• Licenses
  • Virginia RN Licensing Guide

    • 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 (DHP). It processes Virginia nursing licenses and Virginia RN license 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

    Nurse licensure candidates applying for their initial Virginia nursing license by endorsement or exam must apply online. Applications for licensure as a registered nurse by endorsement or examination are now exclusively accepted online. If the applicant hasn't already registered online, they must click on the Register a Person link to create a new account.

    Current licensees must renew online from a separate portal. This portal may be used for Virginia RN license renewals and to update a licensee's address of record, request duplicate licenses, and provide emergency contact information.

    Former licensees seeking to reinstate their Virginia RN license must apply using a paper application that's sent to VBON. They can't apply for reinstatement online.

    Applicants who submit applications for RN licensure in Virginia who don't complete their applications within one year of the submission date must submit a new application and fee.

    Renewal

    Virginia RN license holders born in even-numbered years must renew their licenses by the last day of their birth month in even-numbered years. RNs born in odd-numbered years must renew their licenses by the last day of their birth month in odd-numbered years. Licensees may submit their Virginia RN license renewal online through the Virginia DHP Online Licensing portal and pay their renewal fee using a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit or debit card.

    The Virginia DHP sends out Virginia RN License Renewal Notices approximately 60 days before each nurse's license expires. It includes an online renewal Personal Identification Number (PIN) with each notice. Licensees must have their username and password or this PIN to renew through the website. Nurses who've lost their username and password or haven't received a PIN may email the Agency's Call Center. They must provide their:

    • Full Name

    • 10-digit Virginia License Number

    • Date of Birth

    • Last 4 Digits of Social Security Number

    Once an RN completes the online renewal process, they receive a receipt page that confirms they completed the process. Nurses should print this page for their records. Most Virginia RN licenses renew within a half hour of completing the renewal payment. Licensees may check their license status through the online License Lookup. Continuing Education Requirements

    To renew an active nursing license, licensees must fulfill continuing competency requirements. To meet these requirements, they must complete at least one of the following:

    • Specialty certification by a national certifying organization

    • At least three credit hours of post-licensure education relevant to nursing at a regionally accredited college/university

    • VBON-approved nursing refresher course

    • Nursing-related, evidence-based practice project or research study

    • Publication as the author or co-author during a renewal cycle

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

    • Teaching/developing nursing-related continuing education courses up to 30 contact hours

    • 15 continuing education contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences, or courses relevant to nursing and 640 hours of active practice as a nurse

    • 30 continuing education contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences, or courses relevant to nursing

    To meet the requirements of continuing education contact hours, all workshops, seminars, conferences, or courses must be offered by a provider recognized or approved by one of the following:

    • The Virginia Board of Nursing or any State Board of Nursing

    • Any state nurses association

    • American Nurses Credentialing Center American Nurses Association

    • National Council of State Boards of Nursing

    • National League for Nursing

    • Area Health Education Centers in any state the AHEC is a member of the National AHEC Organization

    • National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service

    • National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses

    • A licensed healthcare facility, agency, or hospital

    • A healthcare provider association

    • Regionally or nationally accredited colleges or universities

    • A state or federal government agency

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

    RNs are exempt from the continued competency requirements for the first renewal following initial licensure by examination or endorsement. VBON may grant an extension of up to on year for the completion of continuing competency requirements upon written request of the RN at least 60 days before their renewal date for good cause. However, this extension doesn't relieve them of completing their continuing competency requirements. VBON may also grant an exemption for all or part of the continuing competency requirements due to circumstances beyond the RN's control, such as officially declared disasters, mandatory military services, or temporary disability.

    All licensees are required to maintain original documentation of completion of continued competency for a period of two years following renewal and to provide such documentation within 30 days of a request from the VBON for proof of compliance.

    Requirements

    Fingerprinting Requirements

    VBON requires all applicants for a Virginia nursing license to submit fingerprints and personal descriptive information for a state and federal criminal background check (CBC). Once VBON receives the nurse licensure candidate's application for a Virginia RN license by endorsement, exam, or reinstatement, it sends the candidate a notification letter with instructions for contacting Fieldprint Virginia, the vendor responsible for processing applicants' fingerprints.

