New Hampshire RN Licensing Guide

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

Overview

The New Hampshire Board of Nursing (NHBON) strives to protect the health and public safety of the citizens of New Hampshire by protecting them from unauthorized or unqualified individuals practicing nursing. The NHBON promotes efficient professional healthcare licensing through a detailed nurse licensure process. Nearly 26,000 registered nurses held a New Hampshire nursing license in May 2022.

About

The State of New Hampshire Office of Professional Licensure and Certification (OPLC) oversees 47 occupational licensing boards, including the NHBON. While the NHBON directly regulates the nursing profession, OPLC provides administrative, recordkeeping, and clerical support.

Applicants for a New Hampshire nursing license must apply online for their initial New Hampshire RN license and to renew their nursing license. The requirements for obtaining a nursing license through the website are the same as those for obtaining a license through a traditional, paper application. Paper applications are no longer accepted for initial licensing or renewals.

Renewal

The OPLC emails New Hampshire RN license renewal notifications at least 60 days and within 15 days of the expiration date on the RN license. If it’s an RN’s first time to renew their license, they must use the registration code provided in the renewal notification to create an online account. They must have an online account to complete their New Hampshire RN license renewal. To renew, RNs must have completed 400 working hours within the four years prior to the application date or completed the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) within two years of the application date.

Continuing Education Requirements

As part of the renewal process, RNs must complete 30 hours of continuing education (CE) during each two-year licensure period. However, there’s an exception to completing CE if it’s their first renewal after completing the NCLEX-RN within the past two years. Approved CE includes conferences, workshops, lectures, or other education offerings that enhance their nursing knowledge, skills, and judgment.

When calculating CE hours for individualized learning:

  • One academic credit converts to 15 CE contact hours

  • Other individualized learning activities count on an hour-for-hour basis

The NHBON doesn’t require nurses to earn their CE contact hours at conferences that provide official contact hours granted by a professional organization. However, the program must:

  • Maintain a list of attendees

  • Evaluate the learner’s grasp of the objectives

  • Include specific objectives

  • Pertain to the RN’s scope of practice

  • Enhance the RN’s skills, knowledge, and judgment

RNs must maintain documentation of their attendance of CE offerings, including the name of the entity that provided it and the title, date, and length of the offering. There’s no limit to the number of CE hours an RN may complete through independent study, but they must have some method of verifying that they completed the course.

Requirements

Fingerprinting Requirements

Each initial licensure must include and a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprint and New Hampshire background check. The NHBON can’t process a nursing application or issue a temporary license until it receives and reviews the applicant’s criminal record. The NHBON can only accept criminal record reports processed sent to it directly from the NH State Police.

To obtain a Board of Nursing Criminal Background Check, applicants must complete a Live Scan or inked fingerprint cards. Applicants may use any fingerprint cards available and obtained from the agency completing the fingerprinting. When completing cards, include:

  • Applicant’s signature

  • ORI Code: NHNSP0800 STATE POLICE CONCORD, NH

  • Reason for: BOARD OF NURSING NH RSA 326-B:15

  • Inked fingerprints or live scan images

In-State applicants should call the NH State Police in Concord at (603) 223-3867 and schedule licensee fingerprinting. Service is provided at the Department of Public Safety’s public counter at 33 Hazen Drive, Concord, Room 106A, and other NH processing locations. Applicant’s must bring:

Out-of-State Applicants

Applicants not in New Hampshire may use any out-of-state law enforcement agency. The NHBON accepts out-of-state Live Scans but only if the agency scans the fingerprints onto the fingerprint card. Applicants must:

Office of Professional Licensure and Certification
New Hampshire Board of Nursing
7 Eagle Square
Concord, NH 03301

Contact Information

Multistate

The New Hampshire Board of Nursing joined Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) in January 2006. It withdrew from the original NLC and transitioned to the enhanced NLC on January 19, 2018. All applicants for initial New Hampshire RN licensing must comply with the NLC model. Therefore, all new licensees must meet the 11 uniform licensing standards. They must:

