• Certifications and Licenses
  • RN - Virginia

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

    Overview

    The Virginia Board of Nursing (VBON) consists of a 14-member Board and operates under the Virginia Department of Health Professions. It processes Virginia nursing licenses and renewals, regulates registered nurses (RNs), and approves and regulates in-state education programs for nurses. According to a database maintained by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), over 113,000 nurses held a Virginia RN license in May 2022.

    About

    Virginia RN Licensure by Exam

    The fee for licensure by examination is $190. This fee is separate from the cost of the exam itself, which is $200 and payable to Pearson VUE.

    Graduate nurses must apply for Virginia nursing licensure by exam. All applicants must provide evidence of completing an approved registered nursing education program and an official transcript if educated outside of Virginia.

    Applications are processed by the date of receipt, generally within 15 business days. Applicants can receive a temporary permit while waiting for their permanent license. To be eligible for a temporary license, applicants must not have previously failed the NCLEX-RN or failed to appear to take the NCLEX-RN after registering for the exam.

    Applicants may register to take the required NCLEX-RN with PearsonVUE Professional Testing once they receive their authorization to test (ATT). After registering for the exam and receiving application approval, the Board notifies the testing company of an applicant’s eligibility to take the exam. PearsonVUE issues an Authorization to Test to applicants within about 48 hours of receiving the notice of eligibility. Applicants receive their permanent license upon passing the NCLEX-RN. Those failing the exam will receive written notice via email or postal mail. 

    Licensure by Endorsement

    (For applicants who hold an active license in another State)

    RNs may pursue licensure by endorsement in Virginia by obtaining verification from the original licensing state. Here are the steps to apply for licensure by endorsement:

    1. Submit Application and required fee: acceptable fees include payment by credit/debit card (online applicants only); or if required to apply by mail, include a check or money order made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia. Your application will not be reviewed or considered until you have submitted payment, and fees are non-refundable

    2. Complete fingerprint-based Criminal Background Check (CBC): required by Virginia Code § 54.1-3005.1: Register for fingerprinting exclusively through Fieldprint Virginia. Online applicants will receive an application confirmation receipt that contains a VBON Fieldprint Code required to register for fingerprinting. Online applicants will also see their Fieldprint Code at the top of the checklist instructions page. If you apply by mail, you must contact the VBON CBC unit for your Fieldprint Code that is required to register for fingerprinting. More information for initiating the CBC may be found at VBON CBC Info.

    3. Request License Verification from your original state of licensure (Exam state): If your original state of licensure participates in the Nursys license verification system, request verification of licensure through Nursys ($30 fee). License verification (only for non-NURSYS participating states): Request license verification be sent to our Board from the state board of nursing where you were originally licensed by examination.

    Virginia RN Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

    With the exception of applicants from Canada who are eligible to be licensed by endorsement, applicants whose basic nursing education was received in another country shall be scheduled to take the licensing examination provided they meet the statutory qualifications for licensure. Verification of qualification shall be based on documents submitted as required in subsection B of this section.

    Such applicants for registered nurse licensure shall:

    1. Submit evidence from the CGFNS that the secondary education and nursing education are comparable to those required for registered nurses in the Commonwealth

    2. Submit evidence of passing an English language proficiency examination approved by the CGFNS, unless the applicant meets the CGFNS criteria for an exemption from the requirement and

    3. Submit the required application and fee for licensure by examination.

    An applicant for licensure as a registered nurse who has met the requirements may practice for a period not to exceed 90 days from the date of approval of an application submitted to the board when working as a non-supervisory staff nurse in a licensed nursing home or certified nursing facility.

    1. Applicants who practice nursing as provided in this subsection shall use the designation "RN applicant" on name tags or when signing official records.

    2. During the 90-day period, the applicant shall take and pass the licensing examination to remain eligible to practice nursing in Virginia.

    3. Any person practicing nursing under this exemption who fails to pass the licensure examination within the 90-day period may not thereafter practice nursing until he passes the licensing examination.

