If you are an overseas nurse or midwife who would like to work in Ireland, you first need to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI). The steps you need to take are outlined below, but for full details please visit the NMBI’s website and consult this NMBI PDF.
The NMBI advise that you should not seek a midwifery or nursing job in Ireland or try to move to Ireland before your registration has been granted. For advice on visa and immigration requirements and on finding a midwifery or nursing job in Ireland once your registration is secured, please see below.
Before you begin your application for registration, you need to go through the following two steps:
The NMBI’s register is divided into different divisions. The divisions refer to different specialisations of nursing and midwifery. Please study these divisions (on page five of this PDF) and decide which ones you would like to apply for registration under.
This decision will be determined by the nursing or midwifery training programmes you have completed. For example, if you have trained as a general nurse in your country, you would apply for the General Division of the register. Though you can apply for more than one division, please note that you must hold a qualification in each area you apply for.
Different nurses have to apply for registration under different ‘groups’. Which group you apply under will depend on where you trained and your other individual circumstances. It is important that you choose the right application group because this will determine what documents you need to submit to the NMBI and how your application will be processed.
The EU sets minimum standards for general nursing and midwifery training. When countries join the EU, they must make sure their nursing and midwifery training programmes meet these standards. If you began your training after the date your country did this, you should qualify for Automatic Recognition. This means that the NMBI can automatically register you after you apply for registration. The table on page 9 of this PDF lists the dates on which different countries met these requirements.
If you started your training programme before your country ensured it met the EU standards, you may meet the requirements for Acquired Recognition. To do this, you will need to prove that the work experience you have gained as a nurse or midwife since qualifying is enough to allow you to join the register. You should contact the authority responsible for registering nurses or midwives in your country and ask them to provide proof of your professional practice.
You qualify for Group 2 if you are a general nurse or midwife who has trained in an EU/EEA country, but you do not meet the standards for Automatic or Acquired Recognition.
You also qualify for Group 2 if you have trained in an EU/EEA country in a division of the register other than general nursing or midwifery. This is because the EU does not have a set of agreed standards for the other divisions.
If you fall into Group 2, the NMBI will process your application through what is called the ‘general system’. This means that they will conduct a full assessment of your training and education. Your training will be compared to the standards in place in Ireland for your particular division.
English language requirements for Group 1 and Group 2 applicants
There are no official English language requirements for registration with the NMBI if you qualify for Group 1 or Group 2. Individual employers may, however, demand proof of your English language abilities, such as an IELTS Certificate at a certain grade.
If you trained as a nurse or midwife outside the EU/EEA then you qualify for Group 3. To apply for registration with the NMBI, you must be fully registered as a nurse or midwife in your country/current country of residence and must have completed a recognised nursing or midwifery training programme. For full details of the criteria you need to meet, please consult page 12 of this PDF.
English language requirements for Group 3 nurses and midwives
If English is not your first or primary language, you must prove to the NMBI that your English is of a sufficient level to undertake nursing duties in Ireland. The only proof that the NMBI will accept of your English language competence is an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) certificate.
You must supply an IELTS certificate that is no more than two years old at the time of application. In the IELTS exam, you must have scored an overall grade of 7, with at least a 7 in speaking and writing and at least a 6.5 in reading and listening. For full details of the NMBI’s English language requirements, please consult page 13 of this PDF.
If you have read the information above and are sure that you are qualified to make an application, you can apply for registration with the NMBI. There are five steps to this process:
You can access the application request form here. As you fill in the form, you will need to give your contact details and state what division(s) of the register you would like to apply for.
If you are a Group 3 applicant and have taken the IELTS exam, you will need to provide your TRF (Test Report Form) number so the NMBI can verify that your IELTS certificate is genuine. This number can be found in the bottom right hand corner of your IELTS certificate.
You will need to supply your credit/debit card details in order to pay your Overseas Registration Application Fee. The fee will be stated on the form, but details about current fees can also be found here.
