New Mexico RN Licensing Guide

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

Overview

The New Mexico Board of Nursing (NMBON) is the state agency that protects the New Mexico citizens by licensing nurses, regulating education programs for licensees, and regulating nursing practice. Nearly 30,500 registered nurses held New Mexico nursing licenses in May 2022.

About

The New Mexico Board of Nursing only accepts applications online through the New Mexico Nurse Portal. Applications left incomplete for more than six months from the date of initial submission are considered void. Applicants must submit another application to begin the process again.

Renewal

New Mexico RNs must renew their license every two years by the end of their renewal month. The NMBON mails New Mexico RN license renewal notices at least six weeks before a license expires. Nurses may not submit their New Mexico RN license renewal application any earlier than 60 days before their license expires. Licensees must:

  • Apply online using the Nurse Portal

    • Must create an account if it's the first time using the portal

    • A registration code is no longer required to renew online

  • Upload proof of continuing education

    • RNs must use a free CE Broker account to manage their CE records

  • Pay renewal fee by credit or debit card

If the applicant's license has expired or lapsed, they must submit an Expired/Lapsed Attestation (ELA) within five business days of submitting their renewal application. Failure to provide the ELA and required documentation could result in disciplinary action against the applicant's New Mexico nursing license. Applicants must complete, scan, and upload their ELA into their Nurse Portal Account.

Applicants needing assistance with their online renewal may use NMBON's Step-by-Step Renewal Directions. Barring any complications or requirements for additional information to complete the renewal process, RNs should receive their renewal within 10 days of submission.

Continuing Education

NMBON requires all registered nurses to engage in continuing education (CE) for the health and well-being of New Mexico residents. New Mexico RN license holders must upload proof of their continuing education to CE Broker before NMBON will renew their license. During the 24 months immediately preceding the expiration of their license, RNs must complete 30 hours of approved CE. However, CE may be prorated to commensurate with the length of the renewal period for the first renewal. Continuing education requirements for RNs may be fulfilled in one of three ways, including:

  • Obtaining or renewing a nursing specialty certificate during the licensure period

    • Doesn't include an APRN certification

  • Participating in CE activities provided by approved CE providers

  • Continuing formal nursing education through a Board-approved program or a program with national nursing accreditation

Licensees are responsible for determining whether a nursing certificate, CE activity, or professional activity meets NMBON's CE requirements.

Requirements

Fingerprinting Requirements

NMBON contracts with IdentiGo to provide state and federal background checks for New Mexico nursing license applicants. The Board can't substitute other criminal background checks for the statutory requirements of a criminal background check for licensure.

All applicants must use ORI# NM920190Z for their registered nurse application. Failure to use the correct ORI number invalidates the applicant's results and requires them to repeat the criminal background check. The NMBON can only retain the results of a criminal background check for 30 days from the date the results were made available. Applicants shouldn't complete their criminal background checks any earlier than two weeks before they submit their application for licensure.

In-State Applicants

  • Register online or by telephone at (877) 783-4187

  • Pay $59 for criminal background check online or at fingerprint location

  • Choose a location to have fingerprints taken

  • Travel to the place chosen for fingerprinting and pay any additional fees required by this entity

Out-of-State Applicants

  • May submit hardcopy fingerprint cards to IdentiGo

    • Fingerprints must be rolled onto these cards by their local law enforcement agency or a third-party service based on the rules in their state

  • Obtain two fingerprint cards FD-258 or complete the Fingerprint Card Request form

    • NMBON only mails fingerprint cards to out-of-state or international applicants

  • Register online or by telephone at (877) 783-41877

  • Pay $59 for criminal background check online or send payment with completed fingerprint cards

  • Get fingerprinted by an appropriate agency

  • Write registration ID on the back of the fingerprint cards

  • Mail completed fingerprint cards and payment, if applicable to IdentiGO, Cardscan Department - New Mexico Program, 340 Seven Springs Way, Suite 250, Brentwood, TN 37027

It can take between two weeks and three months from the date IdentiGo receives an applicant's fingerprints for the NMBON to receive background check results.

