Idaho RN Licensing Guide

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


Chapter 186 of the Idaho Session Laws passed on March 11, 1911, which created the Idaho Board of Nursing and put the IBN in charge of safeguarding the health, safety, and welfare of Idaho’s citizens through regulations of nursing education and practice. The IBN is composed of nine members appointed by the Governor. It licensed nearly 26,000 registered nurses in the first quarter of 2022 and empowered nurses to perform at the highest level of their Idaho nursing license.


To ensure nursing education programs in Idaho consistently meet compliance standards related to the first-time pass rate of the NCLEX, the IBN reviews, monitors, and approves educational programs intended to prepare individuals for nursing licensure in Idaho. The curriculum of nursing education programs in Idaho must include concepts in nursing theory, legal and ethical issues, physical and biological sciences, behavioral and social science, arts and humanities, written and oral communications, leadership, and nursing trends.

The IBN licenses graduate nurses through examination and nurses licensed in other states by endorsement. Applicants must establish an Idaho Nurse Portal account to begin the online application process for initial licensure by exam, nursing licensure by endorsement, and renewals of all license types. The Portal works best on a desktop PC or laptop running Windows and using the Chrome or Microsoft Edge browser. It doesn’t support mobile devices. When submitting paper forms, email is the preferred method.


All Idaho RN licenses expire on August 31 of odd-numbered years. Nurses must complete their Idaho RN license renewal online. The Idaho RN license renewal application is available on the Nurse Portal beginning May 1, so RNs can renew up to three months before the expiration date of their current license.

RNs can also renew online up to one year after their license expires. However, Idaho nursing licenses not renewed by August 31 of the renewal year automatically become inactive. The RN must submit a reinstatement application and complete a fingerprint-based background check. RNs applying for renewal/reinstatement after their license has lapsed more than a year must call the IBN for assistance.

To complete an Idaho RN license renewal online, applicants must provide their SSN, date of birth, Idaho nursing license number, and a valid credit card to pay the renewal fee. They must also attest to the completion of Continued Competence Requirements. These include completing at least two learning activities in the Practice, Education, and/or Professional Engagement sections within the two-year licensure period. The two activities can come from any one or more of these sections. Options include:


  • 120 hours of paid or unpaid practice or simulation practice that requires the RN to apply their knowledge or clinical judgment to influence patients, families, organizations, or nurses

  • Nursing specialty certification/recertification


  • Completion of at least one semester credit hour of nursing-related post-licensure academic education offered by an accredited college or university

  • Continuing education (CE), academic courses, eLearning, or nursing-related in-service offered by an accredited organization, healthcare institution, or educational institution

  • Completion of an IBN-recognized nurse residency program or nurse refresher course

  • Presentation of or participation in a conference, seminar, workshop, or course relevant to the practice of nursing approved by an IBN-recognized organization, such as an accredited academic instruction, nationally recognized nursing organization, or provider of CE recognized by another BON or regulatory board of another discipline

  • Any program that meets the criteria established by the IBN

Professional Engagement:

  • Teaching or developing a nursing-related instructional course

  • Acknowledgment as a contributor to a published nursing-related manuscript or article

  • Participation in related professional activities, such as teaching, research, nursing-related volunteer work, published professional materials, precepting, peer-reviewing, professional auditing, or serving on a nursing-related or healthcare-related association, board, committee, or organization

Idaho RN license renewal applicants must maintain appropriate documentation of all learning activities meeting their Continued Competence Requirements within the current renewal period. If selected for an audit, an RN must be able to submit this documentation to the IBN within 30 days of the request. Nurses who fail to meet Continued Competence Requirements could cause their license renewal application to be delayed or denied or be subject to disciplinary action. New graduate nurses are exempt from Continued Competence Requirements during their first renewal cycle following initial licensure.

Continuing Education Requirements

Continuing education is one option to fulfill Continued Competence Requirements. To qualify, an Idaho RN must complete 15 contact hours of CE during the licensure period. One contact hour must equal at least 50 minutes to count. Documentation of CE courses or activities must include the name of the RN, activity title, date, hours completed, roster/proof of attendance, and the name of the provider.


Fingerprinting Requirements

All Idaho RN license applicants are required to submit a full set of fingerprints to the IBN to obtain a criminal background check. Applicants may use any standard fingerprint card used by a local law enforcement agency or private fingerprinting company. They can also request the IBN to mail them a fingerprint card during the application process or by sending a request via email. The entity applicants use to capture their fingerprints may use Live Scan, but the images must be printed onto a card. IBN can’t accept fingerprints electronically. All cards must be mailed to the IBN for processing. An applicant is only exempt from submitting a fingerprint card if they previously submitted a fingerprint card within the last six months.

