West Virginia RN Licensing Guide

  • Compact State
  • Participates in NURSYS
  • Renewal every year

Overview

The West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses was renamed the West Virginia Registered Nurses Board (WV RN Board), effective July 1, 2022. The Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate appoints members to the seven-member board. The WV RN Board is also sometimes referred to as the West Virginia Board of Registered Nurses. The Board acts as the licensing agency for registered nurses in West Virginia and establishes the procedures for submitting, approving, and rejecting applications for RN licensure and license renewal in the state. Nearly 35,000 RNs held West Virginia nursing licenses in May 2022.

About

All communications to and from the Board must take place through the online WV RN Nurse Portal Message Center. Applicants must create a Nurse Portal account to access electronic forms, apply online for their West Virginia nursing license, and send and receive messages. Individuals with a West Virginia RN license application in progress need to check their Message Center periodically to see if they need to follow up with the Board.

Renewal

All RN licenses expire on October 31 every year. West Virginia RN license renewal applications are available on the Nurse Portal. The renewal period begins September 1 and any license not renewed by October 31 will lapse and require an additional fee to reactivate.

The WV RN Board reviews each applicant’s West Virginia RN license renewal application after receiving:

  • Completed application for renewal of RN license

  • Submission of any additional documents requested by the Board

  • Verification of meeting the continuing education requirements

  • Fee for renewal

Continuing Education Requirements

RNs are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education (CE) during each annual renewal period. These hours must include:

The WV RN Board accepts RN CE hours provided by Board-approved CE providers. Examples include:

  • National advanced practice registered nurse certification bodies (American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Midwifery Certification Board, American Nurses Credentialing Center, National Certification Corporation, and Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, etc.)

  • National and state nurse associations (American Nurses Association, West Virginia Nurses Association, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, etc.) 

  • Any State Board of Nursing in the U.S.

The Board performs audits to verify CE education compliance. Keep all CE certificates of completion from CE activities. CE Broker is the official CE tracking system of the WV RN Board. The Board provides RNs with a free Basic Account. Licensees must activate their West Virginia RN Board CE Broker Basic Account to enter and track their CE license renewal requirements. Licensees can also find continuing education resources through CE broker and other online sources.

Requirements

Fingerprinting Requirements

Applicants for a West Virginia nursing license must submit fingerprints for fingerprint-based state and federal criminal background checks (CBC). All state and federal background checks are now electronic. IdentoGO is the exclusive Live Scan provider for fingerprint-based CBCs in the State of West Virginia. Applicants may submit CBC information to the Board up to 12 months before graduating from their nursing education program.

Instructions for Live Scan Fingerprinting

In-state and out-of-state residents can submit fingerprints electronically at their nearest IdentoGO location.

It takes 2 to 3 business days for the WV RN Board to receive CBC results. Applicants should direct all questions regarding the fingerprinting process to IdentoGO at 855-766-7746. However, they should contact the WV RN Board directly at [email protected] or 304-744-0900 if their fingerprint submissions from IdentoGO are rejected twice.

Instructions for Fingerprint Card by Mail

Any in-state or out-of-state residents who are physically unable to go to an IdentoGO location must submit a fingerprint hard card by mail. Hard cards are used to submit and process fingerprints. Applicants only need a hard if they’re unable to schedule an appointment.

  • Have fingerprints captured on a standard FBI Form FD-258 fingerprint card

  • Complete personal information fields on the fingerprint card

  • Pre-enroll for card scan submission at IdentoGO online

  • Enter Service Code: 228NJX

  • Click on “Submit a Fingerprint Card by Mail”

  • Pay for services with a credit card or authorization code

  • Print and sign completed pre-enrollment confirmation page

  • Mail confirmation page and completed fingerprint card as directed

Out-of-State Residents

Applicants living in any state besides West Virginia also must submit a state background check from their state of residency.

  • Go to the appropriate agency within the state to submit fingerprints

  • Have results sent directly to the Board

    • Applicant may send results to the Board in the sealed envelope immediately upon receipt if the agency can’t send them directly to the Board

    • State-level background check results can’t be sent as an attachment through email, via fax, or from a third-party organization

Special Instructions for Pennsylvania Residents

  • Pennsylvania residents may submit a background record check request using the

    EPATCH service

  • Send the Control Number, Full Name and Date of Request by email to

    [email protected]

  • DO NOT upload the results to the Nurse Portal or send via email

Contact Information

West Virginia RN Board
5001 MacCorkle Avenue Southwest
South Charleston, WV 25309
[email protected]
(304) 744-0900 / (877) 743-6877

Multistate

The Governor of West Virginia signed the bill to enact the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) on April 26, 2017. West Virginia wasn’t part of the original NLC so it’s the first time nurses in the state have the opportunity to apply for a multistate license that allows them practice in any Compact State without further licensure, if they qualify. The WV RN Board began processing multistate license conversion applications on January 19, 2018.