Contact Information

New Mexico Board of Nursing
6301 Indian School Road NE, Suite 710
Albuquerque, NM 87110
[email protected]
(505) 841-8340

Multistate

NMBON withdrew from the original Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) on January 18, 2018, and joined the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) on January 19, 2018. Anyone who held an active multistate New Mexico RN license before July 20, 2017, automatically had multistate privileges in any eNLC state and any RN from another eNLC state with multistate privileges could practice in New Mexico. RNs with a New Mexico nursing license who are unsure of their practice privileges should access NMBON's license verification system to confirm where they can practice.

New applicants seeking a multistate New Mexico RN license must meet the 11 Uniform Licensure Requirements of the eNLC. RN licensure applicants must:

  • Meet the requirements for licensure in New Mexico, which must be their Primary State of Residence (PSOR)

  • Possess a valid Social Security Number

  • Have graduated from a board-approved education program or international education program approved by the authorizing accrediting body within the country of matriculation

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

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

  • Hold an active unencumbered license or be eligible for licensure

  • Submit fingerprints for state and federal background checks

  • Not have any state or federal felony convictions of any kind or misdemeanor convictions related to nursing

  • Not be a current participant in an alternative program

  • Self-disclose current participation in an alternative program

Licensure by Endorsement

Applicants seeking New Mexico Licensure by Endorsement who are currently residents of another eNLC state must take their licensure exam in their PSOR. Endorsement applicants must submit:

Continuing education isn't required for initial licensure by endorsement but will be required for the first renewal.

Once the NMBON receives the endorsement application, the applicant must complete the licensure process within one year. Otherwise, the application becomes null and void and they must submit a new application and begin the process over.

Licensure by Exam

Domestic-educated nurses applying for New Mexico nurse licensure by exam must have completed a board-approved nursing program within the last three years. Applicants who are currently a resident of another eNLC state must apply to take the licensure exam with that State Board of Nursing. NMBON must receive an applicant's Initial Exam Application within 12 weeks of graduation.

To apply for licensure, New Mexico residents must:

  • Submit an Online RN Exam Application and the non-refundable application fee

  • Request their nursing program to submit official transcripts to the NMBON

    • Applicants educated in New Mexico may have their education verified through the Affidavit of Graduation Portal

    • NMBON accepts electronic transcripts through Parchment and EScrip Safe or via email at [email protected]

  • Complete Criminal Background Check

  • Register for Pearson VUE online or call (866) 496-2539

    • Pay the $200 registration fee directly to Pearson VUE using a credit card

Once the NMBON reviews the applicant's file and determines it's complete, they receive their Authorization to Test (ATT) from Pearson VUE and schedule their NCLEX-RN. Applications for licensure by exam are valid for one year. Applicants must schedule and take their NCLEX within this six-month period or they must submit a new licensure by exam application.

Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

Internationally educated applicants must complete the same steps as domestic educated nurses applying for licensure by exam, plus some additional steps. International applicants must:

  • Oe of three approved credentialing agencies below must submit a credentials evaluation directly to NMBON via email at [email protected] before applicant submits licensure application

    • Josef Silny & Associates, Inc. (JS&A)

    • Educational Records Evaluation Service, Inc. (ERES)

    • Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)

  • Proof of English proficiency through an approved English Competency exam, if they didn't complete a nursing program given in English

    • Minimum score of 540 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

    • Minimum score of 84 overall and minimum speaking score of 26 on the TOEFL iBT

    • Minimum score of 725 on the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)

    • Minimum score of 6.5 overall and 7 on the spoken portion on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

    • Minium score of 59 on the Michigan English Test (MET)

  • Complete a Criminal Background Check

  • Register for Pearson VUE online or call (866) 496-2539

    • Pay the $200 registration fee directly to Pearson VUE using a credit card

  • Submit the online International Examination Application and non-refundable application fee

Once the NMBON reviews the applicant's file and determines it's complete, they receive their Authorization to Test (ATT) from Pearson VUE and schedule their NCLEX-RN. Applications for licensure by exam are valid for one year.

