Completing your Application for an Annual Practising Certificate (APC)


Annual Practising Certificates (APCs)

All practising veterinarians need to be registered and have a current practising certificate.

If you’re not already registered with the Veterinary Council of New Zealand, you first need to apply for registration here.

Applying for your APC

To apply for, or renew an APC, fill out the application form located on your profile page, here .

You can read our Guidance Notes to help you apply.

Important points

  • It’s your professional responsibility to renew your practising certificate, not the responsibility of your employer or members of your staff
  • An application for an APC isn’t complete until we’ve received a complete application including the fee.
  • If you apply for an APC after your current certificate expires on 31 March, you’ll need to wait until we’ve issued a practising certificate for the new practising year before you can work as a veterinarian
  • Provided there aren’t any issues needing follow-up, you should receive your APC within 5 days of submitting your complete application and fee.
  • If you don’t intend to practise, fill out the form and choose 1 of the non-practising options. 

Implications of Practising without an APC
As well as being illegal, practising without an APC may mean you aren’t covered by your indemnity insurance policy.

'Practice' includes any aspect of veterinary endeavour, including:

  • signing any certificate as a veterinarian
  • prescribing
  • treating
  • reporting or giving advice in a veterinary capacity using the knowledge, skills and competence initially attained for the BVSc degree. 'Practice' goes wider in this context than clinical veterinary science to include regulatory and compliance functions, teaching, consultancy, advice and health and welfare management.

A key question to ask yourself when thinking about whether you need an APC is: Does the position carry or convey the expectation that I am a veterinarian?
A practitioner who’s registered as non-practising needs to meet the statutory and ethical obligations of the Veterinarians Act 2005, but can’t legally practise as a veterinarian. This means that they aren’t entitled to treat, prescribe restricted veterinary medicines or give advice in a veterinary capacity. 

The non-practising category is intended to allow veterinarians who are retired, overseas, taking time out, or working in areas where registration isn’t needed, to keep their name on the register. Choosing the non-practising status and paying the annual register maintenance fee means that:

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


Retired from Practice 

The retired category is for permanently retired veterinarians. This allows their details to remain on the public (non-practising) Register at no cost. Retired veterinarians who want us to send them Council communications need to pay the non-practising fee.

Recency of Practice
The Council must be satisfied that veterinarians meet the practising requirements of the Act which include recency of practice requirements.
Veterinarians need to ask for Council approval in circumstances where they:

  • wish to resume veterinary practice after a break of 3 or more years; or
  • wish to start practice in New Zealand and haven’t practised within 1 year of graduation, or within 1 year of passing an approved registration examination or assessment programme; or
  • they wish to start work in a field of veterinary activity they haven’t ever practised in, or haven’t practised in for 3 years or more

If any of these apply to you please send full details of your practising intentions, work history and CPD activities in a CV format.