Nurse Licensing FAQs

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Application by Endorsement

Question: Can I be granted a temporary permit for license by endorsement while waiting for the results of the Criminal Background Check?

Yes. The board may grant a 60-day temporary permit. The applicant must have the Criminal Background Check in process and have met all other requirements for the temporary permit.

Question: Can I verify my newly issued license online? 

Yes. You can verify your license by last name on the license lookup. You can also view the newly issued license at

Question: Can I verify my temporary license online? 

Yes. You can verify  your temporary license using License Lookup. License lookup is updated each night so you would be able to see it the day after it is issued.

Question: Does it matter what state the fingerprints are taken in? 


Question: How do I check on the progress of my application? 

We will send you an email once we receive your application and process it. This is usually within 14 days of receipt of your application. You can use license lookup and if your license says Pending, we've received it. 

Question: How long does an incomplete endorsement application stay active in the NE Board of Nursing files? 

150 days from the date they are initially received in the NE BON office.

Question: How long is a temporary license valid? 

60 days.

Question: How soon will my Nebraska license be issued after I apply? 

It usually takes two to eight weeks to receive all documents. A Nebraska license is normally issued within five business days after the nursing office receives all required documentation. If you have not heard anything from the board office in five weeks from the date mailed you can contact the nursing endorsement office at (402) 471-4376.

Question: What are the requirements for licensing into Nebraska from another state? 

  • Graduate from an approved RN program.
  • Pass the NCLEX Exam.  
  • Have held the same type of licensure in another state.

Question: What if I have a change of name and/or address after I have applied for a Nebraska license? 

Please email the change to or fax to (402) 742-2360 to the attention of Nursing. You may also call us at (402) 471-4376.

Question: What if I have had a criminal conviction or have current disciplinary action against my license in another state? 

A license will not be issued until the board has received all required documentation, reviewed the case file, and voted to approve a Nebraska license.

Question: What is the application process for license by endorsement in NE? 

  • Complete the application for Licensure by Endorsement.
  • Complete all areas of the fingerprint card(s) and be fingerprinted by an authorized professional. Nebraska State Patrol has 6 Locations in Nebraska. Fee of $123.00 (personal checks accepted) payable to DHHS - Nebraska Board of Nursing
  • An official nursing transcript received by mail directly from your school of nursing or the institution maintaining the record. Transcripts in sealed envelopes received from the graduate WILL be accepted. Electronic transcripts are also acceptable.
  • Verification of Original License – (Last page of Application) Use this form if your original state board of licensure is not participating in NURSYS. Please contact your original state of licensure to verify the fee required for license verification.
    License Verification through - The quickest and easiest way to verify your original license (if possible) is to go online to  

Question: What is the average length of time for a nurse who is licensed in another jurisdiction and who meets NE's criteria for licensure to receive a temporary permit to practice nursing in NE?  

Once the application for licensure by endorsement, the endorsement fee, and the official transcript from the school of nursing or verification of licensure is received in the board office, a temporary permit is usually issued within 5-7 working days.

Question: Where can I get fingerprinted? 

If you live in NE there are 6 State Patrol locations. If out of state you can use your local sheriff's office, police station or any authorized fingerprinting center.  

Application by Examination

Question: Does the photo need to be a professional picture? 


Question: How long will it take to process my application? 

Approximately 8-10 weeks (this includes the time it takes to process fingerprints which is 4-6 weeks). Applications are processed in the order they are received by the Licensure Unit. If your application is not complete, or if the fee amount is incorrect, it will be returned to you to correct. Some applications require additional documents, e.g., certified court records, proof of lawful presence in the United States, etc. Applications are not complete until all required documents have been received.
Question: How will I know if I've been licensed? 

When your license is issued, it will first appear on the License Lookup site. License Lookup is updated every night. You will receive your paper license in the mail shortly after that.

Question: I have been licensed in Nebraska as an LPN. Can't you just use all the documents I have already submitted for my RN license? 

No. They are separate application files.

Question: I have previously applied for a nursing license, but did not pass the NCLEX exam. What is the process to be made eligible for the exam again? 

In order to retake the NCLEX exam, you will need to reapply for the license and re-register for the exam with Pearson Vue. You will need to complete a fresh license application form and submit it by mail with the current license fee. If you have recently taken the exam, you do not need to send in transcripts or other supporting documents. They would still be in our office. The new license application will join the previous one and be re-processed in the order it's received. If you have not taken the NCLEX exam recently, please contact our office first. We do not keep application materials on file indefinitely.


Contact us about questions about the current license fee or the process to retake the NCLEX exam. 
(402) 471-4376 or

Question: I took my exam; when will I be licensed? 

