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2017 How to Apply for Registration as an RN in Ireland

With the UK's status as a member of the European Union in question - only a matter of when, not if - Ireland is the better alternative as the Filipino RN's destination to practice nursing and explore benefits of being able to visit, work, or reside anywhere in the European Union. Also links to RN jobs in Ireland.

Crispin ArandaOriginally posted on December 18, 2016; updated December 18, 2016

2017 How to Apply for Registration as an RN in Ireland

International nurses –those trained outside Ireland – must apply for registration with the specific Application Group (1, 2 or 3) with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).

Before you commence the application process, please:

  • Read our Guide for Overseas Applicants, which can be downloaded below this page, and information in this section of the website
  • Identify which Application Group (1, 2 or 3) applies to you
  • Understand NMBI’s five-step application process

Advice for all applicants

As the outcome of the application process cannot be predicted, NMBI strongly advises that you:

  • Do not to move to Ireland, or leave your current employment, based on the expectation that your application for registration will be successful. Please wait until you receive your decision letter (Step 5) before making any travel or employment plans.
  • Do not to apply for nursing or midwifery positions until you have received a registration decision. We cannot fast-track applications based on offers of employment, as this would be unfair to other applicants.

Applying for registration in a division

To apply for registration in a division of the Register you must be educated and trained in that division. For example, if you trained as a general nurse and want to register as a general nurse with NMBI, you are eligible to apply to Register.
However, if you trained as a general nurse only and have gained considerable experience working as a children’s nurse in another country, you will not be eligible to register as a children’s nurse with NMBI. You would need to have completed an appropriate education and training programme as a children’s nurse before NMBI can consider your application for registration in this division.

If you want to apply for registration in a specific division of the Register, and your training for that division was completed after your initial training as a nurse or midwife, there are some specific registration requirements. For example, NMBI will need to consider your initial registration as a general nurse or midwife first before we consider an application for registration in that division. This will happen at Step 4 in the process, when your application is being assessed.

Application Groups 

Before you start the application process, you first need to identify your Application Group.

This will determine:

  • The type and nature of the documents we will require from you
  • Whether or not your application will require a full education assessment
  • The nature of the registration process within NMBI

To help you identify which Application Group applies to you, check the reference table below and visit individual pages on each of the groups. 

Which of the following best describes you?

Your Group

trained as a general nurse or midwife
in the European Union (EU) or European
Economic Area (EEA)

Must meet the automatic recognition or
acquired right provisions of the Directive

Group 1

Trained as a general nurse or
midwife in the EU or EEA

I am seeking recognition under the
“general system” provision of the Directive

Group 2

 Trained in the EU or EEA in a division
other than general nursing or midwifery

Group 2

Trained outside the EU or EEA

Group 3


Group 3 – Trained outside the EU or EEA / Philippines

If you trained outside the EU or the EEA you are a Group 3 applicant. To be eligible to apply for registration to the Register, you must:

  • Hold a current registration, or licence without restriction, with the competent authority in the country in which you qualified or have been practicing ( for Filipino RNs, the Professional Regulatory Commission – PRC)
  • Have practiced for at least 12 months within the 5 year period from completing your degree in Nursing in a school authorized or accredited by Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
  • Meet NMBI’s English language competence requirements
  • Have completed extra courses leading to registration as a first level nurse, if you hold the following qualifications:
  1. State enrolled nurse
  2. State certified nurse
  3. Licensed practical nurse
  4. Vocational nurse
  5. Nurse’s aide, and
  6. An associate degree (United States)

English language requirements

Group 3 applicants need to demontrate competence in English by obtaining the minimum scores in the IELTS academic test. NMBI only accepts International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Test.

ELTS Academic Test Minimum scores: Listening 6.5 / Reading 6.5 / Writing 7.0 / Speaking 7.0 / Overall band score 7.0

Important notice: Do not apply for registration until you meet the minimum scores under the IELTS Academic Test; your test result is current. If you apply without meeting the English language requirements, the assessment fee is non-refundable.