  • Meet the licensure requirements of their home state

  • Graduate from a nursing education program approved by the Board of Nursing or an international education program approved by the applicable accrediting body of the country of matriculation

  • Pass the NCLEX-RN

  • Pass an English proficiency exam if English isn’t their native language

  • Hold or be eligible for an active, unencumbered license

  • Submit fingerprints for state and federal criminal background checks

  • Not have any state or federal felony convictions

  • Not have any nursing-related misdemeanor convictions

  • Have a valid U.S. Social Security number

  • Not be currently participating in an alternative program

  • Self-disclose any current participation in an alternative program

Multistate licenses issued by Compact states, including New Hampshire, are portable between participating states.

Licensure by Endorsement

Applicants who currently hold an RN license in another state or jurisdiction but have never held a New Hampshire nursing license may apply for licensure by endorsement. To qualify, applicants must:

  • Hold an active unencumbered RN license

  • Not have committed any acts that are grounds for disciplinary action in another jurisdiction

  • Passed an exam approved by the NHBON

  • Submitted verification of licensure status

  • Must be sent directly from the jurisdiction that issued the applicant’s licensure by exam

To apply, endorsement candidates must:

  • Comply with the FBI fingerprint and NH background check requirements

    • NHBON can’t issue a temporary or permanent license without receiving and reviewing applicant’s criminal records

  • Complete and submit pages 1 and 2 of the Application for License by Endorsement

  • Complete and submit the Declaration of Primary State of Residency form and attached a copy of their driver’s license

  • Submit the appropriate fees to the NHBON office

  • Register with Nursys to provide verification of original nursing license or request a paper verification from the original licensing state if it doesn’t participate in Nursys

  • Have worked as a nurse for at least 400 hours in the past four years

  • Have completed 30 continuing education contact hours or passed the NCLEX-RN within the past two years

Licensure by Exam

Graduate nurses who need to sit for the NCLEX-RN to earn their initial New Hampshire RN license must apply for licensure by exam. They must:

  • Comply with the FBI fingerprint and NH background check requirements

  • NHBON can’t issue a temporary or permanent license without receiving and reviewing applicant’s criminal records

  • Complete the pages 1 and 2 of the Application for License by Examination

    • Required each time they apply to take the NCLEX

  • Complete the Declaration of Primary State of Residency form and attach copy of driver’s license

    • Required each time they apply to take the NCLEX

  • Submit the appropriate fees to the NHBON office

  • Request an official copy of transcript to be sent directly to the NHBON from the applicant’s nursing school

  • Must be either mailed directly from the school to the NHBON or sent electronically

  • Must state degree attained and graduation date

  • Preregister with Pearson VUE Testing Service and pay the $200 fee

Once the licensure candidate’s application is fully completed, they’re eligible to take the NCLEX through Pearson VUE. Pearson VUE issues the applicant an Authorization to Test, not the NHBON. They won’t receive their ATT is they didn’t preregister. Once received, they can schedule their exam. Applicants can check the status of their application and any licenses issued through their online account. The NHBON will purge any applications not completed within 180 days.

Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

Licensure by Endorsement

Registered nurses from Quebec and non-Canadian foreign countries may apply for licensure by endorsement. They must complete:

  • Pages 1 and 2 of the Application for License by Endorsement

  • Declaration of Primary State of Residency form

  • Notarized Criminal Record Release Authorization

  • Fingerprint card for criminal background check with fee

  • Request for RN Verification of Original Licensure form

All items must be submitted to the NHBON. All foreign-educated RNs must also provide evidence of educational credentials from an organization recognized by the National Council State Board of Nursing (NCSBN). Credentials must include a certificate of a passing grade from a nursing examination. Applicants whose native language isn't English or whose nursing program wasn't provided in English must have an English proficiency exam included in their credentialing. Approved credentialing providers include:

  • Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)

    • CGFNS Certification Program Verification Letter

    • eDocument Authentication Service for transcripts forwarding

    • CES with English Language Testing through CGFNS

Applicants who are licensed as a nurse and have worked in the U.S. as a nurse you may request a credentialing report through Josef Silny & Associates, Inc. (JS&A)

Foreign applicants for licensure by endorsement must also provide evidence of at least 400 hours of active practice in the past four years and 30 contact hours of continuing education in the past two years before submitting their application. They must submit $120 for the application fee, made payable to the Treasurer, State of New Hampshire.

