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Overseas-qualified veterinary nurses

How to register with the RCVS if you're a veterinary nurse who qualified outside of the UK.

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About registration

You must be on the RCVS Register to practise veterinary nursing in the UK. This applies even if you’re working in the UK for a short period, for example on a Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

To register, you’ll need to give evidence that:

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

Find out more about the application process

Applying for jobs before registration

We strongly advise that you wait until your application has been accepted before coming to the UK. You can seek employment while waiting for your application to be processed, but you should tell the employer that you’re not yet registered.

Work experience placements

In some circumstances you may be able to complete a short period of work experience in the UK while completing your studies. Please email [email protected] to discuss the training that you have undertaken so that we can advise you further.

If you trained as a veterinary surgeon

If you trained as a veterinary surgeon (vet), this does not make you eligible to register as a veterinary nurse (vet nurse) in the UK. You must have a veterinary nursing qualification. Or, you can apply to register as a vet.

The registration process

  • Step 1 – Have your qualifications assessed
  • Step 2 – Pass the pre-registration exam (if needed)
  • Step 2 - Register

Step 1 – Have your qualifications assessed (Application forms A and B)

Application form A (all applicants)

The first step in registering for all applicants is to fill in Application Form A.

This form asks for information about your qualification and your practical experience.

You’ll need to submit certain documents alongside this form, including a letter of good standing. See section 9 of the form for a checklist.

There is more information on how to fill in the form in the Guidance Notes.

Application form B

Application Form B is a more detailed form. You’ll be asked to provide evidence that your qualification covers certain skills and competences.

You do not have to fill in Application Form B if you hold a qualification from:

  • A school that is accredited by the Accreditation Committee for Veterinary Nurse Education (ACOVENE), unless your qualification was completed via distance learning.
  • Certain schools in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, the USA or Zimbabwe. See if your qualification is on the list.

How to submit your form(s)

Your form(s) and supporting evidence should be submitted via email to [email protected].

We recommend you send large documents over several emails or use a file transfer programme.

Do not send applications by post unless this is agreed with us in advance.

Assessment of qualifications fee

We charge a fee for assessing qualifications.

After we’ve received your application, we’ll email you within three working days with payment details. You can pay your fee by credit or debit card, or by bank transfer.

See our fees page and guidance notes to find out how much you have to pay.

Application outcomes

You will receive an email confirming the outcome of your application up to 8 weeks after you’ve applied. Decisions are valid for two years.

There are three possible outcomes of your application:


This means your qualification is considered comparable to a UK veterinary nursing qualification and you are eligible to apply to enter the Register (Step 3).

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 need to pass the Pre-registration Examinations (Step 2).


This means your qualification is not suitable to enter the Register. A small number of applications are rejected each year. This normally happens when:

  • you don’t have a veterinary nursing qualification
  • the level of your qualification is lower than that completed in the UK, or
  • your qualification is not approved by the relevant authorities (for example, a ministry of education or veterinary regulator) in the country where you qualified.
If you don’t agree with our decision

If you don’t agree with our decision, please get in touch with [email protected] so we can discuss your situation.

In some cases, additional evidence can be supplied, and the application reviewed. Before you prepare to submit further information please contact us.

Step 2 – Pass the Pre-registration Examination

If we approve your application, the next step is to sit the pre-registration exam.

You can work in a veterinary practice under supervision for a maximum of one year while you prepare for this exam.

You do not need to pass the pre-registration exam if your qualification is ACOVENE-accredited.

Find out more about the pre-registration exam.

Step 3 - Register

Once your application has been accepted and you’ve passed the pre-registration exam (if applicable), you can apply to join the Register. To complete your registration, you’ll need to:

  • complete a short course about the Code of Professional Conduct,
  • provide your original certificate and identity document,
  • make your professional declaration, and
  • pay your registration fee.

You will then be formally admitted to the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses.

Holders of ACOVENE-accredited qualifications

If you hold a qualification accredited by ACOVENE when you achieved it, you need to:

See section 9 of the application form for a checklist of evidence you need to provide.

You do not have to:

  • fill in Application Form B, or
  • take the pre-registration exam

unless you graduated outside of the accreditation period.

If you achieved an ACOVENE-accredited qualification via distance learning, you must also fill in Application Form B.

Read more about the application process

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

Other applicants with exemptions

If you hold one of the following qualifications listed, you do not need to complete Application Form B.

However, you’ll still need to:

  • complete Application Form A,
  • provide the relevant supporting evidence,
  • take the pre-registration exam.

It is likely that your application will be accepted as long as you’ve worked in a veterinary practice within the last five years.

Read more about the application process

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.

Distance learning qualifications

If you completed your qualification via distance learning, it will be carefully scrutinised. This is particularly important if you completed it while living outside 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, your application may be rejected.

Visa, immigration and work permit requirements

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.

English language requirements

To work as a vet nurse in the UK, you must be able to communicate effectively with clients in written and spoken English. This is set out in the Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses.

We do not currently ask for evidence of your level of English. However, we strongly encourage you to prove that your English language ability meets our standards. You can do this by completing an English Language qualification. 

If at any point during the registration process there is significant doubt about your English language ability, you will be asked to provide additional evidence. You will also be given the option of passing IELTS level 7 (or an equivalent English language qualification at the same level or higher).

Letters of good standing

When you fill in Application From A, you’ll be asked to provide evidence of your good standing.  There are two ways you can do this. 

If you are registered as a veterinary nurse elsewhere

You must ask the organisation you’re 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, 
  • you have not been the subject of any disciplinary enquiries, and 
  • there are no disciplinary findings against you.

If you are unable to provide a Letter or Certificate of good standing you will need to complete an affidavit or declaration. 

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

  • The school and date you obtained your qualification.
  • The specific reason you are not currently registered with a regulatory authority outside the UK. For example, if there is no regulator authority equivalent to the RCVS in the country you trained in.
  • That you have not been found guilty of serious professional misconduct or employment disciplinary proceedings in the UK or elsewhere.
  • That you have not been convicted of any criminal offences in the UK or elsewhere.

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 help you translate documents. Please contact us to find out more.

Application fees

To register with the RCVS, you’ll need to pay fees for:

  • Having your application assessed
  • Examinations and other assessments 
  • Entering the Register

See our fees page for a detailed breakdown of what you’ll need to pay.

Get more information 

The RCVS Academy has courses on working in the UK and pre-registration exam support.

Go to the RCVS Academy

Contact our team

By phone: 020 7202 0788 

By email: [email protected]

By post: Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, 3 Waterhouse Square, 138 – 142 Holborn, London, EC1N 2SW

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