Applicant Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Licensure by Examination

Licensure by Endorsement

  • I am licensed in another state. How can I become licensed in California?

    Endorsement is the licensure method for registered nurses who hold a current and active license in another state, U.S. territory, or Canada. The endorsement applicant must have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), the State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE), or the five-part Canadian examination (prior to 1980). The Canadian Comprehensive Examination is not acceptable. For additional endorsement information, please visit our Licensure by Endorsement page.

    If you have not taken one of these three examinations, you are not eligible for endorsement and must apply for Licensure by Examination.

  • I have taken the NCLEX, but my license has lapsed. What can I do to endorse into California?
    In order to endorse, you must have a current and active license in another state and meet all other licensure requirements. Contact your state's nursing board and inquire as to the steps necessary to reactivate your license.
  • What is Nursys®?
    Nursys® is an online license verification system used to convey licensing and discipline information between state boards. At its September 23, 2010 Board meeting, Board members voted for the California BRN to contract with National Council of State Boards of Nursing to electronically share licensing information on a daily basis to Nursys®. The BRN is a participating member of Nursys® which allows the public to verify a nurse license, check discipline status, or see if a nurse is licensed in more than one state.
  • How do I submit the Nursys® Verification Request Application?
    Visit the Nursys® website and follow the instructions to complete the online application. Payment is made by credit card. Once the application is complete and the credit card payment approved, the verification is posted immediately.
  • How do I apply for a Temporary License?

    You may apply for a temporary license at the same time that you apply for licensure by endorsement or at any time prior to the issuance of a permanent registered nursing license. A temporary license is valid for a period of six months, allowing an applicant to work pending issuance of a permanent RN license. Please visit our Licensure by Endorsement page for application instructions.

    The Board must receive and process fingerprint results from the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as well as review and approve transcripts before a temporary license is issued. There may be a delay if the application or fingerprint results indicate a prior conviction(s) or other basis for denial. Please refer to our Processing Times page for current timeframes.

  • How can I check if my Temporary License has been issued?
    You may access the BreEZe License Verification system to check if your temporary license has been issued.
  • How long does it take before I receive my permanent RN license?
    Please refer to our Processing Times page for current timeframes. Processing times depend on when the Board receives all required documents from schools, agencies, and other states or countries. Prior convictions or disciplinary actions may delay the process. Delays may also occur with the fingerprint processing at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Please note that the Board must receive and process the fingerprint results from the DOJ and the FBI before an interim permit, a temporary license, or a permanent RN license are issued.
  • I need a Temporary License quickly. Can I obtain a Temporary License directly at the Board's office?
    Due to the implementation of the BreEZe system, we will no longer be able to issue temporary licenses at the Board’s office. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Advanced Practice Certification

International Graduates

Reporting Disciplinary Actions

  • What is the process for applicants with a history of criminal conviction or prior discipline against a professional license?
    Explanation of the current law on how BRN evaluates license discipline and criminal convictions can be found in the BRN Applicant Webinar.
  • What criminal convictions am I required to report on the application?

    As of July 1, 2020, applicants will no longer be asked about prior criminal conviction history. Criminal history will be discovered upon receipt of fingerprint results. All applicants with a history of criminal conviction will have their applications referred for an additional Enforcement Division review.

    Convictions within seven years from the date of application will receive a full enforcement review. The Board will not take action on any convictions that have been expunged under Penal Code section 1203.4 or dismissed; including expunged convictions within the seven years.

    The Board will not take action on convictions older than seven years, with exceptions. If the applicant was convicted of a serious felony as defined in section 1192.7 of the Penal Code or a crime for which registration is required pursuant to paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (d) of section 290 of the Penal Code, the BRN will consider the conviction even if it is more than seven years ago.

  • What prior disciplinary actions am I required to report?
    All prior or current disciplinary action against any other professional license must be reported, whether it occurred in California or in another state or territory. Applicants will be required to report prior formal discipline against another professional license.
  • What documentation am I required to submit for prior license discipline?

    For prior license discipline, the applicant will be required to submit additional documentation in support of their application. The documents the BRN will require are:

    • A certified copy of the licensing agency disciplinary order
    • A detailed description of the circumstances surrounding your license disciplinary action and a thorough description of the rehabilitative changes in your lifestyle since the time of your disciplinary action which would enable you to avoid future occurrences. It would be helpful to include factors in your life which you feel may have contributed to your disciplinary action, what you have learned about yourself since that time, and the changes you have made that support your rehabilitation.

