• Licenses
  • Maine RN Licensing Guide

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


    The State of Maine Legislature approved an act to create a Board of Examination and Registration of Nurses on March 18, 1915, which became the Maine State Board of Nursing (MSBON). Today’s MSBON consists of nine members appointed by the Governor and still promotes nursing regulation to protect public health, safety, and welfare. It issues and renews Maine nursing licenses to qualified applicants, reporting more than 28,000 registered nurses to the National Nursing Database in early 2022.


    To ensure RNs holding Maine nursing licenses receive the education necessary to practice safely and competently, MSBON sets minimum requirements for nursing schools within the state. It may prescribe curricula and standards for nursing education programs (NEPs) that prepare individuals for nurse licensure. Approved NEPs in Maine must meet established curricula requirements that include theoretical and clinical instruction in nursing and content covering:

    • Applicable RN scope and standards of practice

    • Therapeutic interventions

    • Anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, microbiology, and chemistry

    • Sociology, psychology, humanities, and cultural diversity

    • Communications, interpersonal relations, and group dynamics

    • Professional, ethical, and legal considerations influencing nursing

    • Nutrition, medication administration, pharmacotherapeutics, and diet therapy

    • Physical and mental health, patient safety, and illness prevention throughout the lifespan

    MSBON requires all Maine nursing license applications to be completed online. It processes applications in the order they’re received. Upon approval, MSBON issues an RN license and emails it to the applicant to the address they have on file. Licenses are in the form of a certificate that includes both the issue date and expiration date. RNs receive a new certificate via email each time they renew their license or change their name.

    After verifying an active Maine nursing license on the MSBON website, it’s recommended that RNs enroll with Nursys E-Notify “As a Nurse” to complete the registration process.

    All applicants must have a U.S. Social Security number before MSBON will issue them a Maine Registered Professional Nursing License. When mailing required documentation to MSBON, applicants should use the State House Station address or they can email certain documents to the appropriate department.


    When MSBON issues RNs their first Maine nursing license, it will be active for at least one year but no more than two years based on their birthdates. After their initial Maine RN license renewal, subsequent renewals must occur every two years on or before the nurse’s birthday. MSBON doesn’t offer a grace period. If RNs fail to renew their licenses on or before their birthdays in the expiration year, their licenses lapse. RNs with a lapsed license can’t continue to practice until they resolve their lapsed license status with the MSBON office. All Maine RN license renewals must be completed online.

    Continuing Education Requirements

    MSBON doesn’t currently require continuing education as part of the Maine RN license renewal process.


    Maine nursing licensees who’ve changed their name must send MSBON written notification of the name change and a copy of their marriage certificate, divorce decree, or probate court name change document to facilitate this change in the licensure records. Notices of name and/or address changes must be submitted to the MSBON office as promptly as possible.

    Fingerprinting Requirements

    MSBON is authorized to require initial applicants and endorsement applicants for Maine RN licenses to be fingerprinted. It uses fingerprints to facilitate searches of state and national criminal history records as part of its mission to protect the public. After completing the online application for RN licensure by endorsement or exam, applicants are eligible to request a fingerprint-based CBC through MSBON’s authorized vendor, IdentoGO.

    To complete the fingerprinting process, applicants must:

    • Register online with IdentoGO

    • Pay the fingerprinting fee directly to IdentoGO

    • Retain the order or receipt number as evidence they initiated the fingerprinting process

    • Contact IdentoGO at 855-667-7422 with any questions

    Applicants inside Maine will schedule their fingerprints to be done electronically through Live Scan on IdentoGO’s web portal. They must physically visit an IdentoGO site to let a technician capture their fingerprints and submit them for processing.

    Out-of-state applicants must register with IdentoGO as a “Mail In” applicant. They have their fingerprints inked onto a fingerprint card at their local police department or sheriff’s office. These applicants must mail the completed fingerprint card and the registration email received from IdentoGO to the address printed on the receipt for processing.

    IdentoGO sends electronic scans of applicants’ fingerprints to the Maine State Bureau of Identification (SBI) through the secure Central Criminal Records Exchange and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Both entities perform CBCs and return the applicants’ criminal history records of arrests and prosecution through a secure website to MSBON for retrieval. Only designated MSBON staff can access CBC results.