To qualify for a multistate license must meet the Uniform Licensure Requirements. Applicants for a West Virginia multistate license must meet the following criteria:

  • Declare West Virginia as their Primary State of Residency

  • Have a valid U.S. Social Security Number

  • Graduate from a Board-approved education program

  • Pass an English proficiency exam, if they graduated from an international education program

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

  • Be eligible for or hold an unencumbered license

  • Submit to fingerprint-based State and Federal criminal background checks

  • Not have any State or Federal felony convictions

  • Not have any misdemeanor convictions related to nursing

  • Not be currently in an alternative program

  • Disclose current participation in an alternative program

RNs who already hold an active unencumbered West Virginia nursing license whose primary state of residence is West Virginia who haven’t converted their single-state license to a multistate license should complete the conversion application process if they meet eligibility requirements. Conversion applicants must:

  • Apply online through the Nurse Portal

  • Pay the conversion fee

  • Schedule an appointment to submit fingerprints for fingerprint-based state and federal criminal background checks

    • Fingerprinting and CBCs are required even if the applicant previously completed this process for their single-state license

The WV RN Board reviews applications and CBC results. It issues multistate licenses to eligible applicants. It notifies applicants who are denied multistate licenses with the reason(s) why they were denied.

Licensure by Endorsement

Applicants who already hold an active RN license in another State may apply for West Virginia licensure by endorsement. However, if they're license is from a Compact State and they multistate privileges, they don't need to apply for licensure. They practice under their Compact license. Otherwise, an applicant must:

  • Complete an online application through the Nurse Portal

  • Complete an online application for a temporary permit, if desired

  • Pay the associated application fee(s)

  • Verify original licensure and current licensure from another state

  • Use Nursys for States that participate

  • Complete the Nursing Endorsement Verification Form for States that don't participate

  • Complete fingerprinting for fingerprint-based State and federal CBCs

  • Complete fingerprinting for state-level CBCs in current state of residence

  • Submit supporting documentation if any discipline-related questions were answered "yes" on the application

Licensure by Exam

Graduate nurses may be eligible for a West Virginia RN license by exam. This license may be a single-state or a multistate licensed based on whether they meet the Uniform Licensure Requirements. All applicants must:

  • Be least aged 18

  • Have completed an approved four-year high school course of study or the equivalent

  • Complete a nursing education program

  • Pass the NCLEX-RN

  • Complete an online application through the Nurse Portal 45 days before they want to take the NCLEX-RN

  • Pay the associated application fee

  • Complete fingerprinting for fingerprint-based State and federal CBCs

  • Submit supporting documentation if any discipline-related questions were answered "yes" on the application

  • Submit official transcripts for initial RN licensure

    • The Board accepts official electronic transcripts if emailed directly from the educational institution or a transcript service, such as Parchment.com, SCRIP-SAFE International or the National Student Clearinghouse

    • Official transcripts must include program name and type, breakdown of courses with credit hours and grades, beginning and ending dates of program, graduation date, and degree conferred

    • Hardcopy transcripts must be sent directly from the educational institution in a sealed envelope

  • Register with Pearson VUE 45 days before they want to take the NCLEX-RN and pay testing fee

Once their made eligible to take the NCLEX, they receive their Authorization to Text and can schedule their exam. The ATT is only good for 90 days and won’t be extended. Applicants who fail the NCLEX-RN more than twice must complete specific Board requirements before attempting the exam a third time. Documentation of having met the additional requirements must be sent directly to the Board office by the instructor leading any remedial coursework.

Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

Applicants educated outside the United States its territories must:

  • Have completed an approved four-year high school course of study or the equivalent

  • Submit a copy of the certificate issued by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)

  • Submit a copy of the transcript from a professional nursing education program,

  • translated into English

  • Submit documentation of English language proficiency through:

    • Proof the nursing education, textbooks, and most of the clinical experiences were in English

    • Original report showing a minimum score of 530 for the written exam or 200 for the computer exam on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) plus a score a minimum score of 50 on the Test of Spoken English

    • Original report showing a minimum score of 700 on the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) plus a minimum score of 50 on the Test of Spoken English

    • A VisaScreen ICHP Certificate

  • Submit to a state and a national electronic criminal history records check

  • Submit a completed nurse licensure application 45 days before they want to take the NCLEX-RN

  • Pay required fees for licensure by exam

  • Register with Pearson VUE 45 days before they want to take the NCLEX-RN and pay testing fee

Once their made eligible to take the NCLEX, they receive their Authorization to Text and can schedule their exam. The ATT is only good for 90 days and won’t be extended. Applicants who fail the NCLEX-RN more than twice must complete specific Board requirements before attempting the exam a third time. Documentation of having met the additional requirements must be sent directly to the Board office by the instructor leading any remedial coursework.