See more at: http://www.nmbi.ie/Registration/Trained-outside-Ireland/Group-3-Applicants#sthash.7AsNQYak.dpuf

Track your application

As part of the application process, you will be given details of how to logon to the NMBI website through the My Account section.  You will be able to check on the status of your application and what documents are outstanding through the Track my application.

Overseas registration terms explained:

To effectively process your application as an Applicant under Group 3, NMBI provides definition for the most common registration terms when registering as an overseas/international applicant.

The NMBI-provided glossary explain these terms for a better understanding of the registration prcess..

Term or phrase and what it means

  • Acquired rights.               If you trained in the EU/EEA the term "acquired rights" means that if you have a certain amount of post-registration experience as a nurse or midwife you may have a right to join the Register.
  • Automatic recognition. If you trained in the EU/EEA and if you started your training on or after your country's reference date, it is likely that we will be able to automatically register you under Directive 2005/36/EC.
  • Directive 2005/36/EC.   The recognition of professional qualifications laid down in Directive 2005/36/ EC enables the free movement of professionals such as nurses and midwives within the EU.
  • Competent authority.   A competent authority is an organisation that has been legally delegated with the powers to regulate the nursing or midwifery professions in its jurisdiction. In Ireland, the competent authority is NMBI.
  • CCPS.    This stands for Certificate of Current Professional Status. See Verification (CCPS) below.
  • European Economic Area (EEA) This includes the member states of the EU as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
  • General system.  This section of the EU directive sets out a framework approach for recognising qualifications that do not meet the requirements for the automatic or acquired rights recognition.
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Test    This is a test of English language competence. It is the only one that will be accepted by NMBI by applicants who trained outside the EU and EEA (Group 3) if English is not their first language.
  • Reference date This is the date a country joined the EU.
  • Relevant authority         These are organisations that need to submit forms directly to NMBI. They include competent authorities (see above) employers and Higher Education Institutions.
  • Test Report Form (TRF) Test Report Form (TRF) is issued following completion of the International English language System (IELTS) Academic Test
  • Verification Certificate (CCPS)   This certificate provides a range of information about the current status of your registration and training in the country where you trained or have practised. This is issued by a competent authority.

NMBI's five-step process

Step 1: Overseas Registration Application Request Form

The first step in the application process is to complete the Overseas Registration Application Request Form 

This form requires you to provide:

  • Personal contact details
  • Division(s) of the Register
  • Your TRF number, for Group 3 applicants only
  • Details of your Debit/Credit Card so that the assessment fee may be deducted 

 Overseas applicants will be able to log into this website and will be able to track their application at Step 2 of the process.

To learn about other steps in the overseas registration process read these pages

Step 2: Overseas Registration Application Pack 

This pack is issued after NMBI processes your Overseas Registration Application Request Form and the assessment fee. You need to read and  follow all the instructions within this pack carefully to  avoid unnecessary delays in  processing your application. The pack contains:

  • Application Reference Number and security code in the top right hand corner. You must use this reference number in all communications and correspondence with NMBI.
  • Details of how to set up an account on the NMBI website.  This will allow you to track your application and identify which documents have been received and which ones are outstanding.
  • A security code which you will need to use along with your Application Reference Number to set up an account. 

Section 1: Requires personal details, a recent passport photo of yourself (with your name and Application Reference Number on the back); documents establishing your identity (biographic page of your current and valid passport with your name, issuance and expiration dates.  Be sure to provide official documents explaining difference name or other information between your passport and other documents being presented as evidence of your identity.

This section must be completed by you and returned with relevant documents which are detailed in that section. Within Section 1 you will find a number of subsections, from A – J. Here are details of each of those sub sections:

Certification of the following documents is required as well as a certified English translation if the document is not in English:

  • Marriage or Civil Partnership
  • Deed Poll, if you have officially changed your name
  • A sworn affidavit to validate any change in the spelling of your name

Step 3: Forms to be completed by relevant authorities 

Involves ensuring that relevant authorities complete their forms and return them directly to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI).  You would be able to chek which forms have been submitted to NMBI by the relevant authorities after you have set up an online account with NMBI following receipt of your Overseas Registration Application Pack.

