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Registration of veterinary nurses educated outside the UK

overseas veterinary Student

The veterinary nursing profession

Only veterinary nurses registered with the RCVS can be delegated to administer medical treatment and perform minor surgery in the UK. This means that if you are seeking employment in the UK you must apply to join the Register of Veterinary Nurses. The process differs depending on where you achieved your qualification and which qualification you hold. There are four key criteria that you will need to evidence:

  1. You must hold a veterinary nursing qualification recognised by the ministry of education in the country where you achieved it.
  2. Your qualification must be similar in content to veterinary nursing qualifications delivered in the UK.
  3. You must have experience working in a veterinary practice and be competent to work with minimal supervision. Experience could include time you spent working in a veterinary practice during your education.
  4. You must be able to communicate effectively with clients, including in written and spoken English.

There are three steps to registration:

Step 1 

You will submit information about the qualification you completed and your practical experience. The amount of information you need to provide depends on our knowledge of your qualification. The Application Form A and separate Guidance Notes provide guidance on the evidence you need to submit.

Step 2 

If your education and experience is comparable to that delivered in the UK, then your application is likely to be accepted. You will be required to pass the Pre-registration Examination unless your qualification is accredited by the Accreditation Committee for Veterinary Nurse Education (ACOVENE).

Step 3 

Once your application has been accepted and you have passed the Pre-registration Examination (if applicable) you will then be eligible to apply to enter the Register of Veterinary Nurses. You will be required to complete a short course about the Code of Professional Conduct, make your professional declaration and be formally admitted as an associate member of the RCVS.

For details on how to register as a veterinary nurse, please click on the relevant links below:

Holders of ACOVENE-accredited qualifications

If you hold a qualification accredited by ACOVENE, the European accreditation organisation for veterinary nursing programmes you need to complete Application Form A and provide evidence of your qualification, experience, identity and your good standing. See Guidance Notes for further information. A list of ACOVENE accredited qualifications along with accreditation dates are provided below.

Country School Accreditation period
Belgium Thomas More Kempen 2007 onwards
  VIVES University of Applied Sciences September 2023 onwards
Denmark Hansenberg July 2008 – July 2012

Atlantic Technological University (previously known as Letterkenny Institute of Technology)

Dundalk Institute of Technology

National University of Ireland (also known as University College Dublin)

St. John’s Central College Cork

Technological University of the Shannon (previously known as Athlone Institute of Technology

2013 onwards
Italy Abivet S.R.L Roma (attendance course only not distance learning or course delivered in Cremona) 2007 onwards
The Netherlands Aeres MBO Barneveld formally known as Groenhorst College 2007 onwards
Norway Norwegian School for Veterinary Science 2007 onwards
Portugal Instituto Politécnico de Viseu 2015 onwards
Sweden Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU) June 2007 – July 2012

All other applicants

You will need to complete Application form A and Application form B (except if your qualification appears on the list below), and provide evidence of your qualification, experience, identity and good standing.  See Guidance Notes for further information. Application form B allows you the opportunity to provide evidence that your qualification is similar to that delivered in the UK. You will do this by mapping your syllabus/curriculum to the RCVS Day One Skills for Veterinary Nurses and RCVS Day One Competences for Veterinary Nurses. Your syllabus/ curriculum will need to be translated into English.

If you hold one of the qualifications listed below, then you do not need to complete Form B or send a copy of your syllabus/curriculum. It is likely that your application will be accepted as long as you have recent experience (within the last 5 years) working in a veterinary practice.

All applicants will be required to pass the Pre-registration Examination before applying to enter the Register. You will have the option to work in a veterinary practice under supervision for a maximum of one year while you prepare for this examination. 

Country Qualification

i.  Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing (ACM40418, ACM40412, ACM4010, RUV40404)

ii.  BSc Science with Extended Major in Veterinary Technology – University of Queensland issued up to and including 2022

Canada CVMA-accredited college qualifications
Hong Kong

BSc (Hons) in Veterinary Nursing - Hong Kong Polytechnic University issued up to and including 2014.