We process exam results as quickly as possible in the order they are received. Everyone will receive communication from us in the mail. If you are issued a license, it will be mailed to you.

Question: If I took my prerequisites from another school other than where I graduated, do I have to have those transcripts sent, too? 

Some schools do include the nursing prerequisites from another school on the final transcript. A complete transcript from an approved program is a requirement for the application, so in some cases, you may need to request an official transcript showing nursing prerequisites.

Question: The fingerprint process is confusing.  

Make an appointment to get fingerprinted. 

  • If you have your prints rolled by ink and the law enforcement agency gives you the cards, you must send them to the State Patrol and pay the fee for processing online or by mail to the State Patrol. 
  • If you have your prints by Live Scan, the law enforcement agency will not give you the cards; you still must pay the fee for processing online or by mail to the State Patrol.

When you have paid the fee, the prints will be processed as long as the Licensure Unit has received your application for a license. You will be contacted if any further information is required after the results are received by the Licensure Unit.

Question: What can I do to expedite the process? 

There are several things you can do to help the process:

  1. Make sure your application is complete and EVERY section is filled out.
  2. Be sure to sign and date your completed application.
  3. Write your check for the correct amount of money (check the fee schedule on the application).
  4. Read the instructions carefully so you know the process and what is required of you.
  5. If you are an exam candidate remember to include a wallet size color photo of yourself. Use a recent photo that most looks like you.
  6. When sending proof of lawful presence do not send originals, send a copy. Originals cannot be returned.
  7. Providing an email and phone number on your application will help us contact you if needed.

Question: You processed my check; why am I NOT eligible to test yet? 

There are many steps in the processing of an application.

  • We send the application and check to our accounting department.
  • A checklist is created for each applicant.
  • As required documents arrive, they are checked off the checklist.
  • If you are applying for licensure by exam, once we have completely finished processing your application and see that you have registered with Pearson Vue, we will make you eligible for the exam. Pearson Vue will send you the ATT (Authorization To Test) by email.   When you receive your ATT it will inform you how to schedule your exam. You may view the steps of the NCLEX (from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing) at: 

Continuing Education/Competency

Question: Can I count life-support courses as continuing education? Is there a limit to the number of hours I can use from these courses? 

You are limited to no more than 4 hours from CPR and BLS (combined). Other life support courses, such as ACLS, NALS, PALS, are not limited, however they may not be peer-reviewed.

Question: Do I need to send in my practice records and my continuing education certificates with my renewal application? 

No, you do not need to send in your practice records or continuing education certificates to renew your license. After the renewal period, a percentage of licensees will be selected at random to be audited. If you receive an audit notice, you will be required to send in documentation that verifies that you have met the continuing competency requirements.

Question: How do I know the exact dates that apply to renewal requirements? 

Use the expiration date as a target and count back either 2 or 5 years.  The expiration date for all LPNs and RNs is October 31st (odd year for LPN and even year for RN).  Depending on the year, the renewal requirement period will start November 1st either 2 or 5 years prior to the expiration date.

Question: How many contact hours can I use from the Internet or other home-study offerings? 

There is no limit. You can now obtain all of your contact hours from the Internet or other home-study courses. However, 10 contact hours must be peer reviewed offerings.

Question: I completed a refresher course within 5 years of the current expiration date. Do I need to obtain continuing education or practice hours? 

No, successful completion of the refresher course within the last five years meets the continuing competency requirement for this renewal.

Question: I took a three-semester-hour course. How many contact hours can I count for this course? 

One semester hour is equivalent to 15 contact hours. For example, a three-semester-hour course would be equal to 45 contact hours. Some academic courses are quarter hours. One academic quarter hour is equivalent to 10 contact hours. Academic courses you've taken count if they are nursing related and/or you are currently enrolled in a nursing program.

Question: I was recently issued my license; do I still need to meet the continuing competency requirements? 

If your initial Nebraska license was issued during the current renewal period, CE hours will NOT be required for this first renewal.  As you renew your license, you will answer “yes" to the waiver question which states:  I was first licensed within the previous 24 months'.  Each renewal after, you will be required to meet the CE requirements as set out in the nursing regulations.  This waiver can apply to both exam and endorsement applicants who received their first Nebraska license within the current renewal period.

Question: If I graduated in the last five years do I need to meet the continuing competency requirements? 

