Medical Registration in New Zealand

To work in New Zealand as a doctor, you need to register with the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ). Registration is relatively straightforward and the website of the MCNZ will guide you to the entire process through a self assessment where depending on your pathway, a different procedure will be indicated.

There are three different pathways:


  1. General and Provisional General Scopes of Practice:  Junior doctors and doctors undergoing vocational training, who have fulfilled the provisional general scope of practice requirements. Before being admitted to the Provisional General Scope of Practice must pass a test or an assessment, and having worked under supervision for 12 months.
  2. Vocational Registration:  doctors who have a medical postgraduate qualification. This recognizes you as a specialist in New Zealand. To obtain vocational registration, doctors must have the appropriate training, qualifications, experience and competence to practice independently as a medical specialist. Otherwise a Provisional Vocational Registration may be issued to you. It means you will work under supervision and may need to complete assessment requirements for a period of time.
  3. Special Purpose Scopes. If your intention is to work in New Zealand for a short term you may apply for this pathway. This is the list of special purpose scope options:
  • Visiting expert
  • Postgraduate training
  • Emergency
  • Teleradiology
  • Research
  • Pandemic or Disaster

As part of the registration process you will have to provide at least 3 comprehensive references and will have to attend a registration interview.

If English is not your first language you may first need to sit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Summary of the registration process:


The registration process is expected to take 20 working days or longer depending on the pathway and many other factors.  MCNZ will begin processing your application after they have:

  • Received payment.
  • Received a complete application.
  • All required documentation is attached.

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