Practising Certificate

As a registered social worker, you are required to:

The Practising Certificate, which is issued by the SWRB, states that you are legally able to practise social work in New Zealand.

Your certificate expires on 30 June each year and it’s your responsibility to renew it, and ensure it is current and in place before you practise.

Do I need a Practising Certificate?

You must have a Practising Certificate if you are practising social work, including:

  • working directly with clients, including whānau, hapū and community
  • being involved with casework decisions at any level
  • managing and/or supervising other social workers
  • if you apply your social work values, skills, ethics, and knowledge in your role
  • teaching social work practice or theory
  • developing policy that impacts upon social work practice

Apply/renew your certificate

When you apply for or renew your Practising Certificate (by clicking on log-in below), you are asked to make an online declaration that you are competent, and fit to practise. Make sure you have your registration number and if you’ve forgotten your password, you can re-set it once you’ve logged on.

Practising Certificate log-in


Some answers to questions about Practising Certificates

Where do I log in to apply for my Practising Certificate?

Please log into your online account at

How do I renew my registration?

You only need to register once.  It is your Practising Certificate that needs to be renewed each year that you are practising.  To do this, you log into your online account at

My employer will pay the cost of my Practising Certificate.  Can I get an invoice?

Yes, you can get an invoice. Your invoice is available from the Practising Certificate payment screen.  Please log into your account, apply for your Practising Certificate, and select the invoice option.

I’m no longer practising as a social worker so don’t need a Practising CertificateDo I need to do anything?

Please log into your online account and make the non-practising declaration

I’ve changed employers.  How do I update this?

Please log into your account.  On the front page there is an option to update your personal and employer details.

I am now employed by Oranga Tamariki and I have tried to renew my Practising Certificate but it won’t let me.

For permanent employees of Oranga Tamariki, we are required to hold an Oranga Tamariki payment form on file for you.  This is because Oranga Tamariki pays the fees for your Practising Certificate.  You can find your payment form on your intranet, fill it out, and send it to us. Once this payment form has been received, we will process it and contact you, and you will then be able to continue with your Practising Certificate application.

I paid for my Practising Certificate but haven’t received it

We have a very small team and deal with over 6,000 Practising Certificates each year. Processing of these can take some time.

Sometimes social workers pay for their Practising Certificate but haven’t applied online for it.  Please check that you have completed both of these.

I can’t seem to be able to go past the declaration pageWhat do I do?

The declaration page has four tick boxes. 

The first three need to all be ticked to confirm your declaration before clicking on the next steps.

If you are not able to make the declaration, you will need to tick the last box and enter the reasons why.  This will then be checked by a staff member of the SWRB before you can proceed with your Practising Certificate application.

Not practising

If you decide you will not practise as a social worker, you are required to make an online declaration. You can do that by clicking on the following log-in, using your registration number, and completing the online process.

Declaration log-in

Change of address

Registered social workers are legally required to inform the SWRB of residential, mailing or work place address changes.

You can update your details any time by logging into your profile at Practising Certificate online account or alternatively email us at

Name change

As a registered social worker, you are legally required to inform the SWRB if you change your name or you are practising under a different name than we have you registered under. You need to provide a certified copy of the document confirming the change, ie marriage certificate or deed poll name change.

If you haven’t legally changed your name but you are practising under a different name, please fill out the following statutory declaration:

Statutory Declaration

Please mail the certified copies or the statutory declaration to the SWRB as PO Box 3452, Wellington.

What do Practising Certificate fees pay for?

The Practising Certificate is an annual fee that is a significant contributor to running the costs of the SWRB.

As the regulatory authority we work to ensure that registered social workers are competent and fit to practise. Our primary purpose is to protect the safety of the public by making sure:

  • social workers who come on the register have all the necessary qualifications and are fit to practise social work
  • Investigating the practice of social workers where there have been complaints about their competence, where they have been convicted of criminal offences, and where those whose fitness to practise is in question

The SWRB uses the registration and Practising Certificate fees to cover the costs of reviewing application forms and templates, responding to enquiries, running the website, submissions and consultation, policy development, and holding Board meetings.

We are mindful of the costs faced by many in the sector and work hard to keep our costs down as much as we can.

Find out how the fees are set