License Requirements: RN & LPN

General Requirements | Fees | Partial Refunds | Moral Character Requirements | Education Requirements | Examination Requirements | Limited Permits | Nurses Licensed in Another State

General Requirements

In order to provide nursing services as a registered professional nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in New York State, you must by licensed and registered by the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

To be licensed and registered as an RN in New York State, you must:

  • be of good moral character;  
  • be at least eighteen years of age;
  • meet education requirements;
  • meet examination requirements; and,  
  • apply for an RN license with NYSED. 

To be licensed and registered as an LPN in New York State, you must:

  • be of good moral character;
  • be at least seventeen years of age;
  • meet education requirements;
  • meet examination requirements; and,
  • apply for an LPN license with NYSED.  

In New York State, some nursing school graduates (who have applied for an RN or LPN license and a limited permit) may qualify to practice nursing before being licensed and registered as an RN or LPN.  NYSED issues limited permits to qualified nursing school graduates, allowing them to temporarily practice nursing under RN supervision.

You can download license and limited permit application forms (and instructions for filling them out) from this website.  You must send all required application forms and fees to the address specified on each form.   It is your responsibility to follow up with anyone you have asked to send forms, materials or information to NYSED. 

Laws that govern RN and LPN licensure are included in Education Law Article 139 and 8 NYCRR Part 64.

You should also read the general licensing information applicable for all professions.

After you qualify for an RN or LPN license, NYSED will issue you a license parchment and a registration certificate.

  • Your nursing license is valid for life, unless it is surrendered or revoked, annulled or suspended by the New York State Board of Regents. 
  • Your registration certificate will authorize you to practice nursing for about 3 years.  Thereafter, you must renew your registration every 3 years to continue to practice nursing. You are not legally allowed to practice nursing while your registration is expired.

Fees

The fee for licensure and first registration is $143.

The fee for a limited permit is $35.

Fees are subject to change. The fee due is the one in law when your application is received (unless fees are increased retroactively). You will be billed for the difference if fees have been increased.

  • Do not send cash.
  • Make your personal check or money order payable to the New York State Education Department. Your cancelled check is your receipt.
  • Mail your application and fee to:

    NYS Education Department
    Office of the Professions
    PO Box 22063
    Albany, NY 12201

NOTE: Payment submitted from outside the United States should be made by check or draft on a United States bank and in United States currency; payments submitted in any other form will not be accepted and will be returned.


Partial Refunds

Individuals who withdraw their licensure application may be entitled to a partial refund.

  • For the procedure to withdraw your application, contact the Nurse Unit by e-mailing opunit4@nysed.gov or by calling 518-474-3817 ext. 280 or by faxing 518-474-3398.
  • The State Education Department is not responsible for any fees paid to an outside testing or credentials verification agency.

If you withdraw your application, obtain a refund, and then decide to seek New York State licensure at a later date, you will be considered a new applicant, and you will be required to pay the licensure and registration fees and meet the licensure requirements in place at the time you reapply.


Moral Character Requirements

You must demonstrate that you are currently of good moral character in order to be licensed or registered as an RN or LPN.  When you apply for an RN or LPN license or to renew your registration, you will be required to answer the following questions:

  • Have you been found guilty after trial, or pleaded guilty, no contest or nolo contendere to a crime (felony or misdemeanor) in any court?
  • Are criminal charges pending against you in any court? Has any licensing or disciplinary authority refused to issue you a license or ever revoked, annulled, cancelled, accepted surrender of, suspended, placed on probation, refused to renew a professional licensed or certificate held by you now or previously, or ever fined, censured, reprimanded or otherwise disciplined you?
  • Are charges pending against you in any jurisdiction for any sort of professional misconduct?
  • Has any hospital or licensed facility restricted or terminated your professional training, employment or privileges or have you ever voluntarily or involuntarily resigned or withdrawn from such association to avoid imposition of such measures?

A “yes answer” to one or more of these questions will not necessarily disqualify you from a license or a registration.   The New York State Education Department decides on a case by case basis whether prior criminal conviction(s) or other issues will disqualify the applicant from being licensed or registered as an RN or LPN. 


