Registering with Ahpra for the first time – what you need to know

Avant media

Wednesday, 11 October 2023

Keyboard graphic with the word register imprinted over the top.

When you graduate, your student registration will end and you will be responsible for completing the provisional registration process with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) before starting your intern training.

1. What is Ahpra and what is its role?

Ahpra is the national agency that supports the Medical Board of Australia. One of Ahpra’s statutory responsibilities is to manage the registration process for health practitioners.

2. How to register with Ahpra and why

It’s mandatory that you register with Ahpra if you want to practise. Once you are registered with Ahpra, you are registered to practise your profession.

The online application form asks a series of questions to ensure you are eligible to apply for registration online. If your pathway to registration is not currently supported, you will be prompted to apply using the General registration application form by contacting Ahpra’s customer service team. More information is available on the Graduate Application Types webpage.

How long does it take to register?

You will need to complete an application for provisional registration four to six weeks before you complete your study course. (If you apply too early your application may not be accepted as the disclosures you make must be as recent as possible.)

Allow yourself enough time to complete and submit the online application. There is a function for you to save and come back at a later time.

Do you need an international criminal history check?

Some applicants are required to apply for an International Criminal History Check (ICHC) before starting the registration process. This could take some time.

It is mandatory to apply for an ICHC if you:

  • declare a criminal history outside Australia; and/or
  • have lived or have been primarily based in one or more countries other than Australia for six consecutive months or longer, when aged 18 years or more.

Graduates are responsible for requesting and paying for an ICHC, and can apply for this from the Ahpra approved vendors, Fit2Work or AIS International.

Once you have applied, the approved vendor will provide an ICHC reference page and check reference number. You will need to provide these as part of your Ahpra registration.

There is no need to send your ICHC results to Ahpra, as they will receive it directly from the approved vendor.

For more information on international criminal history checks refer to Ahpra's international criminal history checks page.

You will also need

  • A Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card to pay the application and registration fees. You can find the fee amounts on the Medical Board of Australia website.
  • Details of your qualification including your student identification number.
  • Proof of identity (see below).

Complete the Ahpra registration online form here.

3. What do you have to disclose to Ahpra?

The registration process involves an assessment of your fitness to practise and requires you to disclose a range of information including:

Any criminal history

Criminal history includes:

  • every charge made against the person for an offence
  • every plea of guilty or finding of guilt by a court for an offence, regardless if a conviction is recorded for the offence
  • every conviction of a person for an offence.

There are different requirements in different states and territories. You must tell Ahpra if:

  • you’re in Western Australia and you’ve been convicted for unpaid parking fines
  • you’re in Queensland and pleaded guilty to an offence charge and the outcome was guilty without conviction
  • you’re in Tasmania and you’ve received a speeding or parking fine.

If you were convicted of an offence more than ten years ago you must declare the offence. This is because spent convictions legislation does not apply to criminal history disclosure requirements.

Ahpra conducts an Australian criminal history screening on every registration applicant and, where applicable, an ICHC (if this applies to you, don’t forget you will need your ICHC reference page and check reference number before you can submit your application).

While every case is decided on an individual basis, Ahpra’s National Board will base their consideration of your criminal history on ten factors, including the nature and gravity of the offence or alleged offence and its relevance to health practice. For more information view the criminal history registration standard.

It will delay your application if you do not declare your criminal history and one is found during the screening process.

English language skills

The registration standard for English language skills applies to all new registration applicants, regardless of the country you graduated in.

Under the standards, you can demonstrate your English language competency if English is your primary language and you have undertaken and satisfactorily completed:

a. all of your primary and secondary education which was taught and assessed solely in English in a recognised country, and

b. tertiary qualifications in the relevant professional discipline you are relying on to support your eligibility for registration, which were taught and assessed solely in English.

Where English is not your primary language, there are a number of other ways to demonstrate your English language competency set out in the registration standards.