    This notification includes a VBON Fieldprint Code required to complete the fingerprinting process. Applicants who applied online can also view their VBON Fieldprint Code and application status on their applicant checklist.

    Applicants Inside Virginia

    Fieldprint collects fingerprints electronically through Live Scan for faster, more accurate collection. The cost is $35.95. Applicants must:

    • Schedule fingerprinting appointment online at Fieldprint

    • Retain your VBON Fieldprint Code to complete fingerprint scheduling registration

    • Bring two forms of ID, including one valid government-issued photo ID to the fingerprinting appointment, and the appointment number provided on the confirmation receipt to the fingerprinting appointment

    • Contact the Fieldprint call center at (877) 614-4364 for questions about the fingerprinting process

    Applicants Outside Virginia

    Out-of-state applicants also may complete fingerprinting electronically through Live Scan at one of Fieldprint's 1,200-plus stationary Live Scan fingerprinting locations throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The cost is $38.95. Applicants must:

    • Enter address or zip code where they're located when registering for fingerprinting

    • Find and choose the nearest Fieldprint service location

    • Schedule fingerprinting appointment online

    • Retain your VBON Fieldprint Code to complete fingerprint scheduling registration

    • Bring two forms of ID, including one valid government-issued photo ID to the fingerprinting appointment, and the appointment number provided on the confirmation receipt to the fingerprinting appointment

    • Contact the Fieldprint call center at (877) 614-4364 for questions about the fingerprinting process

    Fieldprint transmits fingerprints electronically to the Virginia State Police (VSP) Central Criminal Records Exchange (CCRE) using Live Scan to obtain State and FBI criminal history records. VBON should receive the CBC results within 24 to 48 hours, but it can take 30 days or more if the applicant has a criminal history.

    Once VBON receives an applicant's CBC results, it reviews the results to determine eligibility for licensure. Board review of these results can vary based on whether there are any convictions that could cause denial of the application. The VBON Criminal Background Check Process presentation provides further details of the review process.

    The VBON Criminal Background Check Unit notifies applicants by mail or email if it requires additional information based on CBC results. For additional information or questions about the VBON CBC process, email the VBON CBC Unit at [email protected].

    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

    Multistate

    Virginia joined the original Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) on January 1, 2005, then it withdrew and joined the Enhanced NLC on January 19, 2018. Nurses who held an original NLC multistate license in Virginia were grandfathered into the eNLC and won't have any further requirements unless they move to another state. New applicants wanting a Virginia Compact license with multistate privileges must meet the Uniform Licensure Requirements. Under these ULRs, they must:

    • Meet all Virginia nursing licensure requirements

    • Have a valid U.S. Social Security number

    • Graduate from a VBON-approved nursing education program

    • Pass an English proficiency test if English isn’t the applicant’s native language

    • Pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) or predecessor exam

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

    • Submit fingerprints for state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks

    • Not have any federal felony convictions

    • Not have any misdemeanor convictions related to nursing

    • Not be currently participating in an alternative program

    • Self-disclose participation in an alternative program

    Applicants must attest that they meet all these requirements during their initial application for Virginia RN licensure and each time they apply for Virginia RN license renewal. RNs living in a Compact state holding a license with multistate privileges may practice in any other Compact state without further licensure required.

    To obtain a Compact license with multistate privileges in Virginia, applicants must declare Virginia as their Primary State of Residence (PSOR). A PSOR is the applicant's declared fixed permanent and principal home or domicile for legal purposes. They may be required to provide proof of their PSOR to VBON by submitting one of the following:

    • Current Virginia State Driver’s License

    • Voter Registration Card

    • Federal Income Tax Return

    • Military Form #2058 (active duty military personnel only)

    • U.S. Government-Issued W2

    Nurses must practice according to the laws and regulations of each state in which the nurse practices or provides care. The practice state is the state in which the patient is physically located when providing physical or electronic care.

    Applicants who don't meet all the ULRs and reside in Virginia may be eligible for a single-state license by exam. Applicants who reside in a non-compact state also may be eligible for a single-state license by endorsement. Single-state licenses authorize holders to practice in Virginia only. If they wish to practice in another state, they must follow that state's nurse licensure rules.