When the NMBI has processed your application request form and received your fee, they will issue you with an Overseas Registration Application Pack.
Please carefully read and follow all the instructions contained in the pack. You also need to note your Application Reference Number, which is found in the top right- hand corner of the pack and in the letter you will receive with it. You will need to quote this number in all your correspondence with the NMBI.
The pack contains details of how to set up an account with the NMBI, which you can use to keep track of your application’s progress.
You will need to return your application together with a passport-sized photograph and certified copies of your passport or other documents that prove your identity. Any documents not in English must be translated, signed and stamped by a qualified translator.
When completing the application, you must give details of your nursing or midwifery qualifications and your registration, and answer questions about your practice as a nurse or midwife.
Full details of what you are required to do can be found on pages 16-19 of this PDF.
The application pack contains some forms that you need to send to certain authorities in your country (or any country in which you have been registered or have practised). The authorities will need to complete the forms then return them directly to the NMBI, along with any documents required.
These forms ask for important information about your registration, training and employment.
When you have set up an online account with the NMBI (see above) you can keep track of your application and see which forms the NMBI have received and which they are still waiting for.
Please consult pages 20-24 of this PDF for details of the forms and how they should be completed. Please note that some of the requirements are different for nurses and midwives in groups 1, 2 and 3.
If any of the authorities send in documents that are not in English, the NMBI will send you copies of the documents so you can have them translated by a qualified translator before returning them to the NMBI.
Please note that all the documentation required to support your application must be received by the NMBI no later than six months after you started the application. If the NMBI do not receive all the documents they need within this time period, you will be required to start your application again.
When the NMBI have received all the information they need, they will assess your application. Remember that you can keep track of your application’s progress through your online account.
When applications arrive, the NMBI place them in a queue and assess them in chronological order. Applications cannot be fast-tracked for any reason.
When all the documentation has been received, the NMBI will take no more than 90 days to assess your application. If, however, the NMBI require more information from you before they can make their decision, the application process might take longer.
When the assessment has been completed, the NMBI will send you a decision letter.
There are four possible outcomes of the assessment process. The one that applies to you will be made clear in the decision letter. The possible outcomes are:
If the NMBI are satisfied that you meet all their requirements, they will ask you to pay a registration fee. Once this fee has been paid, the NMBI will finalise your registration. Within ten working days, they will send you a letter informing you which division of the register you have been registered in. You will also receive an Initial Registration Certificate (which includes your name, pin, division and date of registration) and an Annual Retention Certificate, which will make it easier for you to renew your registration, which you are required to do each year. More details can be found on page 27 of this PDF.
The NMBI might need further information from you before they can make a decision. They may ask you to explain something you have written on your application form or they might require further documents or information from a relevant authority. Please try to provide the NMBI with the information or documents they have asked for as soon as possible.
You may have to undertake a period of supervised employment in an Irish hospital or other healthcare facility and/or you may have to pass the Aptitude Test before you can be registered. If this applies to you, you will be placed on the NMBI’s Candidate Register and issued with a Candidate Certificate.
If the NMBI require you to complete a placement, they will send you a list of acceptable medical institutions. It is your responsibility to contact one of these institutions and arrange your placement. The placements usually last between six and 12 weeks.
During the placement, you will be assessed. When the placement comes to an end, the institution’s director of nursing or midwifery will decide whether to recommend you for registration. If they recommend you, the NMBI will ask you to pay the registration fee. When this fee has been paid, you will receive your registration within 10 working days.
For more information about placements, please consult pages 28-9 of this PDF.
Details about the Aptitude Test – which is currently only being administered on a pilot basis – can be found here.
If you are refused registration, your decision letter will explain the reasons why. A summary of the reasons why registration might be refused can be found on page 30 of this PDF. This page also contains details of how you can appeal against the decision to refuse you registration.
Even if you successfully complete your registration, it is your responsibility to find a job. Reputable healthcare recruitment consultancies and nursing agencies, like IHR group, can help you find a midwifery or nursing job in Ireland free of charge.