    In addition to CGFNS, the board may accept credentials from other recognized agencies that review the credentials of foreign-educated nurses if such agencies have been approved by the board.

    Temporary Nurse License in Virginia

    A request for Authorization to Practice Letter (ATP): if you intend to work in Virginia pending licensure and you do not have a current license issued with multi-state privilege, you may submit a written request for a letter from the Board for authorization to practice. License applications that do not indicate conviction or discipline history will be eligible for an ATP. Authorization to Practice letters are initially effective for 30 days, so it is advisable to wait to request a letter after 10 business days have expired from the date your application was received by VBON, as your license should be issued within 30 business days. 

    Request may be emailed to [email protected] and include in the email subject line: Endorsement Applicant: Request ATP letter along with copies of: (1) NURSYS license verification receipt and/or your current license (only for non-NURSYS participating states) and (2) Fieldprint (fingerprinting) appointment confirmation receipt. Authorization to Practice letters will be sent by email within 1-2 business days from receipt of the request to [email protected] Employers may verify Authorization to Practice at Virginia Board of Nursing - Temporary Authorization List.  

    Only if requested by Board staff: submit acceptable proof of Primary State of Residence (PSOR): includes copy of current (VA) driver’s license, voter’s registration card, a federal income tax return, military form #2058 (active-duty military personnel only) or a W2 from the U.S. government. 

    Renewal

    Healthcare professionals may renew their license or registration online using a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit card. Your credit card payment is processed as a secure, encrypted transaction for your protection. Renewal is due on May 1st of every odd year.

    The Virginia Department of Health Professions includes an online renewal Personal Identification Number (PIN) with each License Renewal Notice sent out. The License Renewal Notice is sent out approximately 60 days before your license is scheduled to expire. Please note that you must have your username and password or this PIN to renew through the Web site.

    If you have not received a PIN or have lost your username and password, please email the Agency's Call Center at [email protected] Please provide the following information in your request:

    • Full Name

    • 10-digit Virginia License Number

    • Date of Birth (not applicable for facilities)

    • Last 4 Digits of Social Security Number (not applicable for facilities)

    Please have your license number, username/password or PIN, and credit card ready before beginning the online renewal process.

    Continuing Education Requirements

    A. To renew an active nursing license, a licensee shall complete at least one of the following learning activities or courses:

    1. Current specialty certification by a national certifying organization, as defined in 18VAC90-19-10

    2. Completion of a minimum of three credit hours of post-licensure academic education relevant to nursing practice, offered by a regionally accredited college or university

    3. A board-approved refresher course in nursing

    4. Completion of nursing-related, evidence-based practice project or research study

    5. Completion of publication as the author or co-author during a renewal cycle

    6. Teaching or developing a nursing-related course resulting in no less than three semester hours of college credit, a 15-week course, or specialty certification

    7. Teaching or developing nursing-related continuing education courses for up to 30 contact hours

    8. Fifteen contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences, or courses relevant to the practice of nursing and 640 hours of active practice as a nurse or

    9. Thirty contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences, or courses relevant to the practice of nursing

    B. To meet requirements of subdivision A 8 or A 9 of this section, workshops, seminars, conferences, or courses shall be offered by a provider recognized or approved by one of the following:

    1. American Nurses Credentialing Center American Nurses Association

    2. National Council of State Boards of Nursing

    3. Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) in any state in which the AHEC is a member of the National AHEC Organization

    4. Any state nurses association

    5. National League for Nursing

    6. National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service

    7. National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses

    8. A licensed health care facility, agency, or hospital

    9. A health care provider association

    10. Regionally or nationally accredited colleges or universities

    11. A state or federal government agency

    12. The American Heart Association, the American Health and Safety Institute, or the American Red Cross for courses in advanced resuscitation or

    13. The Virginia Board of Nursing or any state board of nursing

    C. Dual licensed persons.

    1. Those persons dually licensed by this board as a registered nurse and a licensed practical nurse shall only meet one of the continued competency requirements as set forth in subsection A of this section.

