Frequently Asked Questions
What is the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS)?
NNAS is a partnership of the Canadian nursing regulatory bodies (the exception being Quebec and the Territories). It offers an easy, direct and secure way for internationally
Educated Nurses (IENs) to submit their documents for Canadian nursing registration.
NNAS has a contract with CGFNS International in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Their role is to:
- receive, review and store all documents the Internationally Educated Nurses submit;
- ensure the documents are authentic;
- evaluate the documents against Canadian standards;
- ensure that each nurse's file contains all the documents that the regulatory body requires;
- send the completed file to the regulatory body or bodies, for Canadian nursing registration.
NNAS was created by the Canadian nursing regulatory bodies and the federal and provincial governments. NNAS received start-up funding from the Government of Canada's Foreign Credential Recognition Program.
Who must apply to NNAS?
As an Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) you must set up an account with NNAS before your application will be considered by any Canadian nursing regulatory body if:
- you received your post-secondary nursing education outside of Canada;
- you have never registered to work as a nurse in Canada;
- you want to work as a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) in Canada.
You do not have to set up an account with NNAS if:
- you were previously registered to practise as a nurse in Canada, or
- you successfully completed your nursing education at a Canadian institution.
In these cases, you can apply directly to the nursing regulatory body of your choice.
Can I apply to the regulatory body directly?
No. All IENs who have never been registered to work as a nurse in Canada, must set up an account with NNAS before their application will be considered by any regulatory body.
The Application Process
What are the steps of the application process?
All Internationally Educated Nurses must follow these steps (in order):
- Set up an online account with National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) at www.nnas.ca.
- Complete the online application.
- Pay the required fee.
- Follow the instructions about which documents to submit for verification.
- Once your file is complete, NNAS will evaluate it and provide you with online access to an Advisory Report, which contains the results of the evaluation. NNAS will also send a copy of this report to the relevant regulatory body.
- You can now apply directly to the regulatory body of your choice and pay their application fee. You will be able to do this from your NNAS online account.
NOTE: The regulatory body, not NNAS, will determine if you are eligible to register, or whether you need additional assessments or must take additional courses. It is the regulatory body that will make the final decision about your registration or licensure. You may also have to pay additional fees. Please contact the regulatory body to determine the fees. See Links and Resources.
Customer Care support will be available to you throughout the process. They are explained in the online IEN Applicant Handbook.
How do I edit information in the online application?
If you have not yet submitted your application, you can simply log onto your NNAS account and make changes to your information.
If you have already submitted and paid for your application, you are welcome to edit it yourself at any time before your Advisory Report is issued. Simply log in, click on your application’s blue number on the Dashboard, and go back to the part you need to edit, change the entry and save again.
If you want an entry deleted, you need to contact our toll-free number.
NOTE: Once NNAS issues the Advisory Report, you cannot make any changes to your application.
Can I apply to more than one province or nursing group (i.e. RN, LPN, RPN)?
Yes. Once you open a NNAS account, you can apply to more than one province, or to a different nursing group. Additional fees will apply. See Fee Schedule.
After I submit my online application to NNAS, can I change my original requested province or nursing group to different province or nursing group?
Yes. If your file review has not started, you can contact NNAS to request the change. Please be aware that if you request a change it may take longer to process your application if NNAS requires additional information, documents or proof of education. This may cause your NNAS file to expire, and you may have to pay an extra fee to re-activate it.
How many hours of nursing practice are required for registration?
It varies according to each nursing group and province. The regulatory body determines the number of hours you require.
See Links and Resources.
How long does the application process take?
There are two parts to the application process:
Your application to NNAS could take up to 12 months to complete. This depends on:
When NNAS receives all your required information and acceptable documents.
- When you successfully complete a language proficiency test, if required.
- When your documents are translated, if required.
Your application is active for up to 12 months
Once you receive your Advisory Report, you can apply directly to the regulatory body in your chosen Canadian province to apply for registration to practise. Each regulatory body has its own registration requirements and timelines. These depend on whether you require another assessment or courses to meet their eligibility requirements. It could take another year or more for the regulatory body to make its decision.
How can I find out about the status of my application?
You can go to your NNAS online account anytime to check your application status. You can also call the NNAS Customer Care toll free phone line, and speak with a representative in English or French: (855) 977-1898. If the toll free number is not available in your area please call: +1 (215) 349-9370.
Once you are notified that your Advisory Report is complete, you must then submit an application to the regulatory body in your chosen Canadian province to continue the application process. You can do this from your online account. Any future questions can be directed to the regulatory body.
How long is my application active with NNAS?