The table below provides details of the forms and some important notes for applicants who belong to different Application Groups. - See more at: http://www.nmbi.ie/Registration/Trained-outside-Ireland/Application-Process/Relevant-Authorities#sthash.aPr3UQ5f.dpuf




Relevant authority

Important notes

1, 2, & 3


Where you hold (and have previously held) nursing/midwifery registration

There are specific requirements for Group 1, 2 and 3 applicants. They are detailed below under the Verification (CCPS) heading. 

2 & 3

Transcript(s) of Training

Where you completed your nursing or midwifery training and education programme

There is a specific form for each division of the Register within your Overseas Registration Application Pack. 

There are also specific requirements which are detailed under the Transcript(s) of Training heading below.

2 & 3

Employer Reference

Where you are employed as a nurse or midwife

Applies to Group 2 and 3 applicants only. There are some specific requirements detailed under the Employer Reference heading below.


Graduate Nurse/Midwife Programme

Where you completed your graduate nursing or midwifery programme.

Applies to Group 3 only. There are some specific requirements detailed under the Graudate Programme heading below. 


Group 3 applicants must not send the Verification (CCPS) Form or Verification Certificate (CCPS) to NMBI.  NMBI cannot accept this documentation from you. The CCPS documents must come directly from the relevant authorities

  - See more at: http://www.nmbi.ie/Registration/Trained-outside-Ireland/Application-Process/Relevant-Authorities#sthash.aPr3UQ5f.dpuf

Step 4: Assessment of your application 

NMBI starts assessment of your application after receiving all of the information required for your application. Please be aware that NMBI will not receive all parts of the completed Overseas Registration Pack at the same time, especially those coming overseas from relevant authorities such as the PRC or CHED.

NMBI processes applications in a chronological order in what is called a “first come basis”. Applications are not fast-track applications for any reason. Complete assessment is usually done within 90 days from receipt of complete and correct documentation.

When we have received all the correct documentation in relation to your application, we will assess your application within 90 days. Be sure to timely submit additional information requested by NMBI to avoid delays in assessment of your application.

See more at: http://www.nmbi.ie/Registration/Trained-outside-Ireland/Application-Process/Application-Assessment#sthash.5FxytbIu.dpuf

Step 5: Outcome of assessment 

The decision letter issued by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) will detail one of four possible outcomes of the assessment process:

  • Eligible for registration
  • Further information required
  • Required to successfully complete a period of adaptation and assessment/Aptitude Test before we can register you
  • Refused registration

Assessment flow for NMBI registration

 1. Eligible for registration

NMBI issues a letter requesting to pay the registration fee for inclusion of the International applcant’s name on NMBI’s Register of Nurses and Midwives. NMBI then will finalizes your registration and issue the decision letter with the Initial Registration Certificate,  Annual Retention Certificate and the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethicss within 7 – 10 working days.

2. Further information required

The NMBI’S decision letter may request:

  •  An explanation from you about information contained in your application
  • An explanation from a relevant authority about information contained in your application, or documents they sent us as part of your application
  • Extra documents now needed by NMBI from you or a relevant authority

3. Adaptation and assessment/Aptitude Test

An “adaptation and assessment/Aptitude Test" decision means that you need to successfully complete a supervised placement in an Irish health care facility, before you can be registered or successfully complete the Aptitude Test. This decision is taken based on the education assessment.
This decision is taken:

  •  If the theory and clinical content or hours of your overall nursing or midwifery education falls short of NMBI requirements
  • Where you have enough hours or appropriate content to allow you to complete a period of adaptation and assessment.

 NMBI will place your name on the Candidate Register for the duration of this placement/Aptitude Test, as well as issue a Candidate Certificate.

4. Refused registration

There are a number of possible grounds for a refusal which will be explained in the decision letter.
You will be issued with a refused registration decision following an education assessment of your
application if your overall nursing or midwifery education contained:

  •  Significant deficits in theory content or hours compared to NMBI requirements
  • Significant deficits in clinical content or hours compared to NMBI requirements

The NMBI letter will provide a breakdown of the clinical and theory in your nursing education programme(s) compared with the Board’s requirements.
Other grounds for refusal include:

  • Failing your adaptation and assessment placement/complete Aptitude Test 
  • Submitting fraudulent documents or information as part of your application
  • Having a relevant criminal conviction(s) in this or another country*
  • Being the subject of a fitness to practise investigation by another regulator*
  • Being found guilty of misconduct by another regulator

The asterisk (*) above means that these situations will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Refusal will depend on the seriousness of the conviction and its relevance to practising nursing or midwifery.