    Licensure by Endorsement

    Applicants who hold an active nursing license in another state that's not part of the NLC or lives in a Compact state but doesn't hold a Compact license with multistate privileges may apply for a Virginia RN license by endorsement. To apply for endorsement, nurses must:

    • Submit an application online or by mail

    • Pay the application fee by credit/debit card if applying online or with a check or money order made out to the Treasurer of Virginia is applying by mail

      • Applications submitted without payment won't be reviewed

    • Complete fingerprint-based Criminal Background Check

    • Request License Verification from the original state of licensure where they applicant took their nurse licensure exam and was granted an initial license

      • Use the online Nursys system for verifications in state that use this system

      • Request the State Board of Nursing to send license verification directly to VBON for those states that don't participate in Nursys

    • Submit Clinical Hours Form completed by nursing employer(s)

      • Only required if the applicant graduated from a RN education program with less than 500 clinical hours

      • Must include evidence of 960 hours of clinical practice and an active, unencumbered RN license from another U.S. jurisdiction

    Applicants holding a Compact license with multistate privileges from another state doesn't need to apply for an endorsement. They may practice under the Compact license. However, if the applicant is permanently moving to Virginia, they still practice under their previous Compact license but only until they complete the licensure process to earn their Virginia Compact nursing license.

    Licensure by Exam

    Graduate nurses who haven't been taken the NCLEX-RN or held a license must apply for a Virginia RN license by exam. If the applicant's PSOR is a Compact state other than Virginia, they must apply for licensure in their PSOR. RN applicants must have completed at least 500 direct patient care hours across the lifespan during their nursing education program. To apply for licensure by exam, they must:

    • Review the Laws and Regulations governing the practice of nursing

    • Submit an application online or by mail

    • Pay the application fee by credit/debit card if applying online or with a check or money order made out to the Treasurer of Virginia is applying by mail

      • Applications submitted without payment won't be reviewed

    • Complete fingerprint-based Criminal Background Check

    • Submit Attestation of Graduation letter or Final Transcript

      • Only graduates of Virginia nursing programs may ask their program director to submit an Attestation directly to VBON

      • Attestations must be mailed or emailed directly from the nursing program

      • Emailed submission must include "Applicant’s Name: Attestation Letter" in the subject line

      • Applicants whose nursing program sends an Attestation should NOT send final official transcripts

      • Applicants who completed a nursing program outside Virginia must submit final official transcripts

      • Transcripts must contain evidence of the actual direct patient care clinical hours broken down for each course

      • Transcripts must be mailed or emailed directly from the nursing program

      • Emailed submission must include "Applicant’s Name: Official Transcript" in the subject line

    • Complete a separate application with Pearson VUE to register for the NCLEX-RN online or by phone at 1-866-496-2539

      • Register with Pearson VUE immediately after filing the VBON application to prevent delay of Authorization to Test (ATT)

      • The $200 NCLEX exam fee must be paid directly to Pearson VUE each time an applicant attempts the exam

    Once VBON makes an applicant eligible to take the NCLEX, Pearson VUE emails the applicant their ATT and they schedule their exam. Applicants who pass the NCLEX-RN receive their permanent Virginia RN license. Those who fail must submit an Application to Repeat the Exam with VBON and re-register with Pearson VUE. Applicant's whose PSOR is Virginia and who meet all ULRs will be granted a license with multistate privileges that allow them to practice in other Compact states. Applicants who don't qualify for a multistate license may still be issued a single-state license to practice in Virginia only.

    Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

    Virginia nursing license applicants educated outside the United States (except Canada) may apply for licensure by endorsement if they've held an RN license in another U.S. state or territory. Applicants who were educated outside the U.S. but have never held a license must apply for licensure by exam. Foreign-educated nurses must complete the same licensure steps as those educated in the U.S. and complete a verification of qualifications.

    Endorsement Candidates

    Must provide their identification/certificate number issued by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). For endorsement applicants only, VBON accepts the CGFNS CES Professional Report, ICHP Visa Screen or Certification Program. Exam Candidates

    Exam licensure applicants must request a Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) Professional Report or CGFNS Certification from CGFNS be sent to the VBON.

