Alabama RN Licensing Guide

  • Compact State
  • Participates in NURSYS
  • Renewal every 2 years


The Alabama Board of Nursing (ABN) licenses over 80,000 registered nurses. The process to earn an Alabama nursing license is lengthy, which includes completing the appropriate education, testing, fingerprinting/background checks, and paperwork. The ABN sets nurse licensure requirements and relevant fees. It’s also responsible for the oversight and maintenance of the Alabama Nursing Resource Center (ANRC) where licensed nurses in Alabama find licensing information, continuing education (CE) opportunities, and other nursing-related resources in a centralized location.


Prospective nurses can apply for nurse licensure in Alabama by exam or endorsement based on their current residential and licensing status. Nurses can apply for a single state or multistate license. All applicants must have graduated from an approved nursing program, request this nursing program to submit an official transcript to the ABN, have a valid Social Security Number, and provide documentation of citizenship or legal presence in the country.

There’s no timetable for issuing licenses, which won’t occur until all requirements are met. Once candidates apply, their applications are kept for up to one year and if the process hasn’t been completed within this time, they must submit a new application and fee.


To be eligible for Alabama RN license renewal, applicants must hold an active Alabama license, submit a completed electronic renewal application with required fees and meet CE requirements. For the first license renewal, licensed Alabama nurses must earn four contact hours of Board-provided CE related to Board functions, regulations, the Nurse Practice Act, accountability, and professional conduct. Plus, one contact hour for each month in the licensing period up to 24 hours, which includes the mandatory four-hour class. In subsequent renewal periods, RNs must earn no less than 24 contact hours of Board-approved or Board-recognized CE as an ongoing condition of Alabama RN license renewal. Failure to meet the CE requirement will cause an RN’s license to lapse.

Per the Alabama Immigration Law, U.S. citizens and non-citizens with a permanent resident card are only required to submit proof of citizenship or legal presence in the U.S. one time. However, non-citizens with other documents must submit proof when they’re initially licensed and during every license renewal.

Alabama nursing licenses are valid for two years. RN license renewals are due every EVEN numbered year. Alabama RN license renewals aren’t complete until the applicant receives a confirmation number. Renewals are done electronically with electronic payments required.

Continuing Education Requirements

The ABN licensing system won’t allow Alabama RN licenses to renew until all requirements have been satisfied, which includes the 24 contact hours of CE credit. CE can be earned from activities provided by the ABN or by an ABN-approved provider. The ABN also usually accepts CE courses approved or accredited by any State BON, state nurse’s associations or national organizations like the American Nurses Credentialing Center. RNs must upload CE courses taken at outside sources to their online CE record and upload the respective certificates as proof of completion. Contact hours must not be older than 24 months from the date an RN applies for renewal.

Each newly licensed RN must complete the four-hour mandatory class before their first renewal. They can access this on the online Alabama Nursing Resource Center under the Nursing CE tab. Failure to meet this or the 24 total contact hour requirement will cause an RN’s license to lapse.


Alabama RN licensing requirements vary based on whether the applicant is a permanent resident and applying for a new single state or multistate license or already holds a license in another state and is seeking endorsement. Whether the applicant is an in-state, out-of-state or foreign-trained nurse, part of the licensing process is providing proof of completion of an approved nurse education program. All applicants also must pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Fingerprinting Requirements

An application must be on file before completing fingerprinting. If the ABN receives a background check before receiving an application, the applicant will be required to submit to and pay for another background check. Once candidates for an Alabama RN license submit their applications, they’re issued a User Identification Number for registration with the ABN’s fingerprinting contractor, Gemalto/Thales. The Gemalto/Thales website provides complete instructions for fingerprint scanning and processing. The ABN can only use fingerprints processed through Gemalto/Thales.

Applicants who don’t reside in Alabama and can’t come to the state for fingerprinting must contact the ABN to request a set of fingerprint cards. Once they receive their cards, applicants must have them professionally rolled and submitted to Gemalto/Thales. These cards are only provided for non-residents who can’t come to Alabama to have their fingerprints scanned.

Fingerprints are used to conduct federal and state background checks. An applicant’s criminal history report goes directly to the ABN and will only be available for 30 days. Applicants have 30 days in which to challenge or appeal any portion of their Criminal History Record Information that they believe to be inaccurate by contacting the Records & Identification Division within Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) at 334-353-4340. For Federal criminal history records, contact the FBI at 304-625-5590.

Contact Information

Alabama Board of Nursing
RSA Plaza, 770 Washington Avenue, Suite 250 
Montgomery, AL 36104
[email protected]
(334) 293-5200 or (800) 656-5318


Alabama became part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) on January 1, 2020. As part of the NLC, the ABN issues multistate RN licenses to applicants residing in the state and recognizes multistate licenses from other NLC states for practicing in Alabama. Nurses holding a multistate license must comply with the laws of the state in which they’re currently practicing.