Initial Licensure by Exam

Applicants from from Quebec and non-Canadian foreign countries who aren't licensed and need to take the NCLEX-RN may apply for licensure by exam. They must complete:

  • Pages 1 and 2 of the Application for License by Examination

  • Declaration of Primary State of Residency form

  • Notarized Criminal Record Release Authorization

  • Fingerprint card for criminal background check with fee

  • Request for RN Verification of Original Licensure form

All items must be submitted to the NHBON. All foreign-educated RNs must also provide evidence of educational credentials from an organization recognized by the NCSBN, including a certificate of a passing grade from a nursing examination. Applicants whose native language isn't English or whose nursing program wasn't provided in English must have an English proficiency exam included with their credentialing. Such as:

  • Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)

    • CGFNS Certification Program Verification Letter

    • eDocument Authentication Service for transcripts forwarding

    • CES with English Language Testing through CGFNS

They must also provide evidence of at least 400 hours of active practice in the four years immediately before submitting their application. Applicants must submit $120 for the application fee, made payable to the Treasurer, State of New Hampshire. Exam applicants must also apply with Pearson VUE Testing Service and pay the $200 fee to receive their Authorization to Test and take the NCLEX-RN.

Timing

The application processing time varies based how quickly all the elements with the application process come together. However, NCLEX results usually process within 96 hours after testing and criminal background checks can take up to 8 weeks. Applications not completed by the prospective licensee within 180 days expire and the NHBON removes them from its system. Candidates may follow their application status and any license(s) issued on the New Hampshire Online Licensing website.

Temporary Nurse License

NHBON may issue a temporary license to candidates seeking to take the NCLEX-RN after they complete and submit the Application for Temporary License form and the Application for License by Examination or already have a New Hampshire RN license application pending with the NHBON. The Board won’t issue a temporary license until the candidate’s application is complete, which includes receipt of results from the criminal background check. Temporary licenses are valid up to 120 days or until the licensure candidate receives their NCLEX-RN results, regardless of whether they pass or fail.

Temporary licenses are available to endorsing nurses from states that don’t participate in Nursys. Temporary licenses are usually only needed if there’s a delay in receiving paper verifications. Applications must otherwise be complete, including receipt of results from the criminal background check. Temporary licenses for endorsing nurses are valid up to 120 days or until receipt of their permanent New Hampshire RN license, whichever comes first. Endorsing applicants form Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont may apply for an immediate temporary license.

Fees

Applicants may pay licensure fees by check, made out to “Treasurer, State of New Hampshire.” Forms of payment accepted for online applications include Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express credit or debit cards. Current New Hampshire RN license and related fees include:

  • RN Application: $128, includes $28 mandatory Professional Health Program (PHP) fee

  • Temporary License: $25

  • New Hampshire RN Renewal: $108, includes $20 mandatory PHP fee

  • FBI Background Check: $48.25

  • RN License Reinstatement: $120 + $28 mandatory PHP fee

  • Working With Expired License: $50/month

  • Failure to Change Address: $10

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Frequently asked questions

Does RN licensure renewal in New Hampshire require continuing education?

Yes RN licensure renewal in New Hampshire requires continuing education. All RNs in New Hampshire must complete 30 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years. RNs that are completing their first renewal after passing the NCLEX-RN in the previous two years, are exempt from the CE requirement.

Is New Hampshire a Nurse Licensure Compact state?

Yes New Hampshire is a Nurse Licensure Compact state.

Does New Hampshire require fingerprinting for a background check?

Yes New Hampshire requires fingerprinting for a background check.

How often do you need to renew your RN license in New Hampshire?

You must renew your RN license in New Hampshire every two years.

Does New Hampshire offer a temporary RN license?

Yes New Hampshire offers a temporary RN license to license by examination applicants and license by endorsement applicants from states that don’t participate in Nursys.