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.

Nursing Education

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.

View all application and registration fees

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:

Don't Forget...

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.




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Page last reviewed November 02, 2022