• Certifications and Licenses
  • RN - Nebraska

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

    Overview

    The Nebraska Board of Nursing (BON) is part of the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health/Licensure Unit. The BON issued Nebraska nursing licenses to nearly 31,700 registered nurses in early 2022.

    About

    All applicants must provide proof of citizenship or lawful presence in the U.S. when submitting their Nebraska nursing license application.

    U.S. citizens must submit a photocopy of one of the following documents:

    • Birth certificate bearing an official seal issued by a state, county, municipal authority, or outlying possession of the U.S.

      • Hospital-issued birth certificates aren’t accepted

    • Certification of Birth Abroad (FS-545 or DS-1350)

    • Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the USA (FS-240)

    • U.S. Citizen Identification Card (I-197 or I-179) 

    • Certificate of Citizenship (N-560 or N-561) 

    • Certificate of Naturalization (N-550 or N-570) 

    • Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350)

    • Unexpired/Expired U.S. Passport

    • Northern Mariana Card (I-873) 

     Non-citizens must submit photocopies of documents for one of the following options: 

    • Permanent Resident Card

    • Copy of the front and back of the card

    • Visa and passport with an I-551 stamp  

    • Form I-94 and an unexpired foreign passport with a valid U.S. visa  

    • Unexpired Employment Authorization Document and at least one other document issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or another government agency verifying immigrant or non-immigrant status, such as:

      • Form I-94

      • Form I-20

      • Letter from USCIS indicating current status

    Documents submitted by non-citizens must be verified through the Department of Homeland Security, which can take 3 to 4 weeks.

    Renewal

    Nebraska RN licenses expire on October 31 of even-numbered years. Nurses must submit a paper Nebraska RN license renewal application or complete the online renewal process. When submitting a paper application, applicants must include a check with the application or it won’t be processed. When paying online, they must pay with a credit or debit card when they submit their application or it won’t be processed. Renewal applicants must also attest to having met the continued competency requirements, which include:

    • Practiced nursing for at least 500 hours during the past five years and completed at least 20 contact hours of continuing education (CE) from an approved provider within the past two years

    • Graduated from a nursing program in more than two but less than five years and completed at least 20 contact hours of nursing CE within the past two years

    All contact hours may be completed through home study or internet courses. RNs are exempt from completing the continued competency requirements for the current renewal period if they completed an approved activity. These include:

    • Graduate from a nursing program within the last two years

    • Complete an approved refresher course within the last five years

    • Obtain/maintain current certification in a nursing specialty granted by a nationally recognized certifying organization

    • Develop/maintain a portfolio that includes the licensee's current continuing competency goals and evidence/verification of professional activities to meet those goals

    Processing Nebraska RN license renewal applications can take up to a week. Nurses can check their license status on the License Lookup. Wallet cards aren’t mailed to licenses, but they can print certifications and wallet cards any time.

    Continuing Education Requirements

    Unless an RN has a waiver exempting them from completing their required CE during a biennial licensure period, they must complete 20 contact hours of CE every two years. All contact hours may be completed through home study or internet courses, but at least 10 of the 20 hours must be peer-reviewed. New licensees by endorsement or exam who were first licensed within the last 24 months aren’t required to complete CE hours during their first renewal.

    Requirements

    Fingerprinting Requirements

    After applicants submit their application for a Nebraska nursing license, they must submit their fingerprint and a $45.25 fee to the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) to obtain a criminal background check (CBC). NSP won’t process an applicant’s CBC until the Nebraska BON receives their nurse licensure application. Applicants may submit their fingerprints electronically through Live Scan or by mail. The agency used to obtain their fingerprints for submission may charge an additional fee for this service. Applicants may pay their fee to the NSP one of two ways:

    Option 1: Pay by credit card, debit card or eCheck on the Nebraska State Police Payport

    • A transaction fee is added to the payment

    • Applicants must enter their name, date of birth, and last 4 digits of their SSN

    Option 2: Mail a check or money order made payable to the Nebraska State Patrol

    • Write the applicant’s name and “fingerprinting” on the memo line

    • Mail to Nebraska State Patrol, Attn: CID, 4600 Innovation Drive, Lincoln NE 68521

    Applicants must bring a valid photo ID when getting their fingerprints taken to provide their identity. Acceptable forms of ID include an unexpired driver’s license, passport, permanent resident card, or employment authorization card.