It depends:

  • If you graduated and were first licensed in the last 2 years, your graduation meets the continuing competency requirement for this renewal.
  • If you graduated and were first licensed more than 2 years but less than 5 years ago, you must have completed 20 hours of continuing education in the last 2 years.  Of the 20 hours, at least 10 must be peer reviewed.
  • If you graduated and were first licensed more than 5 years ago, you must have practiced 500 hours in the previous 5 years and completed 20 hours of continuing education in the previous 2 years. Of the 20 hours, at least 10 hours must be peer reviewed.

Question: What are peer reviewed courses? 

Peer reviewed courses are programs, offerings and independent study courses that are either provided by an approved provider of nursing continuing education or approved by an accredited approval body as nursing continuing education. One of the most common sources of approval for peer reviewed courses is the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and their approved providers, and Boards of Nursing that approve courses.

  • Nursing courses offered by academic programs are also considered peer reviewed.
  • In-service education offered by an employer may or may not be peer reviewed. You should ask your employer if the program was approved for contact hours.
  • Usually peer reviewed education will say, "This course has been approved for [number] hours of continuing nursing education by [the approval body]." It will usually say in the course description and/or on the certificate, and the provider of the education should be listed as “an approved provider of continuing nursing education."
  • IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make sure your continuing education is nursing related and has an adequate number of hours of peer-reviewed courses. If you are audited, you will need to provide proof of this to the Department.

Question: What constitutes practice hours? 

Practice hours are the time you spend working in nursing, whether paid or volunteer. It is your responsibility to keep track of volunteer practice hours and have verification, or be able to provide verification from an employer, should you be audited. The required practice hours pertain to NURSING practice, and ensures you maintain competency to be licensed. Nursing practice is defined in the Regulations Governing the Practice of Nursing, 172 NAC 101:

Nursing practice, for purposes of meeting requirements for license renewal, means the application of judgment and skill based upon a systematized body of nursing knowledge that is performed as employment or volunteer. Acceptable Nursing Practice Hours includes those activities that are performed either for compensation or gratuitously that demonstrate the application of judgment or skill based upon a systematized body of nursing knowledge as defined in the Nurse Practice Act. 

Question: What does it mean to have “developed and maintained a portfolio?" 

A portfolio is a systematic accumulation of professional documents that have been acquired over the years of practicing nursing. It would include your continuing competency goals and evidence or verification of professional activities to meet those goals. 

Such evidence may include, but not be limited to, a resume, college transcripts, goals and objectives related to professional development that have been completed or you're working toward, specialized training or experiences, continuing education that is evidence of lifelong learning, employer performance evaluations, specialized training or experiences, volunteer or community service or other evidence of demonstrated competency.

Question: What happens if I don't meet the requirements? 

You must meet the requirements to renew your license. If you do not meet the requirements to renew your license, you may take a refresher course and reinstate your nursing license after completion of the course or after you attain the 20 hours of CE.  

Conviction/Disciplinary Action

Question: Can the court records be sent directly to the Licensure Unit from the court house or do they need to be sent from the applicant? 

Either method of sending the documents is OK.

Question: Do I need to submit anything if I have already reported my conviction(s) or disciplinary actions(s) to the State? 

No, you do not need to submit the documents again if you have already reported the conviction or disciplinary action to our Investigations Division.

Question: What should I submit if I was convicted of a misdemeanor or felony during the 24 months prior to this renewal and I have not previously reported it to the State? 

Before your renewal will be processed, please submit by mail the following documents to our office (Please include your name and license number):

  • A list of any misdemeanor or felony convictions;
  • A copy of the court record relating to such convictions;
  • Your explanation of the events leading to the conviction (what, when, where, why) and a summary of actions the applicant has taken to address the behaviors/actions related to the convictions;
  • If currently serving a probation, submit a letter from the probation officer addressing probationary conditions and current status; and
  • All addiction/mental health evaluations and proof of treatment if the conviction involved a drug and/or alcohol related offense and if treatment was obtained and/or required.

Question: What should I submit if my license(s) in another jurisdiction was denied, refused renewal, or disciplined during the 24 months prior to this renewal and I have not previously reported it to the State? 

Before your renewal will be processed, please submit by mail an official copy of the disciplinary action, including charges and disposition. Please include your name and Nebraska license number. If your license was disciplined by Nebraska, you do not need to submit any documents.

Examination & Retesting

Question: I have had accommodations in school and would like to request accommodations when I take the NCLEX exam. What do I need to do? 

You need to request accommodations and provide the required documentation at the same time that you apply to the board for licensure. Documentation you will need to submit includes letters from: 

  1. You requesting specific accommodations;
  2. Your school indicating what accommodations you had as a student; and
  3. Your health care provider with a diagnosis showing the necessity of the accommodations.  

Question: When do I register with Pearson VUE?  Do I wait until your office notifies me? 

