Medical Registration in New Zealand

Considering getting a New Zealand Medical Registration?

To the extent that the quality of life is concerned, one can call New Zealand a ‘mixed bag’. One can enjoy the benefits of great weather, safety, general politeness, and a relaxed ambience. On the other hand, the high living cost, desolation, skin problems, and lack of career options for youngsters will bother you.

Meanwhile, coming to the New Zealand Healthcare system, the New Zealand Medical Council is the ultimate authority. The practising license is subject to skill level and academic record.

Medical Council of New Zealand

The Medical Council of New Zealand is more than a century old. This is the body that is responsible for the registration of New Zealand doctors. It also supervises assessment, training and jurisdiction of the Healthcare System of the country and its medical professionals.

Pathways for Medical Registration New Zealand 

As an IMG, you must remember one thing. New Zealand does not have any PG entrance of its own. However, irrespective of the scope and pathway, you need to have a PG that you get after clearing PLAB/ MCCQE/ AMC CAT MCQ/ USMLE. It is a pre-requisite that you can’t avoid. And even if you meet this criterion, you need to clear another exam the NZREX. Read on!

Different routes will take an International Medical Graduate to Medical Registration NZ. To be precise, there are 3 distinct pathways to medical registration in New Zealand for different eligibilities and purposes. Conventionally, the New Zealand Medical Council calls these Pathways Scopes.

Hence, the 3 Scopes to get a New Zealand Medical Council registration are –

General Scope 

NZ medical registration within the General Scope of practice is for resident doctors and doctors who are in vocational training. In short, the following meet the New Zealand Medical Council registration requirements under the General Scope –

new-zealand-medical-registration General Scope
  • Medical Graduates from New Zealand yet to begin their internship can register under the General Scope. Such medical graduates from Australia are also eligible. They begin by getting a ‘Provisional’ NZ medical registration under General Scope to complete their internship.

These medical graduates need to have a seat in PG Year 1. After they complete the 1st Year of PG, they become eligible to apply for the full NZ Medical Council registration under the General Scope.

  • New Zealand & Australian Medical Graduates who have completed their Internship and the entire PG Training in Australia/New Zealand can apply for full New Zealand Doctors Registration under the General Scope.
Alternative Pathway

Alternatively, clearing the NZREX – New Zealand Medical Council Exam – qualifies a Medical Graduate after vocational training.

  • The path to New Zealand Medical Register that is the most suitable for an IMG is the General Scope path through NZREX. It is, by all means, the New Zealand Medical License Exam. You need to have a complete 2 years PG program to practice and until you have your PGY2 certificate, you will have limitations to practice.
  • UK & Irish Medical Graduates, who have completed their Internship in these countries respectively, can apply for New Zealand Doctor Registration under the General Scope.
  • Another pathway that leads to an entry into the Medical Council of New Zealand Register under the General Scope is through an experience of practising in a comparable health system. The NZ Medical Council has a list of occupations it deems to be a comparable health system.

Vocational Scope 

The Vocational Scope of getting into the New Zealand Medical Practitioners Register is for Specialists. There are 3 categories of Vocational Registration apart from the Provisional Vocational Registration which is for the IMGs.

  • VOC1 – It is a scope of becoming a Doctor in New Zealand for Doctors who already have a ‘New Zealand Medical License’ under the General Scope. She also must have an approved Australian/New Zealand PG qualification.
  • VOC2 – This is the procedure to follow when you are all the above but you do not have a General Scope Medical Registration New Zealand.
  • VOC3 – This is the route for IMGs. If you are a Specialist who has completed her Degrees from other countries can apply through this path. The Medical Council NZ will assess your qualifications and other eligibilities.

If the Medical Council New Zealand accepts your application, you get a Provisional Registration.

Special Purpose Scope 

This would be a limited registration for a particular purpose like training, research or disaster management. You may find entry into the Medical Council Register NZ through any of the following routes –

  • If you are a doctor who is a Specialist from overseas and your qualification features in the NZ Medical Council approved list, you are eligible to apply. The limitation is you must have an employment offer for 12 months or less.
  • If you have a Tele-radiology qualification you may apply for this special purpose option. Your eligibility is subject to the condition that you have a service contract with a health provider located in New Zealand.
  • You can come to New Zealand as a visiting expert for not more than a week to invigilate an exam, teach, demonstrate or assist in a procedure in New Zealand.
  • If your country sponsors you, you may go to New Zealand on special purpose PG Training to gain skills and experience. It is a temporary registration.
  • If you are a part of an ethics committee in NZ approved research project, you can stay and participate in that research for 2 years.
  • You may gain entry to assist in special situations like emergencies and pandemics.

How do I register with NZ Medical Council?

Irrespective of the Scope you are eligible for; the procedure of getting registration for practising medicine in New Zealand is the same. 

  • Firstly, by using the registration self-assessment tool devised by the Medical Council of New Zealand, you may ascertain which pathway applies to you.
  • Secondly, you need to understand the details of the Pathway that the above tool recommends for you. As you have read above, there are 3 scopes and each scope has many application processes varying in candidate eligibility.
  • Then you go through the procedure. You fill up forms, submit documents and pay the required fees. You need to be careful lest unforced errors should disqualify you.
  • At this stage, you may have to undergo a pre-assessment interview.
  • The New Zealand Medical Council reviews your application and if you meet the criteria, the council will grant you Doctor Registration NZ.
  • You receive the practicing certificate after which you can start practicing in New Zealand.


A Doctor proves that she meets the skill and knowledge criteria to practice in New Zealand by clearing the NZREX Clinical.

Firstly, to be eligible for this New Zealand Medical License Exam, you must have obtained your Primary Medical Qualification from a Medical Institution featuring in the WDOMS.

You must meet the English Language usage capability as per the detailed norms of the NZ Medical Council.To download the detailed PDF. Most importantly, you need to have cleared – PLAB I or MCCQE I or AMC CAT MCQ or USMLE 1 & 2.

NZ Mediacal Council Download PDF

Finally, the current New Zealand Medical Council Exam Fees are $3870.66. It is by no standards an easy Exam to pass. The NZREX preparation requires time and hard work and the chances of clearing it are slim.