Contact Information

Idaho Board of Nursing
11351 West Chinden
Boise, ID 83714
[email protected]
(208) 577-2476


Idaho adopted the national Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) on July 1, 2001. It withdrew from the original NLC and implemented the Enhanced NLC on January 19, 2018. The Compact allows RNs holding a multistate Idaho nursing license the privilege of practicing in other Compact states without seeking additional licenses in those states. RNs can only have a multistate license issued in one state, which must be their primary state of residence (PSOR).

Applicants seeking an Idaho nursing license by exam can either apply for a single state license that’s only valid in Idaho or a multistate license they can use in Idaho and other Compact states if they qualify. Also, nurses currently holding an active Idaho RN license may be eligible to upgrade to a multistate license.

An RN licensed in another Compact state who moves to and declares Idaho as their PSOR is issued an Idaho multistate license and their license in the other Compact state becomes invalid. However, they can continue to practice under their former multistate license for up to 90 days while the IBN processes their new multistate license.

An RN with a Compact license from another state who doesn't declare Idaho as their PSOR can practice nursing under their Compact license without applying for any other licensure, but they must adhere to Idaho’s nursing practice laws. An RN with an Idaho multistate license who moves to a non-Compact state but wants to keep practicing in Idaho is issued a single state Idaho nursing license that’s only valid for practice in Idaho.

To obtain a multistate license in Idaho, applicants must declare Idaho as their PSOR and meet the 11 Uniform Licensure Requirements, which include:

  • Meeting all the IBN’s qualifications for licensure or license renewal

  • Having a valid U.S. Social Security Number (SSN)

  • Graduating from a Board-approved RN prelicensure education program

  • Passing an English proficiency exam if applicable

  • Passing the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)

  • Submitting fingerprints to obtain state and federal criminal background checks

  • Holding an active, encumbered license if upgrading or endorsing

  • Not having any felony offenses under state or federal criminal law

  • Not having any misdemeanor offenses related to the practice of nursing

  • Not being currently enrolled in an alternative program

  • Self-disclosing any current participation in an alternative program

Licensure by Endorsement

Applicants educated in a U.S. state, commonwealth, or territory with an active, unencumbered single state license can apply for an Idaho RN license by endorsement. Qualifications include:

  • Graduated from an accredited nursing education program that’s substantially equivalent to IBN-approved nursing programs

  • Passed the NCLEX-RN

  • Actively practiced nursing a minimum of 80 hours in the past three years

The applicant’s license must be in good standing, meaning it can’t be subject to disciplinary actions or official investigations. Applicants must complete the RN Endorsement Application and pay their application fee in the Nurse Portal. Other steps include completing a fingerprint-based criminal background check, nurse licensure verification, and employment verification.

Nurse licensure verifications for endorsements are available on Nursys for most but not all states. Nursys is a secure online verification system maintained by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) that provides licensure and disciplinary information. The fee for this service is $30, payable to the NCSBN by credit card. Applicants who can’t verify their license through Nursys must request their licensing state to complete an Idaho Board of Nursing Licensure Verification Form and mail/email it directly to the IBN.

Applicants must complete and send an Employment Verification Form to their:

  • Most recent place of employment to verify dates and hours worked if they practiced as a nurse for at least 80 hours in the last three years

  • Nursing education program to verify clinical experience dates if they graduated less than a year ago and haven’t practiced yet

  • RN supervisor to verify clinical hours if they completed mandated remediation

Completed employment verification forms must be mailed/emailed directly to the IBN.

Licensure by Exam

Graduate nurses educated in U.S. states, commonwealths, or territories who haven’t taken the NCLEX-RN and have never been licensed as an RN must apply for nurse licensure by exam. Applicants must have graduated from an in-state IBN-approved nursing education program or an out-of-state nursing education program approved by another state licensing board that’s substantially equivalent to the requirements of Idaho nursing education programs.

Applicants must complete the RN Exam Application and pay their application fee in the Nurse Portal. Other steps include:

  • Completing a fingerprint-based criminal background check, 

  • Requesting submission of official transcripts or affidavits of graduation from the educational institution or a transcript service to the IBN via mail or email

  • Registering for the NCLEX exam with Pearson VUE using the appropriate program code and paying the $200 exam fee by credit card

The IBN makes applicants eligible to take the NCLEX-RN after receiving completed applications and official transcripts or affidavits of graduation if there aren’t issues within the application for licensure. Pearson VUE sends the applicant an Authorization to Test (ATT) email. The applicant must take the exam within the validity dates in the email. After the applicant takes the NCLEX, the IBN receives the results from Pearson VUE and emails these results to the applicant within five business days.

Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

Applicants who graduated from a nursing education program outside the U.S. or its commonwealths or territories may be processed as applicants for licensure by endorsement from another state if they:

  • Have an active, unencumbered nursing license from a U.S. nursing jurisdiction

  • Meet the standard qualifications of nurses who apply for licensure by endorsement who were educated in the U.S.

