Starting 2 April 2018, applicants who have qualifications from outside of Ireland and wish to obtain registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland must now satisfy the Board that they have the necessary knowledge of English to communicate effectively in their practice.

All applicants must provide evidence that demonstrates competence in the four mandatory skills of communication, that are speaking, reading, listening and writing. In order to facilitate this, it is proposed to offer all applicants from outside of Ireland a number of methods by which they can demonstrate that they meet the NMBI English Language requirements.

Pathway 1: If the applicant is trained in English in a NMBI Recognised Country

The pre-registration nursing or midwifery qualification which an applicant is relying on for registration was taught and examined in English in one of the NMBI recognised countries within the last 5 years (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA or UK).

Evidence required:

A letter on headed paper or an email from the applicant’s training institution covering the following:

  • The location of the training institution
  • The name of the training programme attended
  • The dates of attendance
  • Confirmation that the course was taught and assessed in English

Pathway 2: If the applicant was registered and practised in English

An applicant who wishes to rely on evidence that they have registered and practised in English must be able to prove that they have 3 years post registration practice within the last five years in one of the recognised countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA or UK).

Evidence required:

A letter on headed paper or an email from the applicant’s employer/s or Nursing Authority covering the following:

  • location of employment
  • the dates of employment
  • statement that the applicant was practising as a nurse or midwife primarily through English.

Pathway 3: English Language Tests

The applicant may submit a certificate of test results from either the International English Language Test System (IELTS) or Occupational English Test (OET).

Evidence required:

NMBI  accepts International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Test,  IELTS Academic Test for UKVI, and the Occupational English Language Test (OET)  as evidence of English language competency.

Please refer to the tables below for the minimum levels in each of the tests that are accepted by NMBI:

IELTS Academic Test Minimum scores
Listening 6.5
Reading 6.5
Writing 7.0
Speaking 7.0
Overall 7.0
OET Minimum scores
Listening C+
Reading C+
Writing B
Speaking B

Points to note:

  • Test results should be less than two years old. If your test results are out of date, you will need to re-sit the IELTS/OET
  • You must provide IELTS Academic Test Report Form (TRF) number OR OET Candidate Number  as part of Step 1 of the application process, detailed in the next section
  • NMBI will independently verify your scores
  • Only one test result will be accepted and not combined results


  • Do not apply for registration until you meet the minimum scores under the IELTS Academic Test/OET
  • Ensure that the test result is current
  • Remember that if you make an application, and don’t meet the English language competence requirements, the assessment fee is non-refundable

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