Beginning Your Application
The registration process begins when you open an account with the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS). NNAS is the national body that starts collecting documents and assessing internationally educated nurses applying to become RNs and RPNs in Ontario.
After you open your NNAS account, NNAS will tell you which documents they need to verify your personal information, nursing education, nursing registration and past nursing experience.
These include documents about:
- identity (e.g., passport, birth certificate, driver's licence)
- nursing education (e.g., verification forms, transcripts, course descriptions)
- nursing registration (e.g., verifications forms from all jurisdictions where you have been registered as a nurse)
- employment (e.g., verification forms from organizations where you have worked/volunteered within the past 5 years)
- language proficiency (e.g., test results)
Find specific information about what NNAS requires in their Applicant Handbook.
- receives, reviews and stores all documents that you or others submit
- ensures your file contains documents CNO requires to determine if you meet the registration requirements
- ensures that your documents are valid and not falsified
- evaluates your education documents against Canadian standards
- prepares a report about your nursing education, registration history and practice
- sends the completed file to CNO
Once NNAS has authenticated and verified the required documents, and conducted its assessment of your nursing education, you will receive instructions for applying to CNO. CNO will not start your application process until we receive:
- a request from you to begin the process of applying to register in Ontario
- the fee required to begin the registration process
- a report from NNAS about your nursing education, registration history and work experience
CNO determines if you meet the specific registration requirement based on the documents you submitted to NNAS. If further assessment is needed, CNO may ask you for more information. For example, CNO assesses all nursing education and practice to determine if applicants meet the nursing education requirement. As a result, CNO may ask you to submit more proof of nursing practice (including verification forms and job descriptions) since you graduated, than you provided to NNAS.
Once CNO receives this information, we review your file and inform you if any further information, assessment, education or training is required before you can write the national registration examination.
The first step in the process is determining whether you meet the nursing education requirement. To do this, it is very important to send all information about your education to NNAS for review.
NNAS will not begin assessing your nursing education until it receives all documentation related to any nursing programs and/or additional nursing education that you have indicated on your NNAS application form.
Fees and Timelines
CNO's initial application fee, payable when you ask CNO to consider your application, is non-refundable. Contact CNO if you have any questions. Contact NNAS directly about its fees and refund policy. For information about exam fees, contact NCSBN.
Completing the registration process can take anywhere from 3 - 18 months, but this is a guideline only. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the timely delivery of all documentation and other information that NNAS and CNO request.
Factors that may delay an applicant’s registration include:
- graduating from a program that doesn’t meet entry-to-practice competencies
- failing to provide evidence of having practised nursing or graduated from a nursing program within the past three years
- failing to provide evidence that demonstrates language proficiency in either English or French
- the time needed to translate official documents into either English or French
- failing to successfully complete the required registration examination or jurisprudence examination
- information about your conduct, competence and health that may require further review and follow-up
- failing to produce other documents in a timely manner
Keep copies of your completed forms for your records. Ensure that all forms are dated and signed.
While you can submit your citizenship documentation at any time during the application process, we recommend you submit your proof of Canadian citizenship with your initial application to NNAS.
Incomplete or missing information, including insufficient fees, may result in a delay in processing your application.
Making a false or misleading statement or representation on your application or supporting documents may result in cancelling your application for registration and/or cancelling any certificates that may be issued.
"Should I consider applying to the Temporary Class?"
The majority of individuals who want to join CNO apply to enter the General Class. But in some cases, the Temporary Class may be an option. Learn more about the Temporary Class and how to apply for it in Registration Guides.