    The applicant may also submit any of the following optional documents in support of their application:

    • Recent work performance evaluations
    • Recent Letters from professionals in the community; for example, AA/NA sponsor, counselor, probation officer, employer, instructor, etc. who can address an awareness of your past misconduct and current rehabilitation; for example, use/non-use of alcohol/drugs. The letters must be signed by the author of the letter and dated within the last year.
    • If applicable to your conviction(s) or license discipline, documented evidence of professional treatment and counseling you may have completed. Please provide discharge summary, if available.
    • Letters of reference on official letterhead from employers, nursing instructors, health professionals, professional counselors, parole or probation officers, or other individuals in positions of authority who are knowledgeable about your rehabilitation efforts.
    • Proof of community work, schooling, and/or self-improvement efforts.
  • Can a person obtain a license as a registered nurse if they have a misdemeanor or felony conviction on their record?
    Yes. A large majority of applicants with discipline or criminal conviction records are issued a license. For some applicants, the process will take longer. The Board reviews all prior convictions substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of a registered nurse. Each application is evaluated on a case by case basis (please refer to the BRN Disciplinary Guidelines). The Board considers the nature, severity, and recency of the offense(s), as well as rehabilitation and other factors. The Board cannot make a determination for approval or denial of licensure without evaluating the entire application and supporting documentation. As of July 1, 2020, the BRN will not take action on convictions older than seven years or that have been expunged under Penal Code section 1203.4 or dismissed. The preceding seven-year limitation does not apply if the applicant was convicted of a serious felony as defined in section 1192.7 of the Penal Code or a crime for which registration is required pursuant to paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (d) of section 290 of the Penal Code.
  • What if my prior license discipline was based on a criminal conviction that is more than seven years old? What if the conviction was expunged?
    The BRN will not consider any prior license discipline if that discipline is based on a criminal conviction older than seven years from the date of application or based on a conviction that has been expunged pursuant to 1203.4 or similar statute. The BRN may require the applicant to submit a certified copy of the court expungement or dismissal order.
  • Is there any specific conviction that will automatically disqualify an applicant from receiving a license?
    No, there is not any one specific type of conviction that will disqualify an applicant. The Board must review, on a case by case basis, all convictions and supporting documentation to determine if an application will be approved or denied.
  • How will the BRN evaluate an arrest where charges were never filed, or charges were dismissed?
    The BRN will not deny a license on the basis of an arrest that resulted in a disposition other than a conviction, including an arrest that resulted in an infraction, citation, or a juvenile adjudication.
  • What type of documentation does the BRN need to review my prior criminal conviction?

    The BRN cannot require an applicant to submit any documentation related to a criminal conviction. However, the BRN will conduct a thorough investigation of criminal convictions prior to making a determination on the application. For this investigation, the BRN will obtain:

    • Certified copies of Arrest or Investigation Records from the arresting agency (Police, Sheriff, CHP, Campus Police Dept., etc.) For DUI’s, this includes evidence of the blood alcohol content, toxicology report, and Collision Report, if applicable.
    • Certified copy of court disposition record; usually titled “Final Minute Order”. This court record will show the final conviction charges, the sentencing information, and information showing completion of sentence.
    • The Enforcement Division review and decision is dependent on the receipt of records. Depending on the agency, it may take several weeks for the arresting agencies and courts to respond.
    • If the conviction has been dismissed or expunged, and the dismissal does not show on the fingerprint results, the applicant shall supply a certified copy of the final court order verifying the dismissal or expungement.

    The Board is responsible for obtaining certified court documents and arrest reports related to your prior conviction sustained within the past seven years from the date of your application. The Board does not require applicants to submit these documents. You may voluntarily provide these documents and upload them to your application.

    Applications received with certified arrest and certified court records may have significantly shorter wait times.

  • What other information can I voluntarily submit to the BRN for additional evaluation of my criminal conviction?