Exposure prone procedures

You also need to indicate if you will be performing exposure prone procedures (EPPs) in your practice. If you answer yes, then you are required to indicate whether or not you agree to comply with the ‘Guidelines: Registered health practitioners and students in relation to blood-borne viruses’. 

You can read more information about EPPs and these requirements in Avant’s article here.

Any impairment

An impairment is defined as any physical or mental impairment, disability, condition or disorder (including substance abuse or dependency) that detrimentally affects or is likely to detrimentally affect your capacity to safely practise your profession or undertake clinical training.

If you have a permanent condition which potentially affects your “…capacity to practise the profession” because, for example, you have to avoid certain tasks or situations, it is prudent to disclose this condition in your registration application.

Ahpra may require current documentation about your diagnosis and/or treatment plan and a statement regarding your current fitness to practise from your treating health practitioner. It’s important you provide all details of any impairments that meet the definition, and how you are managing them when you submit your application.

Proof of identity

All new applicants for registration must also provide sufficient evidence of their identity. This includes at least one document from categories A, B and C, and one document from Category D if the document supplied for category B or C does not contain evidence of a current Australian residential address.

  • Category A (for example, an Australian Birth Certificate or Adoption Certificate, a current Australian passport or expired Australian passport which has not been cancelled, and was current within the preceding three years, or a current Australian visa in combination with a current foreign passport).
  • Category B (for example, an Australian passport, current Australian driver’s licence or a current Australian Student ID Card).
  • Category C (for example, an academic transcript from an Australian university or institution, issued in Australia, current bank account details or a current Medicare card)
  • Category D if necessary (for example, an Australian utility account less than 12 months old or a current Australian lease or tenancy agreement). Please refer to the Ahpra fact sheet on proof of identity requirements for more information.

Your identity documents need to be certified in line with Ahpra’s guidelines before being submitted.

4. Further details of the application process

You will need to have certified copies of your supporting documents ready to upload when you submit your online application.

Make sure that the information you provide is accurate. Remember some of the information, for example your full name, qualifications and any conditions on your registration, will be publicly available on the register of practitioners on the Ahpra website.

For more information, see Ahpra's Supporting Documentation for Graduate Applications.

5. Professional indemnity insurance and registration

All medical practitioners who undertake any form of practice must have professional indemnity insurance.

Professional indemnity insurance may be provided by your employer. You should ensure it covers all capacities in which you practise. Initial registration and annual renewal of registration will require a declaration that you will be covered for all aspects of practice for the whole period of your registration. It is important that you understand the professional indemnity insurance arrangements registration standard.

Avant's Intern Indemnity Insurance Policy inclusions:

As an Intern, your hospital may not cover you for every circumstance. Avant's Intern Indemnity Insurance Policy cover includes:

  • Intern professional indemnity - Up to $20 million in claims and legal costs associated with a claim made against you in the provision of healthcare as a medical practitioner.
  • Unpaid healthcare cover - For those times when you may provide healthcare without being paid, such as an unpaid volunteer at a sporting event.
  • Legal fees cover - Cover up to $500,000 if you are required to participate in a disciplinary, criminal or coronial inquiry. There is also cover for up to $150,000 for an employer dispute such as a complaint that arises from your involvement in your hospital’s rotation program.
  • Automatic communicable disease cover - Provides you a lump sum payment of $125,000 in certain circumstances if you contract Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B or HIV.

Cover is subject to approval and to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy.

In addition to medical indemnity insurance, intern members also have access to the Medico-legal Advisory Service and Key Support Services.

6. Do you have any questions on this topic?

If you would like more information, visit Ahpra's frequently asked questions page or contact Avant’s Medico-legal Advisory Service on 1800 128 268.

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Professional indemnity insurance products are issued by Avant Insurance Limited, ABN 82 003 707 471, AFSL 238 765 (‘Avant Insurance’). The information provided by Avant Insurance is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should consider these, having regard to the appropriateness of the advice before deciding to purchase or continue to hold these products. For full details including the terms, conditions, and exclusions that apply, please read and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording, which are available at or by contacting Avant Insurance on 1800 128 268.

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