything slowing down due to restrictions it took 9 months for it to be processed. I was then asked to supply additional documentation. After sending that through my application was approved within a few weeks.


How much did it cost? Any hidden costs you didn’t expect?

In addition to the application fee:

  • International Police Check: $350 ($175 for one country, I had to submit for two countries)
  • Translation of syllabus from Norwegian University: $2,260 (huge additional cost there!)
  • Certifying documents: Free as I used an engineering friend in Australia, but would cost a bit in Norway I think.
  • Shipping to NZ, can’t remember the cost.

These are the ones I can remember, but I am sure there were some other costs involved too.


Did you have to sit written or practical examinations?



What unexpected surprises did you come across?

It was incredibly difficult to find someone at my old University in Norway who was able and/or willing to help me find, print, and sign/stamp the academic curriculum from my Bachelor Degree. It took several attempts over a number of months before I got the help I needed. However, I also did one semester abroad at Griffith University on the Gold Coast and the same request was basically sorted after one email, so this is very much a function of which University you studied at.

I was also surprised at the amount of work required for the application process. It was tedious and time consuming.


What roadblocks did you run into?

I had to supply extra documentation on my experience within neurological and cardiorespiratory physiotherapy. I did a couple of extra reflective statements and also did an online course series on physiotherapy management after Covid-19 to meet this requirement.

I also had to clarify some statements from my application, which I simply did with a document explaining those statements.


What tips would you suggest for people about to start this process?

  • Get a good overview of the application process and required supporting documents before you begin.
  • Contact your University early on, in case you run into similar issues as I did.
  • Expect it to take up a lot of your time for the next few months.
  • Don’t underestimate how strict the Physiotherapy Board is, e.g. with certification of documents or meeting the thresholds.


Its a pretty tough gig – was it worth it for the experiences youve had in NZ/Australia?

Yes. I am now a permanent resident (soon citizen) of Australia, and am planning to live here for possibly the rest of my life. So for me it’s a no-brainer. You certainly have to weigh up the time and financial cost against how low long you’re planning to stay. For me, it would not have been worth it for a shorter stay than a year at least… I think.


Finishing comments/anything else to add?

Just a little note: Remember that you need a work visa. So before you even begin your application process, look into what visa you’ll apply for. This may also prove more challenging than you think.



Thanks so much for your wise words and time Ingrid!


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