    The BRN cannot require the applicant to submit any documentation related to their criminal conviction. However, the applicant may voluntarily submit information in support of their application. The types of information the applicant may voluntarily submit includes:

    • A detailed description of the circumstances surrounding your conviction(s) or disciplinary action and a thorough description of the rehabilitative changes in your lifestyle since the time of your conviction(s) or disciplinary action which would enable you to avoid future occurrences. It would be helpful to include factors in your life which you feel may have contributed to your conviction(s) or disciplinary action, what you have learned about yourself since that time, and the changes you have made that support your rehabilitation.
    • Evidence of rehabilitation. Examples of rehabilitation evidence include, but are not limited to:
      • Recent work performance evaluations
      • Recent Letters from professionals in the community; for example, AA/NA sponsor, counselor, probation officer, employer, instructor, etc. who can address an awareness of your past misconduct and current rehabilitation; for example, use/non-use of alcohol/drugs. The letters must be signed by the author of the letter and dated within the last year.
      • If applicable to your conviction(s) or license discipline, documented evidence of professional treatment and counseling you may have completed. Please provide discharge summary, if available.
      • Letters of reference on official letterhead from employers, nursing instructors, health professionals, professional counselors, parole or probation officers, or other individuals in positions of authority who are knowledgeable about your rehabilitation efforts.
      • Proof of community work, schooling, and/or self-improvement efforts.
    • Scan your original documents and upload them as attachments to your online application. The scan should be in PDF format, in color, and the certification seal must be fully legible. Scanning and uploading the documents ensures the documents are included with your application, and ensures the documents are ready for review when the Enforcement Division reviews your application. Keep your original certified documents for your records.

    The Board is responsible for obtaining certified court documents and arrest reports related to your prior conviction. The Board does not require applicants to submit these documents. You may voluntarily provide these documents and upload them to your application.

    Applications received with certified arrest and certified court records may have significantly shorter wait times.

  • What should I do if I have a past conviction and received a certificate of rehabilitation from the criminal court, been granted clemency, or have been pardoned?
    Per Business and Professions Code section 480(B)(2)(b), a person shall not be denied a license on the basis that the person has been convicted of a crime, or on the basis of acts underlying a conviction for a crime, if that person has obtained a certificate of rehabilitation under Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 4852.01) of Title 6 of Part 3 of the Penal Code or has been granted clemency or a pardon by a state or federal executive. If any of these scenarios apply, it is recommended the applicant submit Certificates of Rehabilitation, or copies of the clemency/pardon orders. Once these documents are received, the BRN will complete a full Enforcement Division review.
  • Can I receive an Interim Permit if my application is under review because of convictions?
    No. If your application is referred to the Enforcement Division for review, you will not be allowed to receive an interim permit until the review has been complete, and a final decision has been made regarding your application.
  • How long will it take the BRN to obtain the certified court and arrest documents related to my prior conviction?

    The BRN will formally request the certified documents promptly once your application is referred to the Enforcement Division. Processing times for these records vary greatly from one court or arresting agency to another and we are unable to guarantee a timeframe for receipt of these records. The BRN will attempt to obtain these documents in a timely manner. Some applicants may experience significant delays.

    Applications received with certified arrest and certified court records may have significantly shorter wait times.

  • How long will it take to review the information that I submit with my application?

    Please allow additional processing time for documents which must be requested by the Enforcement Division. You can reduce your Enforcement Division processing time by voluntarily providing your certified court and arrest documents, however; you are not required to provide them. The Board will make every attempt at obtaining these documents on your behalf.

    Applications received with certified arrest and certified court records may have significantly shorter wait times.

  • I am licensed in another state and want to receive my temporary license as soon as possible. Can I obtain a temporary license by coming to the Board's office if I have prior conviction(s) within the preceding seven years or out of state disciplinary action on my record?

    No. Temporary licenses are not issued until all conviction, discipline, rehabilitation, and other evidence is fully evaluated.

  • How can I help facilitate how quickly my prior conviction or license discipline is reviewed?

    The Board is responsible for obtaining all certified court and arrest documents related to reported prior convictions. Although the applicant is not required to provide these documents to the BRN, you may elect to provide these documents directly to the Board which may result in faster application processing times.

    Applications received with certified arrest and certified court records may have significantly shorter wait times.

  • How do I appeal the denial of my application for licensure?

    You have the right to appeal the license denial and to have an administrative hearing under the provisions of Section 485(b) of the Business and Professions Code. You must submit the appeal in writing to the Board within 60 days from the date of the denial letter. If you do not submit an appeal in writing to the Board, you will automatically waive your right to a hearing, and your application will be deemed denied.

    Should you appeal and the denial is upheld, the earliest date to reapply is one year from the date of service of the notice of denial.

  • What will happen if I choose not to appeal the application denial?

    If you choose not to appeal the application denial, you will be allowed to reapply for licensure one year from the date of the service of the denial letter. Application denials are a permanent action on your licensure record and are reported to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and the National Practitioner Databank.