Once NNAS receives your Main Application order and fees, your file remains active for up to one year (12 months). If all your required documents have not been received and accepted within one year, your order will expire* and you must purchase a Reactivation Order to ensure that work on your file continues. See Fee Schedule on NNAS website
The Main Application order closes when:
(a) the Advisory Report is issued
(b) the order expires*. The order expires at 12 months old if the file has not become ready for review (all required documents received and acceptable).
Once your main order closes, you can purchase a new Advisory Report for the same or another province / nursing group at the full regular fee.
*If the Main Application order expires, all additional service orders will expire at the same time, regardless of when they were purchased.
What can be appealed?
An appeal may be brought to NNAS by an applicant dissatisfied with the outcome of an assessment performed by NNAS. NNAS has no jurisdiction with respect to appeals made based on decisions taken by individual provincial Regulatory Bodies.
What cannot be appealed?
Any “action” that falls under the following:
(a) Identifying an adverse finding in an NNAS Advisory Report;
(b) Amending in any way that is detrimental to the Applicant, an NNAS Advisory Report after it has already been issued;
(c) Withholding an NNAS Advisory Report;
(d) Revoking an NNAS Advisory Report that has already been issued;
(e) Receiving a referral from NNAS or a Regulatory Body which is a member of NNAS requesting that a right of appeal be granted with regard to an NNAS Advisory Report;
(f) Identifying any other event determined by the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission to be an “Action; or
(g) Receiving a written communication from an Applicant objecting to a material aspect of the contents of an Advisory Report
What is the process for appeals?
The process can be found by clicking here.
What documents should I submit with my application?
You may refer to the online IEN Applicant Handbook for details about the required documents and who must submit them. These documents may vary, depending on each regulatory body.
NNAS will not consider any extra documents that are not required for your evaluation. However, they will forward them to the regulatory body where you apply.
Will I require a language proficiency test?
Based on the information provided in the application form, NNAS will determine which applicants that will require a language test to demonstrate an acceptable level of proficiency in either English or French (depending on where an applicant is applying for registration).
Only the following agencies have been approved by NNAS for testing:
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Only the IELTS Academic test is accepted
- Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses (CELBAN)
- Test d'évaluation du français (TEF)
Click here to view the minimal scores accepted from each of the three tests.
Combined scores from different tests are not acceptable; scores must be obtained from a test taken at the same sitting. The exception is CELBAN where an applicant may take the speaking component separately from the listening, writing and reading components. The oldest of the 2 test dates will be used to determine the validity of the test. Please refer to The CELBAN Centre for information on partial tests.
Only language test scores forwarded directly to NNAS from the testing agency will be accepted. The date of your language test scores must be no older than 6 months prior to the date of your Main Application order, and will be valid for 2 years.
Can I submit any documents directly to NNAS?
You may submit these documents directly to NNAS:
- Notarized, certified true copies of current identification documents, such as:
- driver’s license,
- marriage certificate or other name change affidavit to document a name change,
- other government issued identification
These documents must be sent directly from the issuing authority to NNAS:
- Academic records and transcripts
- License and registration documents - registration validation
- Employer verification of your work history
If the issuing source no longer exists, you must ask the organization that is authorized to store their documents to forward them directly to NNAS.
You may refer to the online IEN Applicant Handbook for specific details.
I took a "non-health care" degree program before my nursing course. Should I send in my transcript to NNAS?
No. NNAS will not accept transcripts for non-health care courses or degrees.
Can I send in photocopies of my transcripts or licenses to NNAS?
No. The information must be sent directly to NNAS from the schools, licensing authorities or the organization authorized to store the documents.
What should I do if the school or agency that issued my license has closed or no longer exists?
First, find out if another organization, such as the Ministry of Health or a provincial licensing authority in your country now has the responsibility for your school records. If you cannot find this information, contact NNAS Customer Care.
If you are a refugee, or if there has been a war or a natural disaster in your country, it may be difficult to obtain your records. Contact NNAS Customer Care.
What should I do if my school no longer has my transcripts?
You should find out if there is another organization, such as the Ministry of Health or a national or provincial licensing authority in your country that has your school's records. If you cannot find this information, contact NNAS Customer Care.
If you are a refugee, or if there has been a war or a natural disaster in your country, it may be difficult to obtain your records. If this is the case, please contact NNAS Customer Care.
What should I do if my documents are not in English or French?
All documents must be translated into English or French (depending on the regulatory body you choose). The translations must be done by an official translation service. You are responsible for all translation costs. You may refer to the online IEN Applicant Handbook for more details.
Will my documents be returned to me?
No. All documents submitted become the property of NNAS.
Note: Please do not submit any original documents, such as passport, driver's license, marriage certificates or diplomas.
When I originally applied online to NNAS, I used my maiden name. Now I am married. How can I change my name in my NNAS file?