    2. Registered nurses who also hold an active license as a nurse practitioner shall only meet the requirements of 18VAC90-30-105 and, for those with prescriptive authority, 18VAC90-40-55.

    D. A licensee is exempt from the continued competency requirement for the first renewal following initial licensure by examination or endorsement.

    E. The board may grant an extension for good cause of up to one year for the completion of continuing competency requirements upon written request from the licensee 60 days prior to the renewal date. Such extension shall not relieve the licensee of the continuing competency requirement.

    F. The board may grant an exemption for all or part of the continuing competency requirements due to circumstances beyond the control of the licensee such as temporary disability, mandatory military service, or officially declared disasters.

    G. Continued competency activities or courses required by board order in a disciplinary proceeding shall not be counted as meeting the requirements for licensure renewal.

    Requirements

    Virginia is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). Visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) for more information and a map of current compact states.

    The eNLC has specific licensure requirements referred to as Uniform Licensure Requirements (ULRs). Under the eNLC,to receive a license with multi-state privilege, applicants must meet all ULRs in accordance with Virginia Code § 54.1-3040.3 C. Applicants must attest to having met these requirements at the time of initial application and renewal.

    Whether applying by exam or endorsement, all applicants must meet the Board's nurse education requirements. If they completed an in-state RN education program, the program must be accredited by the Board. Programs conducted outside the state must either meet the board's minimum requirements for an accredited program completed within the state or be accredited by the National League for Nursing.

    The Uniform License Requirements

    An applicant for licensure in a state that is part of the eNLC will need to meet the following uniform licensure requirements:   

    1. Meets the requirements for licensure in the home state (state of residency) 2. a. Has graduated from a board-approved education program or  b. Has graduated from an international education program (approved by the authorized accrediting body in the applicable country and verified by an independent credentials review agency) 3. Has passed an English proficiency examination (applies to graduates of an international education program not taught in English or if English is not the individual’s native language) 4. Has passed an NCLEX-RN® Examination 5. Is eligible for or holds an active, unencumbered license (i.e., without active discipline) 6. Has submitted to state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks  7. Has not been convicted or found guilty or has entered into an agreed disposition of a felony offense under applicable state or federal criminal law 8. Has no misdemeanor convictions related to the practice of nursing (determined on a case-by-case basis)  9. Is not currently a participant in an alternative program 10. Is required to self-disclose current participation in an alternative program  11. Has a valid United States Social Security number

    Those educated in a commission-approved Virginia state nursing education program and applying for initial licensure must:

    • RN/LPN licensure applicants must have a fingerprint-based criminal background check (CBC).

    • Review the Laws and Regulations governing the practice of Nursing.

    • Read the Application Instructions carefully before proceeding with an application

    • NCLEX testing information and registration with Pearson Vue is found on the Pearson VUE website. Note: You must register with Pearson Vue immediately after submitting your license by Examination application with the Board so you can avoid delays in receiving your Authorization to Test (ATT) issued by Pearson Vue.

    FBI Background check and fingerprinting

    Criminal background check

    State and FBI criminal background checks (CBCs) are required for all RN / LPN licensure applications. Under Virginia Code Section 54.1-3005.1. The CBC requirement is only a part of the application process, and applicants must comply with all other application requirements.

    Once you successfully complete the online application process for an RN/LPN license (by exam, endorsement), you are eligible to request a fingerprint-based background check through Fieldprint, the vendor responsible for processing your fingerprints. For RN reinstatement applicants only: paper applications are required.

    You will receive an application confirmation receipt containing important information that you must retain to register to schedule your fingerprinting appointment. This receipt includes a VBON Fieldprint Code.

    Online applicants may also view their VBON Fieldprint Code and application status through their applicant checklist.