    Candidates From a U.S. Territory

    Applicants educated in a U.S. territory should request their school include evidence of the language used in the nursing program instruction and textbooks. If the language wasn't English, the applicant must submit an English Proficiency score report from an approved test center. Approved English Proficiency test centers may be found at:

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

    • Educational Testing Services (ETS)

    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

    Timing

    The entire Virginia RN license application process takes between 30 to 45 business days to complete.

    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.

    VBON receives the results of CBC within 24 to 48 hours. The time required for a Board review of these results varies based on whether there are any convictions that could cause denial of the application.

    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.

    Temporary Nurse License

    Endorsement Candidates

    RNs licensed in another state who doesn't currently have multistate privileges applying for licensure by endorsement and intends to work in Virginia pending licensure may request an Authorization to Practice Letter (ATP). To qualify, applicant must:

    • Submit their application for endorsement and application fee

    • Not have indicated they had any conviction or discipline history on their application

    • Submitted fingerprints for a criminal history background check

    • Submit request to appropriate credentialing agency for verification of licensure

    • Email request for ATP to [email protected] with "Endorsement Applicant: Request ATP letter" in the subject line

    • Attach copies of Nursys license verification receipt and/or current license

    • Attach copies of Fieldprint fingerprinting appointment confirmation receipt

    If eligible, VBON emails ATP letters within 1 to 2 business days from the request receipt. ATP letters are initially effective for 30 days from the date VBON received the candidate's application. If an applicant doesn't receive their permanent Virginia RN license within this 30-day period, they may seek an extension by submitting a request and evidence they've requested verification of licensure.

    Exam Candidates

    Graduate nurses who've filed a completed application for licensure by exam in Virginia may receive an ATP letter from VBON to practice nursing for up to 90 days. The 90-day period runs from the date the applicant completed their nursing education program, as documented on the applicant's transcript or attestation letter, to the publication date of the candidates results from their first NCLEX-RN. Candidates who've previously failed the NCLED aren't eligible for an ATP letter.

    Employers may verify ATPs at Virginia Board of Nursing - Temporary Authorization List.  

    Fees

    The Virginia Board of Nursing sets fees for nurse licensure. All fees are non-refundable. Fees may be paid by check or money order made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia and mailed to VBON. When paying online payments applicants may use Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit or debit cards. Current fees for RN licensure and related costs include:

    • Licensure by Exam/Endorsement: $190

    • Application to Repeat NCLEX Exam: $50

    • NCLEX-RN (Paid to Pearson VUE): $200 per attempt

    • Fingerprinting Inside Virginia (Paid to Fieldprint): $35.95

    • Fingerprinting Outside Virginia (Paid to Fieldprint): $38.95

    • Biennial Virginia RN License Renewal: $140

    • Late License Renewal: $50 + $140 License Renewal

    • Biennial Inactive Licensure Renewal: $70

    • Late Inactive License Renewal: $25

    • Reinstatement of Lapsed License: $225

    • Reinstatement of Revoked or Suspended License: $300

    • Duplicate License: $15

    • Duplicate Wall Certificate: $25

    • Verification of License: $35

    • Returned Check or Dishonored Credit/Debit Card: $50

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    Frequently asked questions

    What are the licensure periods for Virginia RN licenses?

    Registered nurses must submit their Virginia RN license renewal every two years. RNs born in even-numbered years must renew their licenses by the last day of their birth month in even-numbered years. RNs born in odd-numbered years must renew their licenses by the last day of their birth month in odd-numbered years. RNs must renew online and pay with a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit or debit card.

    Do I have to submit documentation of continued competency with my Virginia RN license renewal?

    No, but you must maintain documentation in the format of your choice and be prepared to submit this documentation within 30 days of the date VBON requests you to submit it.

    Who's required by VBON to complete a criminal background check?

    All registered nurse applicants seeking initial licensure by endorsement, exam, or reinstatement are required to obtain a criminal background check in Virginia.

    I currently have a multistate license and will be practicing in Virginia but won't be declaring Virginia my Primary State of Residence; do I need to complete a criminal background check?

    No, RNs licensed by a Compact state with multistate license privileges aren't required to apply for licensure in another Compact state. If you aren't required to submit an application for RN licensure in Virginia, the CBC requirement doesn't apply to you.