You can lodge an appeal with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) within 56 days upon receipt of the decision if you have been:

  • Refused registration
  • Given an adaptation and assessment decision/Aptitude Test
  • Failed your adaptation and assessment placement or failed full Aptitude Test

You need to complete an online form which you can access by logging into the My Account section

After you have lodged an appeal through the online form in your “My Account” section, your application will be reviewed by NMBI’s Registration Committee at its next meeting. The Registration Committee, which is made up of seven members of the NMBI Board, may decide to:

  • Uphold the original decision
  • Seek further information
  • Issue a new decision

Understanding adaptation and assessment decisions 

NMBI issues a letter requiring the applicant to complete  an “adaptation and assessment” decision, which means that you need to successfully complete a supervised placement in an Irish health care facility, before you can be registered. This decision is taken based on the education assessment  and

  • If the theory and clinical content or hours of your overall nursing or midwifery education falls short of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) requirements
  • Where you have enough hours or appropriate content to allow you to complete a period of adaptation and assessment.

NMBI will place your name on our Candidate Register and issue a Candidate Certificate for the duration of this placement.

How to secure your placement

The decision letter will include details of how to join our Candidate Register and information about adaptation and assessment. You cannot start your placement until you have your Candidate Certificate.

NMBI will also send you a list of approved health care facilities as suitable placement sites. Please keep your decision letter safe as you will need to send a copy of the letter to the Clinical Practice Co-ordinator in an approved health care facility, to secure your placement.

NMBI has granted approval to RCSI’s Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery to co-ordinate and manage an aptitude test for overseas applicants.

Six important points about adaptation placements

  1. You or your employer must contact the health care facilities on the list to secure a placement
  2. You must complete your placement in an NMBI approved health care facility for your division
  3. You have 12 months, from the date on your decision letter, to secure this placement
  4. Health care facilities may require you to have secured an offer of employment, subject to registration, before they will consider you for a placement.
  5. NMBI has no role in organising placements, assisting with visas or permits or securing you an offer of employment
  6. The minimum timeframe for completing the placement is six weeks, but the health care facility can extend the placement timeframe to 12 weeks. NMBI approval is needed for extensions beyond 12 weeks.

What happens next?

After you have secured a placement, you need to send the completed Adaptation Placement Request Form to NMBI.  You can access this form by logging into the website through the My Account section.This form should be completed by you or your prospective employer in Ireland.

You also need to send us a letter of confirmation from the health care facility with:

  • Name of the placement site
  • Proposed placement start date
  • Proposed placement finish date

You will need to use the “Competence Assessment Tool”, which explains how the placement is assessed. The tool is available for download on the NMBI website. This assessment tool will be used by the health care facility to track your progress during the placement. 

After your placement/ Aptitude Test

At the end of your placement/Aptitude Test, the Director of Nursing or Midwifery will be asked to recommend whether or not you are eligible for registration. If you are recommended for registration, NMBI will inform you and request the registration fee.
After you pay the registration fee, NMBI will finalise your registration and issue your registration details within 7 – 10 working days.

Aptitude Test

NMBI has granted approval to RCSI’s Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery to co-ordinate and manage an aptitude test for overseas applicants.

- See more at: http://www.nmbi.ie/Registration/Candidates/Adaptation-assessment-candidates#sthash.mzMxMFJe.dpuf

Nursing Job Sites In Ireland

In case your license, education, experience and practice are considered the equivalent of a Nurse counterpart in Ireland – and you have the requisite IELTS scores, here are some of the most popular web sites on jobs for Nurses


TTM Healthcare - https://www.ttmhealthcare.ie/category/nursing/80?gclid=CO-hssXdqtECFUYKKgodp2kBBg

Medical Staff, Ireland - https://www.medicalstaffireland.com/


Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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