Education Requirements

FRAUD ALERT:  Don't make the costly mistake of attending a “nursing school” in New York that will not qualify you to be licensed as an RN or LPN!!  Before you enroll in or pay for a nursing education program in New York, VERIFY that it is a New York State Education Department registered RN or LPN education program. A list of these nursing education programs is on this site.

Registered Professional Nursing (RN) Education Requirements  

To meet the education requirements for an RN license, you must graduate from an nursing education program acceptable to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) - and - complete child abuse reporting coursework acceptable to NYSED (or qualify for an exemption). You will also have to complete infection control coursework acceptable to NYSED (or qualify for an exemption).     

Acceptable Nursing Education Programs

You must graduate from a nursing education program that meets one of the three criteria below.

  1. An RN education program (Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or Diploma program) registered by NYSED as RN license qualifying.

-OR-

  1. A general nursing education program located in a country outside of the United States or its territories, which is acceptable to NYSED.   You will be required to have your foreign nursing education credentials verified by CGFNS, an independent credentials verification organization.    See, "Verifying Education Credentials From Non-U.S. Programs" for further instructions.

-OR-

  1. A RN education program located in another US state or US territory, if approved by the licensing authority of the state or territory as preparation for practice as an RN.   (US territories include:  Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa).

Child Abuse Reporting Coursework 

Before NYSED will issue you a limited permit or RN license, you must complete NYSED approved child abuse reporting coursework or qualify for an exemption.

If you graduated from a NYSED registered RN education program after September 1, 1990, you already completed the child abuse reporting coursework requirement as part of your studies.  You do not have to take additional child abuse reporting coursework.

If you did not graduate from a NYSED registered education program after September 1, 1990 and you do not qualify for an exemption, you must complete child abuse reporting coursework offered by a NYSED approved course provider. See additional information and a list of approved providers for this training.   

You may qualify for an exemption from completing child abuse reporting coursework if you can demonstrate to NYSED that during your nursing practice, you will not have contact with persons under the age of 18 or residents of nursing homes or residential care schools.  You can request this exemption when you apply for your RN license.  

Infection Control Coursework

Every RN and LPN must complete NYSED approved infection control coursework or qualify for an exemption.  Thereafter, each RN and LPN must complete NYSED approved infection control coursework every 4 years or qualify for an exemption. 

If you recently graduated from a NYSED registered LPN or RN education program, you have already completed the required infection control coursework as part of your nursing studies.   You do not have to take additional infection control coursework in order to qualify for a nursing license.

If you did not graduate from a NYSED registered nursing education program, you must complete a NYSED approved infection control course within 90 days of the date you are licensed as an RN or LPN in New York –or- qualify for an exemption.  See additional information and a list of approved providers for this training.

You may qualify for an exemption to the infection control coursework requirement if you can demonstrate to NYSED that: (1) you took infection control training that is equivalent to the infection control coursework required by NYSED; or, (2) taking infection control coursework is not necessary due to the nature of your nursing practice.     

Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) Education Requirements  

To meet the education requirements for an LPN license, you must complete high school or the equivalent and graduate from a nursing education program acceptable to the New York State Education Department (NYSED).  You will also have to complete infection control coursework acceptable to NYSED or qualify for an exemption (as described above).     

Acceptable Nursing Education Programs

You must graduate from a nursing education program that meets one of the five criteria below.

  1. An LPN education program registered by NYSED as LPN license qualifying. 

-OR-

  1. An RN education program registered by NYSED as RN license qualifying. 

-OR-

  1. A nine month or longer education program offered by the United States Armed Forces, which is acceptable to NYSED.

-OR-

  1. A nursing education program located in another state or U.S. territory, if approved by the licensing authority of that state or territory as preparation for practice as an LPN or RN.  (U.S. territories include:  Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa).   

-OR-

  1. A general nursing education program or LPN education program offered in a country outside the United States and its territories, which is acceptable to NYSED. You will be required to have your nursing education credentials verified by CGFNS, an independent credentials verification organization.  See, "Verifying Education Credentials From Non-U.S. Programs" for further instructions.

