Applicant Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

  • How do I become a Registered Nurse (RN) in California?
    For detailed information, please visit our Nursing Careers page.
  • What is the Fingerprint Requirement?
    All applicants are required to submit fingerprints for purposes of conducting a criminal history record check. Please visit our Fingerprint Information page for additional details and instructions.
  • Eight or more years have elapsed since the expiration date of my California RN license. What steps should I follow to renew my license?

    If eight or more years have passed following the expiration date of your license and you do not presently hold a current and active registered nurse license in another state or U.S. territory, you are required to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) before your license can be reinstated. The NCLEX-RN is required to determine current clinical knowledge and fitness to resume the practice of registered nursing. For information on retaking the NCLEX-RN examination, please visit our 8-Year Retake page.

    If eight or more years have passed following the expiration date of your license and you presently hold a current and active registered nurse license in another state or U.S. territory, you do not have to re-take the NCLEX-RN. For information on how to renew your license, please refer to the 8-Year Renewal section of our website.

  • How can I inquire as to the status of my application?
    Please refer to our Processing Times page for current timeframes. Contacting the Board before the indicated timeframe can cause additional delays. Processing timeframes may vary during graduation season.
  • What should I do if I have a name or address change?

    To ensure receipt of important notices, you must notify the Board within 30 days of an address change. Also, please notify the Board immediately of any change in name or email address. Please note that your name must match exactly in all of the following areas:

    • Documents on file at the Board
    • Registration at Pearson VUE
    • Personal official identification
    • Authorization to Test (ATT)

    Please refer to our Name/Address Changes page for instructions on submitting your changes to the Board.

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

Prior Convictions and Disciplinary Actions