Timing

The length of time to licensure from the receipt of application varies based on numerous factors outside the NMBON's control. Issues that can prolong the time it takes NMBON to issue a permanent license include the time it takes to:

  • Receive supporting documentation from external entities

  • Receive results of the criminal background check and evaluate results

  • Schedule and pass the NCLEX-RN, if applicable

The volume of applications received may also impact NMBON's application processing time. Applicants should allow four to six weeks for processing after submitting their application. However, applications for licensure by exam received from internationally educated nurses usually take longer.

Once the NMBON receives all supporting documents, including background check results, the Licensing Clerk licenses applicants within 10 business days. It can take between two weeks and three months from the date IdentiGo receives an applicant's fingerprints for the NMBON to receive background check results.

Temporary Nurse License

Graduate nurses who submit their Licensure by Examination Application to the NMBON within 12 weeks of graduation may be approved for Graduate Nurse Permits. Applicants must have their prospective employers submit a letter of verification of intent to hire on official letterhead to the NMBON. Verification letters must include the name of the institution and the name and license number of the RN responsible for ensuring the graduate nurse only practices under direct RN supervision. To be eligible for a Graduate Nurse Permit, applicants must submit:

  • Licensure by exam application

  • Official transcript or Certification of Eligibility of Nursing Program

  • Fingerprint cards for criminal background check

  • Letter of intent to hire

Applicants should allow at least three weeks for processing a permit to practice after the NMBON receives all required documentation. NMBON issues temporary permits directly to the employer through email or postal mail. Applicants must sign their permit before employment as a Graduate Nurse. Applicants who declare residency in other Compact states won't be issued a permit.

Temporary permits are valid for six months from the date of application or until the NMBON issues the results of the NCLEX-RN, whichever comes first. Permits become void if the applicant fails the NCLEX or fails to take the NCLEX within six months of their graduation.

Applicants for licensure by endorsement may be issued a temporary license after the NMBON receives their online RN Endorsement Application and the results of a clear criminal background check. Temporary licenses are valid for six months from the date of application and can't be renewed. They become null upon expiration or issuance of a permanent licensure, whichever comes first.

Fees

All fees are non-refundable. The initial application fee covers one year plus the number of months to the applicant’s birth month. Current New Mexico nursing license fees and related costs include:

  • Licensure by Exam/Endorsement: $150

  • Re-Exam Fee (per attempt): $60

  • NCLEX Fee (paid to Pearson VUE, per attempt): $200

  • Criminal Background Check: $59

  • New Mexico RN License Renewal: $110

  • Reactivation from Lapsed Status: $200

    • Includes Renewal Fee

  • Temporary License: $60

  • License Verification: $30

Recent Updates

As of May 3, 2018, applicants educated in the U.S. applying for New Mexico licensure by exam may take the NCLEX up to five times within three years of first being made eligible to sit for the NCLEX. Applicants educated outside the U.S. may take the NCLEX up to five times within three years of their initial New Mexico application for licensure through exam.

As of July 1, 2019, all New Mexico RN license holders must upload proof of their continuing education to CE Broker before NMBON will renew their license.

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Frequently asked questions

Is there an additional fee to receive a Compact license?

No, there's no additional cost for having a Compact license.

How many continuing education hours does a nurse need for their New Mexico RN license renewal?

New Mexico RNs must complete 30 continuing education hours during each two-year licensure period to renew their license. However, NMBON may prorate CE hours to commensurate with the length of the licensure period for the first renewal.

Is New Mexico a walk-through state?

No, New Mexico isn't a walk-through state.