No. You cannot change your name online. You must send a letter to NNAS at Post Office Box 8658, Philadelphia, PA 19101-8658, USA or 3600 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA and include the following:
- your maiden name on your NNAS application
- your married name, with a notarized, certified, true copy of your marriage certificate
- any divorce decree, if applicable
- any other legal name change documents, if applicable
- your signature.
NNAS will accept only notarized, certified true copies of all identity documents. All notarized copies must include the date of notarization and the signature of the Notary Public. You may refer to the online IEN Applicant Handbook for more details.
How will I know when NNAS has received all the required documents from my schools and licensing authorities?
Each time NNAS receives a document, your application status on your online account will be updated. If additional information is needed, you will be notified by email. (See IEN Applicant Handbook).
Does NNAS accept faxes?
No. Certified documents must be sent by mail to Post Office Box 8658, Philadelphia, PA 19101-8658, USA or by courier at 3600 Market Street Suite 400, Philadelphia PA 19104-2651, USA.
You can send correspondence by email, mail or courier.
The Advisory Report
What is included in the NNAS Advisory Report?
It contains the following:
- an evaluation of your education, according to Canadian nursing entrance to practise requirements and standards;
- background information about your schools, and dates you attended;
- verifications of your license/registration and credential sources;
- your employment history. (pages 5-7 in the IEN Applicant Handbook)
How long does it take to get an Advisory Report?
NNAS issues the report approximately two months after your file is complete. A file is complete when these documents have been sent to NNAS:
- your application;
- any required fees;
- all required documents (see IEN Applicant Handbook);
- any document translations, if applicable;
- any language proficiency test results, if applicable.
Will I receive a copy of the Advisory Report?
Yes. NNAS will notify you by email when the Advisory Report is issued. Then you can go to your online NNAS account to view and print a copy of your Report.
What are the next steps after the Advisory Report is issued?
- You can go online to your NNAS account and apply for registration/licensure at the regulatory body you have chosen. You must complete this step first, before your application continues.
- Once the regulatory body receives your application and fees, NNAS will send your file and Advisory Report to them.
- You must then contact the regulatory body, to complete the application process.
- The regulatory body will let you know if you are eligible to write the registration examination, or whether you require additional courses or documents.
Note: Advisory Reports can only be sent by NNAS to Canadian regulatory bodies.
How long is an Advisory Report valid?
The Advisory Report will remain in your NNAS online account for one year from the date it is issued. The regulatory body will determine how long the Report is valid, but it is usually two years.
Can I request a copy of an Advisory Report after one year?
Yes. Your Advisory Report is available for download from your online account for one year. After that, the report is available as a read-only document.
You can submit a request to NNAS for a copy of the report. You will have to pay a fee, and it will be mailed to you. See Fee Schedule on NNAS website.
How can I change where my NNAS Advisory Report is sent?
If you want to change provinces, you need to contact NNAS directly.
Once your application is in the final review process however, a change to where the report is sent cannot be made.
Note: If you want your report to go to more than one regulatory body, you will have to request this option through your online NNAS account by selecting “Add Province” and pay an additional fee. See Fee Schedule on NNAS website.
What happens if I need my Advisory Report at a later time, for another nursing regulatory body?
You can submit a request through your NNAS online account for a re-evaluation of your documents. You will have to pay a fee. See Fee Schedule on NNAS website. (Re-activation button on website)
In most cases, you will not have to re-submit your information and documents, unless the regulatory body has additional requirements, or you change nursing groups.
How much does the application cost?
The cost depends on the services that are required to process your application: See Fee Schedule on NNAS website
Once your Advisory Report is issued, and you submit your formal application to the regulatory body, you must pay any fees that the regulatory body requires. Contact the regulatory body to determine the fees you must pay. See Links and Resources.
What is NNAS' refund policy? Can I get a refund if I decide to cancel my application?
NNAS has a no refund policy.
How do I contact NNAS?
You will be able to view the status of your application any time of day or night by logging into your NNAS account and viewing the status. You can also use the Contact Us page available from the NNAS application website or in your NNAS application (see IEN Applicant Handbook).
I have a question about my application. Do I contact NNAS or the regulatory body?
Until you are notified that your Advisory Report is complete, you must contact NNAS with all questions and communication about your application.
After that, once your Advisory Report is complete and you have applied to the regulatory body, you should communicate directly with them. See Links and Resources.
Can I make an appointment to see someone about my application?
You can contact NNAS through any of the ways listed on the Contact Us page available on the website.
Once your file and Advisory Report are complete, you may contact the regulatory body directly to make an appointment to discuss your application.
How can I appeal a decision made by NNAS about my application?
You must submit a written request for an appeal to NNAS who will review your case and send you written response.