    MSBON can’t accept fingerprint cards or CBC results from applicants. CBCs expire after 90 days. Applicants must be fingerprinted again to run new CBCs if they expire. MorphoTrust USA notifies applicants if the Maine SBI and/or FBI rejects their fingerprints. In-state applicants can contact IdentoGO for free reprinting. If they’re rejected a second time, they must go directly to the Maine SBI for fingerprinting.

    MSBON staff marks applicants as “Passed” in the Agency Licensing Management System (ALMS) if their CBC reports contain no criminal history record information (CHRI). Staff marks applicants with CHRI on their CBC reports as “Failed” in the ALMS and notifies them of their results. Failed applicants must submit a written, signed, and dated explanation of the incident(s) and applicable court-certified documentation. MSBON reviews this information to determine eligibility for a Maine nursing license.

    CBC results are usually available to MSBON within 48 to 72 hours. However, results for out-of-state applicants require additional processing time due to the manual fingerprinting process. Applicants with a criminal history can expect their results to take 30 days or more.

    Contact Information

    Maine State Board of Nursing 161 Capitol Street/158 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333 [email protected] 207-287-1133


    Maine withdrew from the original Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) and implemented the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) on January 19, 2018. As an NLC member, Maine allows RNs who claim Maine as their primary state of residence (PSOR) to apply for multistate licensure and practice in all Compact states under one license.

    Applicants who are legal residents of another state can’t apply for a multistate nursing license in Maine. However, a legal resident of another state who is permanently moving to Maine should submit a Declaration of Primary Residence Form after they relocate and apply for a Maine multistate nursing license. State law authorizes MSBON to request all types of documents that provide proof of legal residency in Maine, including driver’s licenses, tax forms, voter registrations, and validations of residence.

    MSBON won’t issue a multistate license until the applicant’s CBC has been processed and they’ve received the results. Applicants wanting a multistate nursing license must meet all the Uniform Licensure Requirements to qualify. They must:

    • Meet all Maine nurse licensing requirements

    • Graduate from a Board-approved NEP or an international NEP approved by the applicable authorized accrediting body in that country

    • Pass the NCLEX-RN or its predecessor

    • Pass an English proficiency exam if applicable

    • Hold or be eligible for an active, unencumbered nursing license

    • Submit to state and federal fingerprint-based CBCs

    • Have no felony convictions under state or federal law

    • Have no nursing-related misdemeanor convictions

    • Self-disclose participation in an alternative program

    • Not currently be a participant in an alternative program

    • Have a valid U.S. Social Security number

    Licensure by Endorsement

    RNs licensed in a non-Compact state or who hold a single state license in a Compact state temporarily living and working in Maine must apply for licensure by endorsement. They must apply online and pay the nonrefundable application fee. During the application process, applicants will:

    • Upload a current photo

    • Upload a manually signed signature page; electronic signatures aren’t accepted

    • Submit supporting documentation for any “Yes” responses to disciplinary questions, including court documents for any incidents less than 10 years old and a signed explanation 

    • Request that transcripts be sent from the NEP if required; requirements are based on a case-by-case review

    • Complete the fingerprinting process for CBCs 

    • Request verification of licensure through Nursys, if the state that issued their original license participates in the online system, or directly from the State BON if it doesn’t

    All required documentation either from the endorsement applicant or sent directly from the source must either be mailed to MSBON or emailed to [email protected].

    Licensure by Exam

    Graduate nurses who aren’t licensed and need to take the NCLEX-RN must apply for RN licensure by exam. Applicants for a Maine nursing license by exam must apply online and pay the nonrefundable application fee. During the application process, they will:

    • Upload a current photo

    • Upload a manually signed signature page; electronic signatures aren’t accepted

    • Submit supporting documentation for any “Yes” responses to disciplinary questions, including court documents for any incidents less than 10 years old and a signed explanation

    • Request the NEP administrator to complete the Certification of School Form and send it directly to MSBON

    • Request the NEP to send their final transcript with degree and date conferred to MSBON, if graduating from an out-of-state program

    • Complete the fingerprinting process for CBCs

    All Maine nurse licensure applicants who haven’t passed the NCLEX-RN must register with Pearson VUE to take this exam. Once MSBON confirms the applicant is eligible to take the test, Pearson VUE sends an Authorization to Test email and the applicant can schedule an appointment to take the NCLEX-RN. Applicants who don’t pass the NCLEX must apply to retake it and obtain another Certification of School Form if it’s been more than two years since they originally applied for licensure.

