Guidance on completing your Annual Practising Certificate (APC) application and the workforce survey


On this page:
Information about your APC
Who should submit an APC application?
Who needs an APC?
Completing the form
Personal and contact details
Public Register information
Practising intentions
Recency of practice
Overseas practice
Fitness to practise
Health conditions
Continuing professional development (CPD)
Declaration
Fees and payment
Workforce survey

Information about your APC

All veterinarians must have an APC in order to practice and they must be renewed annually (before 1 April each year). You can renew your APC online. We email veterinarians in February inviting them to apply online and giving them details on how to log in and renew.

Who should submit an APC application?

You need to submit an APC application and fee if you:

  • want to practise as a veterinarian in New Zealand from 1 April (fee required)
  • want to remain on the public Register of Veterinarians with a non practising status (fee required)
  • are permanently retired from practice but wish to remain on the public Register of Veterinarians (no fee required)
  • want to be removed from the Register of Veterinarians (no fee required).

Who needs an APC?

If you want to practise from 1 April you need an APC.

We define “practice” as wider than clinical practice. It includes reporting or giving advice in a veterinary capacity, regulatory and compliance functions, teaching, consultancy, research and management roles.

A key question to ask when considering whether you need an APC is “Does the work I’m doing carry or convey the expectation that I’m a veterinarian?”

If you don’t intend to return to practice in New Zealand until later in the year, you can delay renewing your practising certificate until that time – for more information see Practising intentions.

Practising without a current practising certificate is illegal and can result in a conviction and fine of up to $10,000.

Other consequences of not holding a current practising certificate are that you can’t carry out certification and prescribing activities or undertake significant surgical procedures. You’re also unlikely to be covered by your indemnity insurer. If you’re insured with VPIS you won’t be covered for events which occurred when you didn’t hold a current practising certificate.

Don’t let your practising certificate expire before you apply for a new one. The online Register of Veterinarians records the start date of your APC. This means that it’s visible to all, including insurers, veterinary medicine wholesalers and employers.

It’s your professional responsibility, not your employer’s, to renew your practising certificate.

Completing the form

Personal and contact details

We must include information about registered and practising veterinarians on the publicly available Register of Veterinarians (the Register). The information we display includes practitioners’ names, registration statuses and qualifications.

The Register is available as an online searchable facility on our website.

Changes to your Register entry

To change the name you’re registered under, or have qualifications added to your register entry, you need to send us certified documentary evidence. You can do this online by logging into your profile and clicking on the Request Name Change button on your profile.

Public Register information

This part of the form asks you to indicate which personal details you would like to appear on the public register.

Practising intentions

Please indicate your practice intentions for the new practising year. If you intend practising in New Zealand from 1 April you must hold a current practising certificate. (See: Who needs an APC?)

If you’re not intending to practise in New Zealand during the practising year (starting 1 April and ending 31 March), or intend returning to practice later in the year, you can choose not to apply for an APC now (and apply later in the year if you need it). APC fees are reduced as the year goes on — see Our fees for details on the prorated APC fees.

What’s the difference between non practising, retired, and removal from the Register?

None of these categories entitle you to practise as a veterinarian. However with a non-practising status:

  • we keep your details on the public (non-practising) Register of Veterinarians
  • we keep you current on VCNZ and professional issues by sending regular VCN publications and documents
  • we continue inviting you to apply for an APC or choose another practising status.

The retired category is for permanently retired veterinarians. This allows your details to remain on the public (non-practising) Register for no fee. Retired veterinarians who wish to receive Council communications need to pay the non practising fee of $18.

If you don’t intend ever practising in New Zealand again, you can apply to have your name removed from the Register of Veterinarians. If at some time in the future you change your mind, you’ll need to send a new application for registration with the required documents and fee.

Recency of practice

Before issuing you with a practising certificate the Council needs to be satisfied that you meet minimum practising standards, including recency of practice requirements.

You need to provide full details of your practice intentions, work history and CPD activities if:

  • you want to return to veterinary practice after a break of three or more years; or
  • you haven’t practised within one year of completing the course requirements for your primary veterinary qualification; or
  • you haven’t practised within one year of passing an approved registration examination or assessment programme; or
  • you’ve started work in a field of veterinary activity you’ve never practised in or haven’t practised in for three years or more; or
  • you want to start work in a field of veterinary activity you’ve never practised in or haven’t practised in for three years or more.

Please submit information about your work history and CPD in a CV format.

Please feel free to contact us (04 473 9600 or [email protected] ) if you need more information.

Overseas practice

If you’ve been practising overseas since your last APC, the Council needs to be satisfied that no issues arose which might affect your eligibility for a New Zealand practising certificate.

If you practised outside New Zealand during the last year, and didn’t arrange for a letter of good standing (LGS) on your return, please immediately arrange for a LGS to be sent direct to us from each overseas regulatory body you were registered with.

If you’re a veterinarian currently practising overseas and intend to return to practice in New Zealand, you’ll need to arrange for an LGS to be sent to us. Please bear in mind that an LGS is only valid for 3 months, so you may want to defer arranging this until closer to your return date.