Verifying Education Credentials From Non-U.S. Programs

Applicants who have completed LPN or RN education outside of the US must have their education credentials verified by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). Such applicants should contact CGFNS at www.cgfns.org External Link Icon for the application and instructions to complete the CGFNS Credential Verification Service for New York State. Please note that this verification process is not the same as CGFNS' Certification Program (which is required for registered nurse applicants applying for limited permits). The CGFNS Credentials Verification Service for New York State licensure applicants is a process for verifying the authenticity of education credentials. The CGFNS Credentials Verification Service for New York State does not indicate approval by the New York State Education Department of the content of education. After education credentials are verified by CGFNS, they are then forwarded to and evaluated by the New York State Education Department.

You will be advised in writing of the results of the New York State Education Department's evaluation of your education. In addition, the licensing examination administrator will be notified if you are eligible for the examination.

Contact CGFNS at:

The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)
PO Box 8628
Philadelphia, PA 19101-8628
Phone 215-349-8767
Fax 215-349-0026
Web www.cgfns.org External Link Icon


Examination Requirements

To meet the examination requirements for licensure as a registered professional nurse and/or licensed practical nurse, you must successfully complete the NCLEX examination developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and administered by Pearson VUE. For those applicants applying for licensure based upon licensure in another jurisdiction, scores from the State Board Test Pool (SBTP) examination and NCLEX may be accepted for licensure. The licensing authority in the jurisdiction in which you took the examination (see instructions for Form 3) or Nursys (see Verification of Nurse Licensure in Another State) must verify acceptable scores on the examination(s) directly to the Office of the Professions.

To qualify to take either the NCLEX-RN examination or the NCLEX-PN examination, you must:

  1. Submit an Application for Licensure (Form 1) and the $143 licensure and first registration fee to the New York State Education Department.
  2. Ask your school to verify your education directly to the New York State Education Department on Form 2 (New York State programs completed prior to 4/1/98 or other U.S. programs), or Form 2AF (for graduates who are applying for an LPN license based on completion of equivalent education in a program conducted by the U.S. armed forces) or have your educational credentials verified by CGFNS (non-U.S. programs).
  3. Register directly with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX examination. To register for the examination, you will need the program code for your nursing education program that is listed in the NCLEX Candidate Bulletin. The NCLEX Candidate Bulletin and additional information regarding the examination are available on the Web at www.vue.com/nclex External Link Icon or ncsbn.org/nclex.htm External Link Icon . You may register for the examination online at www.vue.com/nclex External Link Icon or by calling Pearson VUE at 1-866-496-2539*

*If you are a graduate of a New York State nursing program, or an approved nursing program in the U.S., you may apply for the examination at any time after submitting all the items in 1 and 2 above. If you are a non-U.S. nursing program graduate, you may only apply for the examination after receiving a letter from the New York State Education Department notifying you that your education has been approved and you are now eligible to sit for the examination.

Reasonable Testing Accommodations

If you have a disability and may require reasonable testing accommodations for the examination, you must complete and submit a Request for Reasonable Testing Accommodations form ( PDF 23 KB). You may also request a copy of the form by calling 518-474-3817 ext. 320 or by faxing 518-473-8222. You must mail the Request for Reasonable Testing Accommodations form to the address printed on that form, along with the required documentation. You will be notified in writing as to whether or not your request for accommodations has been approved. A copy of your accommodation approval must be attached to your NCLEX examination registration form. You may not test until your request for accommodations has been processed by the Department. If you schedule a test before your request for accommodations has been processed, you may lose any fee paid to the examination administrator. Please be sure to check the box in item 7 of your Application for Licensure (Form 1) if you are requesting accommodations.


Limited Permits

NOTE: If you have ever taken the NCLEX-PN examination, you are not eligible for an LPN limited permit. If you have ever taken the NCLEX-RN examination, you are not eligible for an RN limited permit.