SCOPE Advanced Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (programme codes 163-30280 (2016 cohort), 173-30280 (2017 cohort), 183-30280 (2018 cohort), 193-30280 (2019 cohort), 203-30280 (2020 cohort), 213-30280 (2021 cohort), 223-30280 (2020 cohort), 223-30280 (2022 cohort)

The Netherlands

Veterinary assistant/Paraveterinary                    (qualification codes 97590 and 22238)

New Zealand

i.  National Diploma in Veterinary Nursing – Level 5 (NCF 0222).

ii.  New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing – Level 6 (NCF 2491).

iii.  Bachelor of Veterinary Technology – Massey University issued up to and including 2018.


i.  Bachelor in Veterinary Nursing – Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco - Agrarian School of Castelo Branco up to and including 2018.

ii.  Bachelor in Veterinary Nursing - Polytechnic Institute of Viseu - Agrarian School of Viseu issued up to and including 2015.

South Africa Diploma in Veterinary Nursing – University of Pretoria issued up to and including 2022.
United States of America AVMA-accredited college qualifications
Zimbabwe Diploma in Veterinary Nursing - University of Zimbabwe issued between 2006 - 2022.

The application process

The relevant application forms along with supporting evidence must be sent to us electronically along with the fee. Letters of good standing or affidavits must be sent directly from the person who wrote it. 

Once we receive a completed application, including details of good standing and payment of the application fee, it will be processed. This can take up to eight weeks.

When you have completed all the requirements for registration, you will be provided with details about how to familiarise yourself with the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct and veterinary legislation.  You will also need to provide your original certificate and identity document. You will then make your professional declaration and be admitted as an associate member of the college.

There is an additional fee to enter the Register, followed by an annual fee if you wish to continue to be registered.

Further details about the registration process can be found on the RCVS Academy.  You can create a free account and register to access the Working in the UK for Veterinary Nurses course where you will find more information about how to complete the application forms.

Application outcomes

You will receive an email confirming the outcome of your application. If you do not agree with the decision you are advised to discuss this with us. In some cases, additional evidence can be supplied, and the application reviewed. Before you prepare to submit further information please contact us.

There are three possible outcomes:

  • Accepted – this means your qualification is considered comparable to a UK veterinary nursing qualification and you are eligible to apply to enter the Register. You will receive an application form and be required to pay a registration fee. Holders of ACOVENE-accredited qualifications are normally accepted.
  • Accepted to enter the Pre-registration Examinations – this means your application has been accepted, however because your course provider is not accredited by ACOVENE you are required to pass the Pre-registration Examinations. There are additional fees payable for this.
  • Rejected – this means your qualification is not suitable for the purposes of entering the Register. A small number of applications are rejected each year. This normally happens when either an applicant does not have a veterinary nursing qualification, the level of the qualification is lower than that completed in the UK, or the qualification is not approved by the relevant authorities (for example, a ministry of education or veterinary regulator) in the country the applicant qualified in. 

Decisions are valid for two years.

English language level

You should be aware that the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses requires that you communicate effectively with clients, including in written and spoken English. The RCVS does not currently require evidence of this, but you are strongly encouraged to prove that your English language ability meets our standards by completing an English Language qualification. If, however at any point during the registration process there is significant doubt about your English language ability, you will be asked to provide additional evidence of your ability and the option of passing IELTS level 7 (or an equivalent English language qualification at the same level or higher).

Translation of documents

If any of the documents you provide in support of your application are not in English, you must also submit the original document along with official translations in English. These can be certified by your school or by a qualified translator or translation company.

We appreciate that translating large documents can be expensive. In some cases we will be able to use our resources to translate documents.  Please contact us to find out the support we can provide.

Application fees

The fees associated with having your application assessed in 2024 are detailed below.

