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: 

  • 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 five 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.

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/ substantive equivalent competence assessment (SECA) 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. For more general information, we suggest reading the Guide to Resources and Support Services for Internationally Educated Nurses in Nova Scotia.

Application Process

How to Apply for LPN Registration and Licensure:

Please submit the following documents and fee to apply:

  1. Application for Registration and Licensure 
  2. Application fee 
  3. Photocopy of the following documents. You must submit these documents to us directly either through the mail or email. We will not accept unclear and/or faxed copies.
    1. Government-issued photo ID (e.g. passport or driver’s license)
    2. Birth certificate
    3. Name change certificate (e.g. marriage certificate) if you are married. 
  4. Original criminal record check.  
  5. 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

Once you are found eligible, you have six months to become registered and/or licensed with us. After this six-month period, your eligibility will expire and your file will be closed. If you change your mind and wish to become licensed once your file has been closed, you will be required to re-apply and meet the regulatory requirements in place at the time of your re-application. 

If you do not complete your application, we will retain the application and any supporting documents for six months from the date of last contact. After this date, your application will be confidentially shredded. When you want to resume the application process, you will be required to re-apply and re-pay the required fees.

Before you begin, please note:

  • If you have an open application that was submitted prior to August 12, 2014, please email us at ien@nscn.ca if you have questions 
  • Your RN 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

How to Apply for RN Registration and Licensure:

Please submit the following documents and fee to apply:

  1. Application for Initial Registration Assessment for IENS who are NOT Currently Licensed in Canada 
  2. Initial assessment fee 

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 AFIA portal. Note: only apply on this portal after NSCN reviews your application and sends you a letter telling you how;
  2. within two weeks, your information will be added to the portal and you will be sent a user name, password and a link to access your information;
  3. you can then check your document requirements, receipt of documents and their expiry dates by logging into the portal with your unique user name 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 RN & NP New Application Portal to track the receipt of your application documents. 

Expiry of your application

All 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.

Where can I find other information

View the Internationally Educated Registered Nurse Registration and Licensure Guide for more information

How to Apply for NP Registration and Licensure

To become an NP in Nova Scotia, you must complete both the RN and NP applications. They can be completed at the same time. See above for the RN application and see below for the NP application. You are required to hold a RN practising licence before being eligible for a NP practising licence.

Please submit the following documents and fees to apply: 

  1. Initial Registration Assessment Application found on the RN & NP New Applicant Portal 
  2. Pay the assessment fee
  3. Proof that you have passed a NSCN-approved controlled drugs & substances theory course or that this curriculum was taught in your NP program.
  4. Verification of Current Registration and Licensure Form from the regulatory body where you currently hold an NP licence.
  5. Statement from Employer for Initial NP Licence from every employer you have had in the past 12 months.
  6. 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, along with an NP, will determine if your NP program is 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 RN & NP New Application Portal to track the receipt of your application documents. 

Expiry of your application

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 become licensed once your file has been closed, you will be required to re-apply and meet the regulatory requirements in place at the time of your re-application, including paying the fees. 

If you have any questions, reach out to us at registration@nscn.ca. We will respond within five business days.

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