    All required documentation either from the exam applicant or sent directly from the source must either be mailed to MSBON or emailed to [email protected].

    Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

    Foreign or Canadian applicants for a Maine RN license must complete the same steps as U.S. applicants and some additional steps.

    They must request a transcript review from the Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Programs (CGFNS). The CGFNS must either submit this review to the MSBON office or post the review on its website for the Board’s review.

    Foreign or Canadian applicants who completed a NEP with texts and instruction in a language besides English must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The testing service must submit the results directly to MSBON.

    Any applicant currently outside the U.S. can’t have their fingerprints collected until they’re physically present in the U.S. Fingerprinting is required for all applicants.

    All applicants also must have a U.S. Social Security number before MSBON can issue them a Maine nursing license. They must contact the U.S. Social Security Administration to begin this process, which is lengthy.

    All foreign applicants who haven’t taken the NCLEX-RN in another jurisdiction must schedule the exam with Pearson VUE. The NCLEX-RN is also required of all Canadian RNs applying for licensure by exam or endorsement who haven’t taken the exam.


    MSBON processes applications in the order they’re received, and the total time from application to licensure varies. Applicants can check the status of their applications online throughout the process.

    Temporary Nurse License

    MSBON created a temporary license during the COVID-19 state of emergency called the “COVID-19 Temporary Authorization to Practice License” for RNs already licensed in another state. These licenses expired on June 30, 2021. MSBON doesn’t normally issue temporary licenses or permits to practice to applicants of Maine RN licenses by endorsement or exam.


    MSBON establishes Maine RN licensing fees and fines for practicing with a lapsed license. All licensing fees must be paid with a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card while applying for or renewing a Maine nursing license online. Current application fees and related costs include:

    • Licensure by Endorsement/Exam: $75

    • Maine RN License Renewal: $75

    • RN License Reactivation: $75

    • RN License Reinstatement: $85

    • Verification of Maine RN License: $30

    Besides fees related to RN licensure paid directly to MSBON, other entities collect fees during the nurse licensing process. MSBON isn’t involved in collecting these fees, which are subject to change without notice. Additional fees to obtain a Maine nursing license may include:

    • Live Scan fingerprint collection fee for all applicants paid directly to IdentoGO: $52

    • National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) fee for exam applicants paid directly to Pearson VUE: $200

    • Nurse license verification for endorsement applicants paid directly to Nursys: $30

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    Frequently asked questions

    Do RNs moving to Maine from a Compact state need to have another criminal background check completed?

    It depends. RNs with a multistate license who will be practicing in Maine but not declaring it their primary state of residence aren’t required to submit an application for licensure. In this scenario, they wouldn’t be required to complete a new CBC. RNs moving to Maine from a Compact state and declaring Maine their PSOR must submit a new RN licensure application and would be required to complete a new CBC. RNs moving from a Compact state but only have a single state license and not declaring Maine as their PSOR must submit an application for licensure by endorsement and must complete a new CBC. State Boards of Nursing can’t share CBC information with each other, so anytime an RN files a new application in Maine, they must complete a new CBC.

    Can an applicant for a Maine nursing license challenge the results of their criminal background check?

    Yes, applicants can challenge the accuracy or completeness of their State of Maine and FBI criminal background checks. Start by obtaining a copy of the results for review and challenge the appropriate entity directly.

    To obtain a copy of and challenge a state criminal history record, call the Maine SBI at 207-624-7240 or write to:

    Maine State Bureau of Investigations State Bureau of Identification State House Station #42 45 Commerce Drive, Suite 1 Augusta, ME 04333-0042

    To obtain a copy of and challenge a federal criminal history record, contact the FBI online or write to:

    FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division Attn: SCU, Module D-2 1000 Custer Hollow Road Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306