Internationally Educated Nurse Not Currently Licensed in Canada

As an internationally educated nurse, welcome to the nursing profession in Nova Scotia. You will be eligible to practise as an LPN, RN or NP once you have applied and met all registration and licensure requirements. 

This webpage is for you if you’re an internationally educated nurse who is not currently licensed in Canada. 

Before you begin, it’s important to know: 

  • Your nursing program must have provided theory and clinical instruction in adult medicine and surgery. If you graduated from a specialized program (e.g., psychiatry/mental health, pediatrics, midwifery) you are not eligible for registration unless you also have general nursing preparation. If you have questions about this, contact ien@nscn.ca
  • You do not need to live in Nova Scotia to apply. 
  • We are available to help if you have any questions. Reach out to us at registration@nscn.ca and we will respond within two business days. 
  • All application documents must be provided in English. Translations from a certified translator are also accepted. You are responsible for the cost of all translations.
  • All documents received through the application process are the property of NSCN and can only be released to another regulatory body with your written permission. Documents will not be released to you or to any third party unless required by law.

We have developed two flow charts to help you understand the application process with us:

What to Expect

In order to become licenced as a nurse in Nova Scotia, you must apply and pay the fee to 2 different organizations:

  1. National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) to complete the first part of your application
  2. Nova Scotia College of Nursing (NSCN) to complete the final part of your application

Step 1: Apply and pay the fee to NNAS. Click here to begin

Step 2: Apply and pay the fee to NSCN once you have received your NNAS Advisory Report. Note: There are separate application processes depending on if you wish to be licensed as an LPN, RN or NP. 

What happens once I submit my application to NSCN?

It may take up to 8 weeks for us to assess and review your NNAS Advisory Report and NSCN application documents. Once this occurs, we will determine one of the following and whether:

  1. you meet the NSCN requirements and are now eligible to write the national exam or register and licence
  2. you are required to submit further information or documentation to NSCN
  3. your nursing program along with your nursing experience and other education do not meet the NSCN education requirement. This means you will be required to successfully complete one of the two options below in Nova Scotia:
    1. competence assessment and any required education or
    2. nursing re-entry program
  4. you are ineligible for registration with NSCN.

We will send you a letter outlining our decision and next steps. 

Application Process

How to Apply for LPN Registration and Licensure:

Please submit the following documents and fee to apply:

1. Internationally Educated Nurses not Currently Licensed in Canada Application for Initial Registration Assessment in Nova Scotia

2. Initial assessment fee  

3. Photocopy of two proof of name documents such as:

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Nexus Card
  • Canadian Military ID
  • Driver’s licence or learners permit
  • Canadian government-issued ID card (federal/provincial/ territorial)
  • Permanent resident (PR) card
  • Citizenship card (Canadian or international)
  • Immigration card (Canadian or international)

Note: if your name has changed, NSCN may require proof of name change documents (e.g., marriage certificate). You must submit these documents to us directly either through the mail or email. We will not accept unclear and/or faxed copies.

4. Complete an English Language Proficiency Test, if applicable.

We will not be able to proceed with your application until all of the documents have been submitted and your NNAS advisory report has been received.

What else do I need to do to become licensed as an LPN?

Expiry of your application

All Canadian documents (Statement from Employer, licensure verifications) expire six months from the date they are completed. All international documents expire 24 months after they were completed with two exceptions:

  1. English Language Proficiency Test, which expires 24 months from the date of the test
  2. Information from your school of nursing, which does not expire

If your application documents are more than 24 months old and you have not been in contact with us for 12 months, your application will expire and be closed. If you change your mind and wish to re-apply after your file has been closed, you will be required to re-apply to both NNAS and NSCN, including paying fees to both. Note: your application will be measured against the regulatory requirements at that time.

How to Apply for RN Registration and Licensure:

Please submit the following documents and fee to apply:

  1. Internationally Educated Nurses not Currently Licensed in Canada Application for Initial Registration Assessment in Nova Scotia
  2. Initial assessment fee 
  3. Photocopy of two proof of name documents such as:
    1. Birth certificate
    2. Passport
    3. Nexus Card
    4. Canadian Military ID
    5. Driver’s licence or learners permit
    6. Canadian government-issued ID card (federal/provincial/ territorial)
    7. Permanent resident (PR) card
    8. Citizenship card (Canadian or international)
    9. Immigration card (Canadian or international)

Note: if your name has changed, NSCN may require proof of name change documents (e.g., marriage certificate). You must submit these documents to us directly either through the mail or email. We will not accept unclear and/or faxed copies.