A limited permit authorizes an individual who has met all requirements for licensure as a registered professional nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) except the licensing examination to practice as an RN or LPN provided that the individual is under the immediate and personal supervision of a licensed, currently registered, professional nurse, with the endorsement of the employer. To be eligible for a limited permit, you must:

  • submit an Application for Licensure (Form 1) and the $143 licensure and first registration fee;
  • ask your school to verify your education directly to the New York State Education Department on Form 2 (New York State programs completed prior to 4/1/98 or other approved U.S. programs), or Form 2AF (for graduates who are applying for an LPN license based on completion of equivalent education in a program conducted by the U.S. armed forces) or have your educational credentials verified by CGFNS (non-U.S. programs).
  • for an RN permit, submit proof of completion of coursework or training in the identification and reporting of child abuse offered by a New York State approved provider; and
  • be at least 18 (RN) or 17 (LPN) years of age and be of good moral character.

You may submit an Application for Limited Permit (Form 5) at the same time or any time after you submit your Application for Licensure (Form 1). The fee for a limited permit is $35. A limited permit is valid for one year from date of issue or until ten days after the applicant is notified of failure on the licensing examination, whichever occurs first. The "starting date" cannot be changed once a limited permit is issued. If you change employment or have additional employers after your permit is issued, you must obtain a new permit. You need to have your prospective employer complete and return a new Application for Limited Permit (Form 5) to the Office of the Professions at the address on the form. A new fee is not required.

You must be employed by the facility in which you are working. You may not be employed by a third party.

Non-U.S. educated applicants seeking a limited permit as a registered professional nurse must also have their credentials verified by an independent credentials verification organization (see "Verifying Education Credentials From Non-U.S. Programs") and document successful completion of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Certification program (the CGFNS examination and the Test of English as a Foreign Language); or a score of not less than 400 on the Canadian Nurses Association Test (CNATS) given in English. Non-U.S. educated LPN limited permit applicants also need to have their credentials verified by an independent credentials verification organization but are not required to complete the CGFNS Certification program.

CNATS scores should be sent to the Office of the Professions directly by the nurse licensing authority of the province in which the examination was taken. Information about the CGFNS examination and its certification program, including the cost, is available from:

CGFNS
3600 Market Street, Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651
Phone 215-349-8767
E-mail support@cgfns.org or info@cgfns.org

Please note that CGFNS certification is different from the verification of foreign education credentials required of all graduates of non-U.S. programs. CGFNS certification requires passing of examination(s) in addition to the verification of educational credentials. Use the address above only for CGFNS certification program information.

Practice Exemption:

New graduates of New York State nursing education programs registered by the New York State Education Department as licensure qualifying may be employed for 90 days immediately following graduation without holding a limited permit. To be eligible to practice within those 90 days, you must have graduated from your nursing program, submitted the Application for Licensure (Form 1), the Application for Limited Permit (Form 5), and paid the required fees. While practicing during those 90 days, you must be supervised by a registered professional nurse who is currently licensed and registered to practice in New York State. It is possible you may not receive the limited permit before your license is issued but submitting the Form 5 and permit fee allows you to practice during the 90 days.  If you do receive the permit, give your employer the employer's copy for their records.


Nurses Licensed in Another State

If you are licensed as a nurse in another state, you must submit the following:

  • Application for Licensure (Form 1) along with the $143 fee;
  • Certification of Professional Education (Form 2)(if you are foreign educated please use CGFNS. See Verifying Education Credentials From Non-U.S. Programs above for additional information.); and
  • Verification of licensure in another state by using Nursys or submitting a Verification of Professional Licensure/Certification (Form 3) (See below).

    The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) handles verification of licensure for a majority of states through their Nurse System (Nursys). You can check to see if the state(s) where you are licensed as a nurse participates in Nursys by visiting their Web site at www.nursys.com External Link Icon or by calling them at 1-866-819-1700.

    If the state(s) where you are licensed as a nurse participates in Nursys, you must request verification of your licensure from Nursys, not the state(s).

    If your state(s) of licensure does (do) not appear on the Nursys list, you must use the Verification of Other Professional Licensure/Certification (Form 3) to verify your licensure to New York State.

    Please note, if you hold any other professional licenses in states other than New York, you must also use Form 3 to verify that licensure to New York State.

Last Updated: April 27, 2016