Applicants who currently hold a valid multistate license in another Compact state don’t have to obtain an Alabama RN license to practice in this state. For those who aren’t licensed yet, to qualify for a multistate nursing license, Alabama must be their primary state of residence. To prove residency in Alabama, they must submit legal documentation containing their current home address within the state. Accepted documentation includes:

  • Driver’s license

  • Voter registration card

  • Military form 2058

  • Federal income tax return

  • W2 form from the U.S. government

Standard requirements that must be met to earn multistate nurse licensure in Alabama include:

  • Meeting the requirements for licensure in the home state

  • Graduating from a board-approved education program or international education program approved by the authorized accrediting body within the country of matriculation

  • Passing an English proficiency exam if English isn’t the applicant’s native language

  • Passing the NCLEX

  • Holding an active unencumbered license or being eligible for licensure

  • Submitting fingerprints for state and federal background checks

  • Lacking any state or federal felony convictions of any kind or misdemeanor convictions related to nursing

  • Having a valid U.S. Social Security number

  • Self-disclosing current participation in an alternative program

  • Not being a current participant in an alternative program

Licensure by Endorsement

Applicants can get a single-state license endorsement or a multistate license endorsement in Alabama. To verify nurse licensure in another state, many but not all State Boards of Nursing (BON) participate in Nursys. If a licensed nurse’s home state uses Nursys, verification of licensure can be performed electronically through this platform.

If the original state of licensure doesn’t participate in Nursys, applicants must submit the appropriate form and fee to the State BON that issued their license and request they mail the completed form with their official verification report attached to the ABN. Other items applicants must obtain to earn RN licensure by endorsement from Alabama include:

  • An officially verified RN license from a Compact state

  • Proof of completion of a nursing education program

  • Proof of completion of 24 contact hours of approved CE within the past 24 months

  • A complete electronic application and required fees

Initial applicants for licensure by endorsement must report to an approved agency where fingerprints are collected for state and federal criminal background checks. Results of these checks are transmitted directly to the Board. Applicants must have an application on file with the ABN before submitting for fingerprinting. No refunds are issued for submitting fingerprints before completing the application.

First-time applicants for single state licensure by endorsement may request a temporary permit to practice nursing while awaiting endorsement. Applicants with a valid multistate license can practice on this license while awaiting endorsement.

Applications and fees remain active for one year and applicants can complete the endorsement process within this timeframe. To ensure application completion, use the endorsement status check option to see a list of items the Board may still be waiting to receive. After a license is issued, nurses are directed to the License Look-up section of the Board’s website.

Licensure by Exam

Applicants should apply for licensure by examination in only one state for either single state or multistate RN licensure. Prospective nurses can complete their applications online following graduation. Application won’t be accepted before graduation. Graduate nurses must request their nursing programs to submit an official transcript to the ABN either via email to [email protected] or in a sealed envelope and mailed to: 

Alabama Board of Nursing
PO Box 303900
Montgomery, AL 36130

Register with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX. Although Pearson VUE allows registration without submitting a middle name or Social Security Number, the ABN requires both to ensure accurate processing. The first and last name on the ID an applicant uses for testing must match their ABN application and Pearson VUE registration. Once applicants have been made eligible to test, they receive an authorization to test (ATT). An ATT won’t be issued until a legal review has been performed.

Exam results are available through the ABN and will be mailed approximately 3 to 5 days after taking the test. However, results may also be viewed online 24 to 48 hours after testing. Applicants who fail the NCLEX can retest after 45 days but shouldn’t reapply for licensure by examination until after they receive their official test results by mail. If a temporary permit has been issued, it immediately expires as the applicant is no longer eligible.

After submitting a completed electronic application and the appropriate fees, applicants receive an ID number to register for fingerprinting with the ABN’s contractor. Fingerprints are collected for state and federal criminal background checks with results of these checks transmitted directly to the Board.

Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

Foreign-educated nurses seeking Alabama nursing licensure must meet the same requirements as domestic applicants, plus additional requirements specific to graduates of Foreign Nursing Programs. Whether they’re applying for licensure by exam or endorsement, foreign-educated nurses don’t have to submit transcripts. Instead, they must submit a complete education report from a Credential Evaluation Service before applying. These reports include a detailed analysis of credentials earned and may be obtained from:

  • Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)

  • Educational Records Evaluation Service, Inc. (ERES)

  • International Education Research Foundation, Inc. (IERF)

These nurses must be graduates of a nursing education program approved by the appropriate authorities in the country where they completed the program. The nursing program’s content also must meet the criteria for approval in Alabama. If courses and textbooks weren’t in English, foreign-educated nurses must provide proof of passing an English Proficiency Exam. The ABN accepts the:

  • International English Language Testing System’s (IELTS) Academic computer or paper-based test

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language’s (TOEFL) Internet-based test

  • Pearson English Language Test’s (PTE) Academic test

  • MELAB has been retired and replaced with the Michigan English Test (MET)

Foreign-educated nurses must make up for any educational deficiencies. They also must pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam if they haven’t already done so.


While there isn’t an overall timetable for issuing licenses, there are some general timeframes on certain aspects of the Alabama RN licensing process. Applicants applying for licensure by exam will usually receive their ATT within 2 to 3 weeks, following a legal review. Licenses are issued within 24 to 72 hours of passing the NCLEX. The process for issuing temporary permits to first-time applicants for single state licensure by endorsement generally takes 72 to 96 hours, as long as the applicant has an unencumbered license and all required documentation is in order. Permanent licenses for any applicant type are only issued when all requirements are fulfilled with applications processed on a first-in, first-out basis.

Temporary Nurse License

When applying for the first time for Licensure by Examination or single state Licensure by Endorsement, applicants may request a Temporary Permit. Applicants must submit a completed application before permits will be issued, which includes all required documentation. However, they don’t have to list an employer to be eligible for a permit. Temporary permits are valid for 180 days and aren’t renewable so if they expire before applicants pass the NCLEX exam, they can’t legally practice in Alabama. Should an applicant fail the NCLEX on the first attempt, the temporary permit expires and can’t be renewed.

Temporary permits allow applicants for Alabama RN licensure by exam to practice and use the title Nursing Graduate-RN Program (NG-RNP) with stipulations. These stipulations include only functioning under the direct supervision of a currently licensed RN. They also can’t be assigned any charge responsibilities. Temporary permits expire if an applicant is denied licensure or is issued a license.


The ABN sets the fees for licensure and other relevant costs. Prospective nurses must apply and pay for their licenses online with a debit or credit card. The ABN accepts VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express with a $3.50 charge per transaction. All fees are non-refundable. Current fees for Alabama RN licensure and other related costs include:

  • Single State License by Exam or Endorsement: $100

  • Multistate License by Exam or Endorsement: $200

  • Temporary Permit: $50

  • Disaster Temporary Permit: $25

  • Biennial Renewal of Single State RN license: $100

  • Biennial Renewal of Multistate RN license: $200

  • Reinstatement of Lapsed Single State License: $250

  • Reinstatement of Lapsed Multistate License: $350

  • Reinstatement of Suspended License: $250

  • Reinstatement of Revoked License: $750

  • Duplicate CE card: $25

  • Reactivation of retired license within 2 years of retired status: $600

  • Reactivation of retired license following 2 years of retired status: $250

  • Registration for CE courses provided by the ABN: Up to $100

  • Late CE Audit Fee: 1st Time $150 / 2nd Time $300 / Three or more times $600

Applicants also must pay a $200 registration fee to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) for taking the NCLEX-RN licensing exam. This fee won’t be refunded for any reason and must be paid by a VISA, MasterCard, or American Express credit, debit, or prepaid card. Should an applicant fail the exam and retake it, another $200 fee applies.

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Frequently asked questions

Can I apply for licensure by exam with the Alabama Board of Nursing if the school I attended isn’t approved and accredited?

No, to be eligible for an Alabama nursing license, a graduate nurse’s school must be approved by the State BON where it’s located and its parent institution must be accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

What are regulatory questions on the Alabama nursing license application?

Regulatory questions deal with an applicant’s past history, including substance abuse, criminal history, mental health, physical health, military discharge, and discipline or investigations of other licenses or professions. These questions help the ABN determine an applicant’s good moral character, as required by law. However, an affirmative response to a regulatory question doesn’t mean an individual won’t be licensed.

Is Alabama an RN compact state?

Yes, Alabama joined the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) on January 1, 2020.

How quickly can I get a temporary license if I applied for an endorsement in Alabama?

Nurses who hold an unencumbered single-state license and are first-time applicants for an Alabama RN license by endorsement generally receive their temporary permits in 72 to 96 if all their paperwork is in order.

What happens if I fail the NCLEX-RN in Alabama?

You must reapply to take the NCLEX after you receive your official test results. You also must pay the $200 exam fee and register with Pearson VUE again. You can't take the NCLEX again until 45 days have passed. If you were issued a temporary permit, it expires immediately and you won't be eligible to receive another one.