4. Complete an English Language Proficiency Test, if applicable.

We will not be able to proceed with your application until all of the documents have been submitted and your NNAS advisory report has been received.

Once I apply to NSCN, how do I monitor the progress of my application?

You are responsible to ensure your required application documents are received at NSCN. You can monitor the receipt and expiry of application documents and the progress of your application by:

  1. submit information on the registrant portal. Note: only apply on this portal after NSCN reviews your application and sends you a letter telling you how;
  2. you can then check your document requirements, receipt of documents and their expiry dates by logging into the portal with your email address and password 

What else do I need to do to become licensed as an RN?

What happens when I submit?

It will take up to eight weeks to process your application. Visit the Application Portal to track the receipt of your application documents. 

Does NSCN recognize other nursing exams?

No. The NCLEX-RN exam is the mandatory exam required for RN registration and licensure in Nova Scotia. NSCN does not recognize any other nursing exam, including CASN’s voluntary Canadian Examination for Baccalaureate Nursing. Please contact registration@nscn.ca if you have any questions.

Expiry of your application

All Canadian documents (Statement from Employer, licensure verifications) expire six months from the date they are completed. All international documents expire 24 months after they were completed with two exceptions:

  1. English Language Proficiency Test, which expires 24 months from the date of the test
  2. Information from your school of nursing, which does not expire

If your application documents are more than 24 months old and you have not been in contact with us for 12 months, your application will expire and be closed. If you change your mind and wish to re-apply after your file has been closed, you will be required to re-apply to both NNAS and NSCN, including paying fees to both. Note: your application will be measured against the regulatory requirements at that time.

How to Apply for NP Registration and Licensure

To become an NP in Nova Scotia, you must first become registered and licensed as an RN. Please see the RN application process above. Please contact NSCN if you wish to apply as an NP at registration@nscn.ca.

You will also be required to submit the following documents and fees:

  1. Assessment fee
  2. Proof that you have passed a NSCN-approved controlled drugs & substances theory course or that this curriculum was taught in your NP program.
  3. Verification of Current Registration and Licensure from the regulatory body where you currently hold an NP licence. Note: if you submitted this document for your RN application, you are not required to submit another.
  4. Ask your NP School of Nursing to mail us the following: 
    1. Transcripts
    2. Course descriptions
    3. Description of the program of study (this must be in greater detail than the program calendar)
    4. Course objectives/outcomes
    5. NP competencies to be achieved within the program course content
    6. Course hours (theory/lab/clinical)
    7. Number of supervised clinical hours
    8. Methods of evaluation

The above documentation is forwarded to a psychometrician who will determine if your NP program is substantially equivalent to our Nova Scotia NP Program. The evaluation will cost approximately $650, however, the cost can fluctuate if more information and time is required by the assessors. You are responsible for the cost of this evaluation.

We will not be able to proceed with your application until all of the documents have been submitted.

How do I monitor the progress of my application?

You are responsible to ensure your required application documents are received at NSCN. You can monitor the receipt and expiry of application documents and the progress of your application by logging into the portal with your unique user name and password. 

What else do I need to do to become registered and licensed as an NP?

You must: 

  1. Obtain registration and a licence to practice nursing as an RN with NSCN
  2. Pass the RN Jurisprudence Exam 
  3. Pass the NP Jurisprudence Exam
  4. Answer questions to affirm that you have met the requirements of a continuing competence program

What happens once I submit my documents?

It will take up to five business days to process your application. Visit the Application Portal to track the receipt of your application documents. 

Expiry of your application

All Canadian documents (Statement from Employer, licensure verifications) expire six months from the date they are completed. All international documents expire 24 months after they were completed with two exceptions:

  1. English Language Proficiency Test, which expires 24 months from the date of the test
  2. Information from your school of nursing, which does not expire

If your application documents are more than 24 months old and you have not been in contact with us for 12 months, your application will expire and be closed. If you change your mind and wish to re-apply after your file has been closed, you will be required to re-apply to both NNAS and NSCN, including paying fees to both. Note: your application will be measured against the regulatory requirements at that time.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at registration@nscn.ca. We strive to respond to you as soon as possible. However, due to the high volumes of emails and complexity of inquiries, our response time may vary.  

Please be advised that registration requirements and fees are subject to change. All registration and licensure fees are non-refundable. Click here to learn more about fees and payment options