Nurses and midwives from EU/EEA countries currently need no visas to live and work in Ireland. This situation may change, however, for workers from the UK depending on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. At present, it is unclear how Brexit might affect the rights of UK nationals to work in the EU/EEA, but as soon as any changes are made, we will update this website.
If you are not from an EU/EEA country, you may need a visa to live and work in Ireland. The immigration and visa rules are somewhat complex so it is best to consult the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service to find out if you need a visa and which visa would be best for you.
Many nurses and midwives choose to apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit for jobs likely to last at least two years or a General Employment Permit for jobs lasting less than two years.
The Critical Skills Employment Permit may be applied for by either you or your employer. To get this permit, you must hold an offer of a job that will last at least two years, paying at least €30,000 per annum. More information about the Critical Skills Employment Permit, including fees, can be found here.
The General Employment Permit can be applied for by either you or your employer. To get this permit, you normally need to hold an offer of a job that will last at least 12 months, with a salary of at least €30,000 per year, though there are some exceptions to this rule. More information about the General Employment Permit, as well as details about fees, can be accessed here.
Even if you are granted one of the above permits, you may still need to apply for an entry visa. To find out whether you need an entry visa and to learn how to make an online application for one, click here.
If you are a non-EU/EEA national, you will also need to register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau once you are in Ireland.
If you are an overseas professional who would like to work in a doctor’s job in Ireland, you will first need to register with the Irish Medical Council. The Medical Council’s website can be accessed here. To get your registration, you need to follow the steps listed below:
Anyone wishing to work in a doctor’s job in Ireland should consult the Medical Council’s online eligibility chart. This chart will ask you a series of questions then tell you which division of the Medical Council’s register you should apply for and which route to registration you should follow.
The routes to registration are different for doctors who trained in the EU/EEA and for those who trained outside it. The division of the register you apply for will depend on your qualifications.
The divisions of the Register of Medical Practitioners are:
More Information about each of the divisions can be found at the bottom of this webpage.
Once you have made sure that you are eligible for registration with the Medical Council, the next step is to secure a doctor’s job in Ireland. Reputable healthcare recruitment consultancies, like IHR Group, will be able to find you a job in Ireland free of charge.
Once you have found a doctor’s job in Ireland, you should apply for registration with the Medical Council as soon as you can. To do this, you will need to set up an online account, which you can do here.
As you go through the application process, you should have a debit or credit card with you as you will be asked to pay an application fee. Current fees – which can vary depending on the type of registration you are applying for – are listed here.
When you make your application, you will be asked to submit a number of documents. These will include a Certificate of Current Professional Status. You will need to request this certificate from the relevant medical authorities in your country. This certificate should show that you are in good standing with no ongoing proceedings or findings against you. You will need to ask the authorities in your country to send this certificate directly to the Medical Council.
A diagram showing the different stages of the application process can be accessed here.
When you have submitted your application and any documentation required, you will be issued with a reference number, which you should use in any dealings with the Medical Council. The Council will process and assess your application and will then inform you whether or not you are eligible for registration.
If you are granted registration, you will be informed of the division of the Medical Council’s register you can register in.
Some doctors may be required to sit the Pre-Registration Examination System test before they can fully register.
All workers from the EU/EEA have the right to live and work in Ireland without the need for a visa or employment permit. Due to the UK’s decision to leave the EU, it is not clear if this right will continue to be enjoyed by doctors from the UK after Brexit, but we will update this webpage as soon as we have any knowledge about how the situation might change.
Doctors who are not from EU/EEA countries may need to apply for an employment permit from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. There are different types of employment permit so it is best to consult their website to find out which one is best for you.
More information about immigration requirements for doctors can be found on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).
Please note that even non-EU/EEA doctors who receive an employment permit may still need an entry visa to enter Ireland. Entry visas may also be required for doctors who wish to enter Ireland to take the Pre-Registration Examination System test. Details can be found on the INIS website.