Timing

The WN RN Board doesn’t provide an overall timeframe for receiving licensure after submitting an application. However, the Board may issue a temporary permit that’s valid for up to 90 days from the date of applicant’s graduation intended to cover the time between graduation and notification of the results of the first NCLEX-RN.

Temporary Nurse License

The Board may issue a temporary permit to an applicant for licensure by endorsement after they’ve completed an application for a temporary permit for an endorsement applicant and submitted the required fees. Temporary permits for endorsement candidates expire 90 days from the date of issuance, which is printed on the card. Temporary permits aren’t renewable and won’t be extended. Temporary permits expire immediately if the Board determines the applicant for endorsement won’t be granted permanent licensure.

The Board may issue a temporary permit to an applicant for licensure by exam who’s a graduate of an accredited nursing education program that’s valid for up to 90 days from the date of graduation to cover the period between graduation and receiving the results of the applicant’s first NCLEX-RN. Graduate nurses holding a temporary permit must work under the direct supervision of a licensed RN, APRN, physician, or dentist while rendering nursing care. Temporary permits aren’t renewable and won’t be issued to applicants for licensure by exam who have already failed the NCLEX-RN once.

Fees

The West Virginia RN Board establishes the fees for RN licensure and other relevant costs. Besides these set fees, there may be a small additional transaction fee for online applications. All fees are nonrefundable. Current RN licensure fees and other related costs include:

  • Licensure by Exam: $70

  • Licensure by Endorsement: $100

  • Licensure by Endorsement With Temporary Permit: $125

  • Endorsement Licensure With 90-Day Permit Only: $25

  • West Virginia RN License Renewal: $67

  • Conversion From Single-State to Multistate: $7

  • Reinstatement From Lapsed Status: $115

  • Reinstatement From Inactive Status: $25

  • Duplicate License: $10

  • Name Change: $10

  • Transcript Photocopy: $5

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

Recent Updates

License Fee Waiver

Effective June 6, 2019, a new law requires the West Virginia Board of Registered Nurses to waive initial licensing fees for low-income individuals and military families.

The waiver doesn't apply to nurses renewing existing licenses or those seeking an educational permit from the Board.

The new law defines low-income individuals as those with household adjusted gross incomes below 130% of the federal poverty level. Low-income waivers also apply to anyone enrolled in a state or federal public assistance program, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The new law defines a military family as anyone who serves as an active member of the armed forces of the United States, the National Guard, or a reserve component, honorably discharged veterans of those forces and their spouses. The waiver also applies to surviving spouses of deceased service members who haven't remarried.

Qualifying individuals must complete a Low Income Initial Licensure Fee Waiver Application or Military Family Initial Licensure Fee Waiver Application. Email completed forms any other required documentation to [email protected] or mail to:

State of West Virginia
Board of Registered Nurses
5001 MacCorkle Avenue Southwest
South Charleston, WV 25309

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Frequently asked questions

Do I need to complete a new background check and obtain fingerprints if I am applying to convert my WV single state license to a multistate license since I previously completed fingerprints with my background check for my single-state license?

Yes, applicants for conversion must submit fingerprints for a new criminal background check.

Can I use the background check I recently completed for another license for my multistate license?

No. A new background check must be done at the time of the application and it may only be used for that one purpose.

If I live in a neighboring state who is a member of the Compact and work in West Virginia, do I need to keep my single-state West Virginia RN license?

If you have a multistate license in your home state, your West Virginia license will automatically be deactivated and you'll work in West Virginia on your multistate license. If you have a single-state license in your home state, you must keep your single-state license in West Virginia to continue practicing in the state.

If I obtain a West Virginia multistate license and then move to another state, what happens?

If West Virginia is no longer your Primary State of Residence, then your multistate license will be automatically downgraded to a single-state license. If you're working in another state, you must obtain licensure for that state. Check with the Nursing Board of your new home state and your employment state(s) to determine what kind of licensure you need.

How will I know if my multistate license has been issued? Can I check the status of my application?

Yes. You can check the status of your pending application on the Registered Professional Nurses License Verification Portal. The verification page will indicate whether your license is single-state or multistate. You should also receive a new license card in the mail.

When will my multistate license I just applied for go into effect?

Multistate licenses are approved and issued as documentation and background checks are received. If your employment situation depends on your multistate license being issued quickly, email the Board at [email protected] and we'll attempt to accommodate your situation. Please check the License Verification Portal to see if your multistate has been issued.

When are the West Virginia RN license renewal periods?

All currently active West Virginia RN licenses expire on October 31 of each year. The renewal period begins September 1 and ends October 31. You must renew your license by October 31 or your RN license will lapse.