    Option 1: Submit fingerprint using Live Scan

    • Only available when submitting fingerprints in Nebraska

    • Can be completed at any various NSP fingerprint locations

    • Can be completed at other public Live Scan locations in Nebraska if the agency will electronically submit fingerprints to NSP

    Option 2: Submit fingerprints by mail

    • Available for out-of-state and in-state applicants

    • Visit law enforcement or private agency that provide fingerprinting services to the public

    • Use standard blue and white fingerprint cards Form FD-258

    • The Nebraska Licensure Unit mails cards to applicants upon request if needed

    • Complete two cards if using the traditional ink method to capture fingerprints

    • Use one card if fingerprints are captured electronically, then printed onto an FD-258 card

    • Print “Nursing 38-131” in the box labeled “Reason Fingerprinted”

    • Don’t write in the field labeled ORI

    • Don’t sign fingerprint cards until an officer verifies signature

    • Don’t fold fingerprint cards

    • Mail completed cards to Nebraska State Patrol, Attn: CID, 4600 Innovation Drive, Lincoln NE 68521

    Contact Information

    Nebraska Board of Nursing DHHS Licensure Unit, Nursing Section 301 Centennial Mall South, 1st Floor PO Box 94986 Lincoln NE  68509-4986 [email protected] (402) 471-4376

    Multistate

    Nebraska joined the original Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) in January 2001, then withdrew and joined the enhanced NLC implemented on January 19, 2018. The Nebraska BON issues single-state and multistate Nebraska RN licenses to qualified individuals. It also approves pre-licensure nursing education programs located in Nebraska. However, it doesn’t approve online or post-licensure programs, so approval from the BON isn’t required.

    As part of the NLC, Nebraska issues multistate nursing licenses that RNs can use to practice in Nebraska and other states that belong to the Compact if they maintain their residency in Nebraska. To qualify, nurses applying for a multistate nursing license must declare Nebraska as their primary state of residence (PSOR) and meet the uniform licensure requirements, which include:

    • Meeting the requirements for licensure in the home state

    • Graduating from a board-approved education program or international education program approved by the authorizing 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

    • Not having 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 who have an active nursing license in another state and are applying for their first Nebraska nursing license should complete a Nebraska Nursing License by Endorsement Application. If the applicant's legal state belongs to NLC, they must either be ineligible for a multistate license or in the process of moving to Nebraska or a non-Compact state to apply for endorsement in Nebraska. To qualify for licensure by endorsement, applicants also must:

    • Have graduated from an approved nursing education program

    • Have passed the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE), or Canadian Nurses Association licensure exam

    • Be a U.S. Citizen, a legal U.S. immigrant, or be able to lawfully live and/or work in the U.S.

    • Have met one of these continuing competency requirements within the previous 5 years:

      • Practiced nursing for at least 500 hours

      • Graduated from an approved nursing program

      • Completed a Board-approved refresher course

    Applicants must complete a paper Endorsement Application. During the application process, they must:

    • Submit documentation of fee waiver eligibility, if applicable

    • Declare their primary state of residence

    • Provide their Social Security number (mandatory)

    • Submit fingerprints and a processing fee to the Nebraska State Patrol for a criminal background check (CBC)

    • Request verifications of every nursing and non-nursing licenses ever held

      • Purchase a Nurse License Verification for Endorsement from Nursys to verify all nursing licenses issued by states that participate in the Nursys

      • Contact the issuing entity to request verifications be sent for licenses issued in states that don’t participate in Nursys or for non-nursing licenses

    • Submit a letter of explanation and copy of the discipline order if any disciplinary actions have been taken against their license in another state

     Applicants must answer “Yes” if they’ve ever been convicted of any misdemeanors or felonies and list those convictions, no matter the elapsed time since the conviction. If an applicant does have convictions, they must submit:

    •  A written explanation of the events leading to each conviction

    • A written summary of the actions they’ve taken to address the behaviors or actions that led to each conviction

    • A copy of the court record with the statement of charges and final disposition, if the conviction occurred outside of Nebraska

    • A letter from their probation officer detailing the terms and current status of their probation, if applicable

    • Request the treatment provider to submit all evaluations and discharge summaries, if they had an alcohol and drug evaluation and/or completed treatment

    Licensure by Exam

    Applicants needing to pass the NCLEX-RN to qualify for a Nebraska RN license must submit a Nebraska Nursing License by Examination Application. Applicants who are still nursing students may submit their applications up to 90 days before their expected graduation date. To apply for a Nebraska RN license, applicants must: 

    • Submit a recent photograph of themselves

      • Wallet-sized color photograph

      • Signed across the front but not across their face

    • Submit documentation of fee waiver eligibility, if applicable

    • Declare their primary state of residence

    • Provide their Social Security number (mandatory)

    • Submit fingerprints and a processing fee to the Nebraska State Patrol for a criminal background check (CBC)

    • Submit official transcripts from their nursing program showing their degree and graduation date

      • Sent directly to the BON office from the nursing school or submitted by the applicant in a sealed, school envelope with their application

      • Graduates of out-of-state nursing programs whose final transcript doesn’t list nursing prerequisites must submit transcripts from all institutions from which they obtained credits for their nursing degree

    • Submit a letter of explanation and copy of the discipline order if any disciplinary actions have been taken against their license in another state

    Applicants must answer “Yes” if they’ve ever been convicted of any misdemeanors or felonies and list those convictions, no matter the elapsed time since the conviction. If an applicant does have convictions, they must submit:

    • A written explanation of the events leading to each conviction

    • A written summary of the actions they’ve taken to address the behaviors or actions that led to each conviction

    • A copy of the court record with the statement of charges and final disposition, if the conviction occurred outside of Nebraska

    • A letter from their probation officer detailing the terms and current status of their probation, if applicable

    • Request the treatment provider to submit all evaluations and discharge summaries, if they had an alcohol and drug evaluation and/or completed treatment

    In addition to submitting the license application and all required documentation, applicants for Nebraska nursing licensure by exam must also register for the NCLEX with PearsonVUE. However, they can’t test until the Nebraska Licensure Unit receives all documents required to process their nurse licensure application and make them eligible to test. Applicants receive an email from PearsonVUE containing their Authorization to Test (ATT), then they schedule their exam.

    Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

    Graduates of foreign nursing programs must meet all other licensure requirements and provide additional documentation. Applicants who didn’t graduate from a U.S. or Canadian nursing program must request an evaluation of their transcript be sent to the Nebraska BON office from one of the following approved Credential Evaluation Services (CES):

    • Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)

      • Credential Evaluation Service Professional Report

    • ​Educational Records Evaluation Service, Inc. (ERES)

      • Form 101 Academic Transcript/Records Request Form

      • Form 102 Nursing Licensure Confirmation Form

    • ​Josef Silny & Associates, Inc. (JS&A), International Education Consultants

      • Foreign Credential Evaluation Application for Board of Nursing Applicants

    ​Foreign trained nurses applying for a Nebraska RN license by exam who graduated from a nursing education program not provided in English must earn the minimum passing score on an approved English language proficiency exam. Foreign trained nurses seeking a Nebraska nursing license by endorsement who are from non-English-speaking jurisdiction and have been working in a non-English speaking setting for the previous two years also must earn the minimum passing score on an approved English language proficiency exam. Approved exams and minimum scores include: 

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

      • Minimum score of 560 on paper version

      • Minimum score of 220 on computer version

      • Minimum score of 84 with minimum speaking score of 26 on internet-based test

    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

      • Minimum score of 6.5 overall and 6.0 on all modules on academic version  

    • Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)

      • Minimum score of 780

    • Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)

      • Passing standard of 81 and speaking section score of 3

    • Michigan English Test (MET)

      • Minimum overall score of 55 and minimum speaking section score of 55 

    • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic

      • Score of 55 overall with no sub-scores lower than 50

    Any documents submitted in a language other than English must include a complete English translation. The translation must be an original document with the translator’s notarized (or equivalent) signature. Applicants can’t translate their own documents.

    Timing

    The Nebraska BON reviews all applications in the order of the date received by the Licensure Unit. Applications aren’t considered complete until the Licensure Unit receives all required documentation. Approximate time frames for processing applications include:

    • Preliminary Review: About 15 days after application receipt

    • Criminal Background Check: About 4 to 6 weeks after submission of fingerprints to the Nebraska State Patrol

    • License Decision: About 8 to 10 weeks from receipt of a complete application

    If an applicant doesn’t submit all required documents within 90 days of the Licensure Unit receiving their application, it destroys the application and all supporting documents. The Department of Health and Human Services keeps applications and supporting documents for five years after the BON issues the applicants their Nebraska RN licenses. After five years, it destroys all documents.

    Temporary Nurse License

    The Nebraska BON may issue temporary licenses to RNs applying for permanent licensure by endorsement if they have an active nursing license in another state. Temporary licenses are valid for 60 days or until the applicant’s license from another state expires, whichever comes first.

    Fees

    When submitting paper applications for Nebraska nursing licenses by endorsement or exam, applicants must pay by check or money order made payable to DHHS Licensure Unit. Credit or debit card payments aren’t accepted with paper applications. Applicants who submit their Nebraska RN license renewal online must pay with a credit or debit card when they submit their renewal application.

    • RN Licensure by Endorsement/Exam: $123

    • Nebraska RN License Renewal: $123

    • Criminal Background Check (Payable to the Nebraska State Patrol): $45.25

    • NCLEX-RN (Payable to PearsonVUE): $200

    The Licensure Unit reduces application fees if a newly issued license expires in six months or less. RN licenses expire on October 31 of even-numbered years no matter when they’re issued. Nebraska RN licenses issued in May through October of an even-numbered year have an initial licensure fee of $30.75.

    The Nebraska BON waives the application fee for an initial license if the applicant qualifies for fee waiver because they’re a: 

    • Young worker under age 26

    • Low-income applicant enrolled in a state or federal public assistance program or whose household adjusted gross income is below 130% of the federal income poverty guideline

    • Current or former member of the armed services, spouse of a current or former member of the military, or widow of deceased service member

    Applicants who qualify for a fee waiver must still pay for their criminal background check.

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    Frequently asked questions

    Can applicants of a Nebraska RN license count life support courses as continuing education?

    Yes, applicants can count CPR and BLS courses, but they’re limited to no more than 4 hours combined. Other life support courses like ACLS, PALS, and NALS aren’t limited, but they must be peer reviewed.

    How many contact hours can a Nebraska nursing license applicant use from Internet or other home study CE offerings?

    There isn’t a limit on how many contact hours can be obtained through Internet or home study courses, but at least 10 of these contact hours must be from peer reviewed offerings.