    Background check results

    The results should be reported to the VBON within 24-48 hours. However, if an applicant has a criminal history, the actual results may not be available for 30 days or more, depending on the FBI and/or Virginia State Police (VSP).

    Applications with an associated criminal history record will take longer to process since they must be reviewed by the Board or a designated Board staff member (See the VBON Criminal Background Check Process presentation for more details).

    The VBON Criminal Background Check Unit (CBC Unit) will notify applicants by mail or email regarding results that may require additional information.

    For additional information or questions regarding the VBON CBC process, email the VBON CBC Unit at [email protected]

    Fingerprinting process

    Inside Virginia, applicant fingerprints will be done electronically through Live Scan, digital fingerprint image technology, which provides a faster and more accurate collection process, and the cost is $35.95.

    Outside of Virginia, applicants may also be done electronically through Live Scan. Fieldprint has more than 1,200 stationary, electronic Live Scan fingerprinting locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the cost is $38.95. Applicants simply enter their city/state/zip code when registering for fingerprinting and may choose the nearest Fieldprint service location.

    Fieldprint is the exclusive vendor for the VBON and is a nationally recognized service provider. They provide 24/7/365 fingerprint scheduling through their web-based portal and answer questions through their call center.

    Schedule your fingerprint appointment online through Fieldprint’s web portal It includes details for creating a secure account and steps for entering the required information to schedule an appointment for fingerprinting.

    Please remember to retain your VBON Fieldprint Code to complete your fingerprint scheduling registration.

    Contact Information

    Virginia Board of Nursing Department of Health Professions Perimeter Center 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300 Henrico, Virginia 23233-1463 [email protected] (804) 367-4515

    Timing

    While there isn’t an overall timetable for issuing licenses, there are some general timeframes on certain aspects of the Virginia RN licensing process. Applicants applying for licensure by exam will usually receive their authorization to test (ATT) within 2 to 3 weeks, following a legal review. Licenses are issued within 24 to 72 hours of passing the NCLEX. The process for issuing temporary permits to first-time applicants for single state licensure by endorsement generally takes 72 to 96 hours, as long as the applicant has an unencumbered license and all required documentation is in order. Permanent licenses for any applicant type are only issued when all requirements are fulfilled with applications processed on a first-in, first-out basis.

    Fees

    Fees shall be paid by check or money order made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia and forwarded to the board. Online payments shall be paid by debit or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover). All fees are non-refundable.

    Registered Nurse (RN)        $190

    (exam or endorsement)

    Biennial renewal        $140 Plus $50 if late renewal

    Reinstatement            $225 ($300 after suspension or revocation)

    The non-refundable application fee is $190 for registered nurses. The Virginia Board of Nursing sets the fees for licensure and other relevant costs. Prospective nurses must apply and pay for their licenses online with a debit or credit card. All fees are non-refundable. Current application fee and exam fee together: $390

    Applicants also must pay a $200 registration fee to take the NCLEX-RN licensing exam. This fee won’t be refunded for any reason and must be paid by a VISA, MasterCard, or American Express credit, debit, or prepaid card. Should an applicant fail the exam and retake it, another $200 fee applies.

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    Frequently asked questions

    What is the process for an RN from another state to apply for a Virginia License?

    If you have graduated from a state-approved nursing education program and have been licensed by examination in another state within the U.S., you may qualify for licensure by endorsement. What you need to apply

    1. You will need to complete a Criminal Background Check (instructions in the online application)

    2. You will need to request license verification from the original state of licensure (state where you took the NCLEX) (detailed instructions in the online application); .

    3. Proof of your primary state of residence

    4. Please review the Laws and Regulations governing the practice of Nursing in Virginia.

    I just recently had a background check performed for another license. Can I use that background check for my multi-state license?

    No. The background check must be done at the time of the application, and it is the only purpose for which it will be able to be used.

    When are the license renewal periods?

    Renewal is due on May 1st of every odd year.