Fitness to practise

Before issuing you with an APC the we need to be satisfied of your fitness to practise. Things that can impact a veterinarian’s fitness to practise include: mental or physical conditions (eg neurological, psychiatric, depressive or addictive disorders and physical deterioration due to injury, disease or degeneration), adverse disciplinary findings, formal competence enquiries, criminal convictions and any investigations that may result in disciplinary or criminal proceedings.

If you answer yes to any of the questions in this section, you will be asked to provide information or upload documentation with more detail as part of the online application from. Alternatively, please email us [email protected] with full details, including your name and registration number. You could also send this information to the Deputy Registrar in hardcopy in a sealed envelope marked ‘Confidential’. You’ll need to include copies of disciplinary findings and orders, competency findings, conviction notices and medical reports where relevant. We will deal with all sensitive information very carefully, observing confidentiality and privacy principles.

Health Conditions

You must disclose any mental or physical condition with the potential to affect your fitness to practise. If you’re in any doubt please disclose your condition/s, or contact us on 04 473 9600 for advice.

If you haven’t previously told us about your health issue, please upload details or email the Deputy Registrar at [email protected] with details of your condition and its duration. Alternatively, you could send this information to the Deputy Registrar in hardcopy in a sealed envelope marked ‘Confidential’.

You have the option of providing any hospital discharge reports, together with the name and contact details of your treating health practitioner. The APC application asks for your consent to the Registrar contacting your treating practitioner for information about your condition. You may choose not to agree at this stage, preferring instead that the Registrar contacts you first. If you choose this option, there may be a delay in issuing your APC.

The Registrar manages health declarations in consultation with the Council’s Health Advisory Group. Our approach is non-judgmental, rehabilitative and confidential, except in extreme cases where the veterinarian refuses to co-operate and the public interest is threatened.

Our general experience is that no further action is needed for the majority of health declarations. In a small number of cases a voluntary agreement may be put in place, with this early intervention enabling veterinarians with a treatable illness to keep practising while receiving treatment.

We usually communicate by email, but if we send hardcopies of any correspondence about the fitness to practise section, we’ll send these to your contact address in envelopes marked ‘Private and Confidential’. You may wish to choose an alternative email or physical address for correspondence on any fitness to practise issues

Continuing professional development (CPD)

All practising veterinarians need to meet our CPD requirements. Detailed guidance on our current CPD requirements is available on the CPD information page.

From 2022, our new CPD requirements are in effect for all veterinarians. Changes from previous years include:

  • removal of the previous points-based CPD system
  • removal of the requirement to gather a certain number of points or hours each year
  • removal of the requirement to categorise CPD into different areas.

The APC form asks you to confirm that you understand and are meeting our CPD requirements. It’s important that you make sure you are familiar with the requirements before you answer this question. If you say “no” you will still be able to proceed with your application and it’s likely we will contact you to discuss your situation.

We’re mindful of the impact of COVID-19 and the veterinarian shortage on veterinarians. We will take a pragmatic approach to any issues you have with completing CPD.

If you’d like to discuss your CPD please phone or email us at [email protected] .

Declaration

You need to personally complete your APC application. Don’t get somebody else to do this for you.

Please answer this section carefully and honestly. We may treat false declarations or representations as a disciplinary matter.

Fees and payment

There is a discount for early completion of your APC application and payment. To get the discount, we must receive both your application and payment by 8 March. You will need to pay the full fee (no negotiation), if your payment and/or application arrive after 8 March.

We need to receive your APC renewal fee by 31 March so that you can legally practise from 1 April.

You can see the current fees on our fees page.

Workforce survey

We appreciate your contribution in completing this survey. The information you give us is used to monitor workforce trends and provides a valuable information for workforce development and planning. It won’t be published in a form that can identify individual respondents.

Complete this survey only if you were engaged in veterinary practice (which inlcudes non-clinical work) in New Zealand during the previouse year, ended 31 December, (See "who needs an APC?).

Workplace location: We need your physical workplace location so that we can produce accurate data on the geographical distribution of the workforce. Please enter the physical address of the workplace you mostly practiced from in the last calendar year and include the post code.

Employment types(s), role(s), work types(s) and the hours you work per week by work type: The online survey has pre-populated the employment type(s), role(s) and work type(s) fields with the responses you gave last year. Please modify these responses if you need to when completing this section.

  • If you have difficulty identifying a typical week estimate the % of time spent over the year in each work type and apply this to the average hours worked per week.
  • There are 4 sections to record your employment type, role and work type and the hours worked by work type. If you have only one employment type, role and work type you will only need to fill in one section.
  • If you need more than the 4 sections provided, record details for the work types you work the most hours in, and enter any additional hours worked per week in the box provided.
  • If you select OT (other) as a code please specify what this is in the relevant box.
  • Please use the detailed work type codes. Only use the ‘collapsed’ categories of MX, PA and RG if it is not possible to record all your work types or if too difficult to assign hours worked to each work type.

Questions about your weekly hours worked, weeks worked, practicing intentions and absence from NZ: These questions are relevant for both clinical and non-clinical veterinarians given the definition of practice includes activities such as reporting or giving advice in a veterinary capacity, regulatory and compliance functions, teaching, consultancy, research and management roles.


If you want to practise as from 1 April, you need to answer all the application questions, complete the declaration section and pay the fee. You will jeopardise the issue of your APC if you don’t make sure to do all these things.