  • Complete an RN Endorsement Application and provide all documentation required for licensure by endorsement outlined above

Applicants educated internationally with an active, unencumbered license in their home country must apply for an Idaho nursing license by exam using the RN Internationally Educated Application in the Nurse Portal and pay the applicable fee.

However, before being invited to submit an application, internationally educated applicants must request a Credential Evaluation Report from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) or Josef Silny & Associates, Inc. These reports include official transcripts and a course-by-course evaluation of the nursing education program completed in a country outside the U.S. The report must be sent directly to the IBN and can take six months or more.

Once the IBN determines whether an applicant’s credentials qualify them to apply for nursing licensure in Idaho, it notifies them through email or postal mail. Internationally educated applicants must confirm English proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening by taking one of the following exams:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language’s (TOEFL)

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS

  • Pearson English Language Test (PTE)

  • Michigan English Test (MET)

Applicants must register for and achieve a passing score on the NCLEX-RN. They also must request fingerprint cards from the IBN to complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check. International applicants who haven’t been issued a U.S. SSN must present written verification from the U.S. Social Security Administration stating that they haven’t been assigned an SSN. They must also provide a birth certificate, passport, or other documentary evidence issued by an entity outside the U.S. and, if applicable, submit proof that they’re lawfully present in the U.S.


The IBN typically processes applications within 5 to 10 business days after receiving an applicant’s completed application and all relevant documentation. If the application is missing required documentation, the application and the fees paid remain active for one year. Applicants must start the application process over if they fail to submit missing information during this time frame. The status link in the Nurse Portal allows applicants to monitor the progress of their applications throughout the process.

Temporary Nurse License

Applicants for an Idaho nursing license by endorsement or exam may be eligible for temporary licenses. They can access the Temporary License Application in the Nurse Portal, but they can’t apply for a temporary license by itself. Applications for temporary licenses must accompany applications for endorsements or single state or multistate Idaho nursing licenses. Temporary licenses are nonrenewable. 

Endorsement Candidate Temporary License:

After providing proof of a current, unencumbered RN license from another nursing jurisdiction and documentation of employment within the last three years, applicants for endorsement may be eligible for a temporary license. RNs must maintain compliance with all applicable endorsement requirements while practicing with their temporary licenses. A temporary license expires at the conclusion of the term for which it was issued or upon issuance of a renewable licensure by endorsement, whichever occurs first.

New Graduate Temporary License:

Graduate nurses may qualify for a temporary license to practice nursing while awaiting notification of NCLEX results and completion of the criminal background check. To qualify, they must have graduated from an IBN-approved nursing education program or a nursing education program recognized by a professional licensing board in another nursing jurisdiction. While practicing with their temporary licenses, graduate nurses must be under the direct supervision of a licensed RN and aren’t allowed to act as charge nurses.

Temporary licenses issued to graduate nurses are issued for no longer than 90 days. A temporary license expires at the end of the term for which it was issued, upon issuance of a permanent renewable Idaho nursing license, or upon failure to achieve a passing score on the NCLEX-RN, whichever occurs first.


When applying online, fees may be paid using Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express cards. Prepaid credit/gift cards aren’t acceptable. Applicants can also pay by check or money order made payable to the Idaho Board of Nursing when submitting a paper application. All licensing fees are nonrefundable. The application fees listed for licensure by exam, endorsement, or reinstatement, and international applications include a $28.25 fingerprint processing fee.

  • License by Exam: $118.25

  • License by Endorsement: $138.25

  • International Application: $118.25

  • License by Reinstatement: $153.25

  • Temporary License: $25

  • License Renewal: $90

  • NCLEX-RN Retest: $90

  • Record Verification: $30

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Frequently asked questions

As an applicant for an Idaho nursing license, what happens if I fail the NCLEX-RN?

Idaho RN license applicants who fail the NCLEX-RN can apply to retake it. They must complete an RN Retest Application, available on the Nurse Portal, and pay a fee of $90 to the IBN and another $200 fee to Pearson VUE to retake the exam.

How many times can I retake the NCLEX-RN as an Idaho nursing license candidate?

Idaho doesn’t place a limit on the number of times an applicant may retake the NCLEX. However, applicants are only allowed to retake the exam every 45 days and must pay retake fees for each attempt.

Is Idaho a compact nursing license state?

Idaho adopted the original Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) on July 1, 2001, then withdrew from the NLC and implemented the Enhanced NLC on January 19, 2018.

How much does an Idaho RN license cost?

Application for an Idaho nursing license by exam costs $118.25 and for an Idaho nursing license by endorsement costs $138.25. If you want to apply for a temporary license at the same time, you must pay an additional $25.

How long does it take to get an Idaho RN license?

The Idaho Board of Nursing typically processes RN license applications within 5 to 10 business days after receiving the completed application and all relevant documentation.