Application type Amount
Holders of ACOVENE-accredited qualifications £85.00
Holders of all other qualifications £171.00

The fees payable for examinations and other assessments in 2024 are detailed below.

Event Amount  
Pre-registration Examinations (1 attempt) OSCE (practical) £460.00
Theory (written) £264.00
Pre-registration assignment £57.00

Please note: there is a separate fee for entering the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses.

Application type Amount
Registration fee (if joining between 1 November 2023 and 30 April 2024) £141
Registration fee (if joining between 1 May and 31 October 2024) £104
Annual registration fee (due 1 November 2024) £82

Career opportunities

Veterinary nursing offers rewarding career opportunities for people interested in animal health and welfare. The demand for veterinary nurses is steadily increasing and employment prospects are excellent. You will find that there are a number of opportunities for you to develop your career further by completing additional qualifications working in an allied profession.

Many veterinary nurses working in practice choose to further their knowledge and skills by studying for additional qualifications, such as the RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Nursing, and it is a requirement that all veterinary nurses keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date by completing at least 15 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) every year.

For further information, please visit Career development for veterinary nurses. You can also get further information about your career in vet nursing in the UK by visiting the VN Futures website.

Our contact details

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
3 Waterhouse Square
138 – 142 Holborn

T 020 7202 0788 

E [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

Filter FAQs

Overseas qualified veterinary nurses

  • Veterinary surgeons who do not also hold an appropriate veterinary nursing qualification may not apply for registration as a veterinary nurse. Please contact our Registration Team who will assist you to register as a veterinary surgeon on  020 7202 0707 or [email protected].

  • Due to strict legislation in the UK it is not possible for you to complete your veterinary nurse education in the UK unless the qualification is accredited by the RCVS. In some circumstances you may be able to complete a short period of work experience in the UK while completing your studies. You are advised to contact us to discuss the training that you have undertaken so that we can advise you further.

  • If you completed your qualification via distance learning your qualification will be carefully scrutinised, especially if the qualification was completed while you lived outside of the country where the college is based. We may contact your course provider for further information. If we believe that your qualification was achieved without the necessary quality checks then your application may be rejected.

  • Applicants must provide evidence of their good standing.  There are two ways you can provide this. 

    If you are registered as a veterinary nurse elsewhere then you must ask the organisation you are registered with to provide a ‘Letter or Certificate of good standing’.  They will confirm that you:

    • are or have been registered with them as a veterinary nurse;
    • have not been the subject of any disciplinary enquiries and that there are no disciplinary findings against you.

    If you are unable to provide a ‘Letter or Certificate of good standing’, you will need to demonstrate evidence of your good standing by completing an affidavit or declaration. 

    The affidavit or declaration is made by you on oath, or in solemn form, before a competent judicial or administrative authority or notary public. The affidavit will confirm:

    • The school and date you obtained your qualification;
    • The specific reason you are not currently registered with a regulatory authority outside the UK eg there is no regulator authority equivalent to the RCVS in the country you trained in;
    • You have not been found guilty of serious professional misconduct or employment disciplinary proceedings in the UK or elsewhere;
    • You have not been convicted of any criminal offences in the UK or elsewhere.
  • The RCVS does not issue permits for entry to work in the UK and is unable to provide advice on such matters. Acceptance of your application by the RCVS does not mean that a permit to enter and work in the UK will be granted.

    Information and assistance can be obtained from the UK Government’s website on visas and immigration.

  • We strongly advise you to have a positive response to your application before coming to the UK. You can seek employment while waiting for your application to be processed, but you are advised to inform your employer that you are not yet registered.

  • We hold a list of people educated outside the UK who have permission to work in a practice under supervision.  You and your employer will need to complete a form detailing your place of work and who will supervise and mentor you. 

  • If you intend to work as a veterinary nurse in the UK, you must register with the RCVS.  In most cases, applicants complete assessment requirements within 6 to 12 months.