You can register at any time during the application process.  The Pearson VUE registration is one of the requirements we look for when processing your application.  We cannot make you eligible to test unless all the requirements are provided (including final transcript) and you have registered.  


Question: I have a name change. What do I do? 

If you have a current application on file with the Licensure Unit, send a copy of the official document that changes your name and be sure to identify the purpose, your prior name, and  your license type.

Question: I ordered my transcript. Have you received it? 

Once we process your application, we will notify you of any missing documents.
Question: The school I graduated from is closed. I do not know where to get my transcript. 

You can contact the Board of Nursing in the state in which you completed your training.


Question: As a member of the military, am I eligible for a fee waiver? 

If you have served in the regular Armed Forces of the United States during part of the twenty-four (24) months immediately preceding the biennial renewal date and wish to waive the renewal fee, you must submit documentation of your military orders BEFORE PROCEEDING.

You may scan and email to or fax to (402) 742-2360 or mail to Licensure Unit, PO Box 94986, Lincoln, NE 68509-4986. Please be sure to include your name, profession, license number, and email address in the fax, email, or written correspondence.

Once your documents have been accepted by our office you will receive an email or phone call advising you to return to the online renewal site to complete your renewal.

Question: Can I fill out my renewal forms online and then send in a check to pay my renewal fee? 

No. You must pay your renewal fee with a credit or debit card at the time you renew online. Credit and debit card payments are made through our secure site. If you do not enter a credit card number, your renewal will not be processed. If you wish to use a check to pay your renewal fee, you will need to complete a printed renewal form and mail it together with your check. Mailing the renewal form and the check separately makes it very difficult for us to match the check to the renewal form and will likely result in your renewal form being returned to you for non-payment.
Question: How do I place my license on inactive status? 

There are three ways to place your license on inactive status: 

  1. You may select the inactive option on the online renewal form
  2. Submit a written request to our office either by e-mail to or by fax to (402) 742-2360, or mail to Licensure Unit, PO Box 94986, Lincoln, NE 68509-4986.  Be sure to include your name and license number.
  3. Submit a paper renewal form and select “inactive." There is NO charge for this.

Should you wish to reinstate your license in the future, you will be required to meet the renewal continuing competency requirements and pay the reinstatement fee.

Question: How will I know if my renewal has been processed? 

It can take up to a week to process your renewal application. You can check your license status by going to License Lookup and searching for your name, as shown on your license. You can print a wallet card or certification of your license at any time, but the renewal date will not be updated until your renewal application has been approved. Wallet cards will not be mailed to licensees.

Question: I am not a U.S. Citizen; what do I need to submit with my renewal? 

If you ARE a Qualified Alien or a Non-Immigrant under the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act, a photocopy of one of the following:

  • Green Card, otherwise known as a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551), both front and back of the card; or  
  • Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) AND an unexpired foreign passport with a valid unexpired US visa.

If you are NOT a U.S. Citizen or a Qualified Alien and are lawfully present in the United States, you may still be eligible for a license if you provide a photocopy of your unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and evidence of one of the following documents under the Federal REAL ID Act:

  • An approved deferred action status (DACA);
  • A pending application for asylum in the United States;
  • A pending or approved application for temporary protected status in the United States; or
  • A pending application for adjustment of status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States or conditional permanent resident status in the United States.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, we cannot finish processing your renewal until the appropriate documentation has been received and we have verified your status through Homeland Security. If you do not submit this additional documentation by the license expiration date (10/31), your license will not be renewed.

Question: I have an advanced degree in Nursing.  I have not worked as an RN in the last 5 years, but I just completed my BSN.  Does graduating with a BSN count toward the 'graduated from a nursing program within the last 2 years' to renew my license in Oct? 

Graduating from an RN to BSN program will NOT allow an already licensed nurse to renew as “graduated from a nursing program within the last 2 years."  The BSN program could count for continuing education, BUT NOT practice.
Question: If I live in another compact state but I work for the federal government, can I renew my Nebraska License? 

Yes, but you cannot renew online. You will need to download a renewal form from our website or request that we mail you a paper renewal form. Complete the form and mail it to us along with your check. The license you will be issued will be a single-state Nebraska license. In other words, the license you will be issued will not allow you to practice in other compact states (unless you work in a federal facility in the other state).
Question: If I renew online, how do I change the name on my nursing license? 

If you answered “Yes" to the question “Are you requesting a name change?" during the online renewal, your submitted license renewal will be put on hold until we receive a copy of your marriage certificate, page from your divorce decree restoring your previous name, or other official document. Once we have such documentation, we can change your name on your record and complete the processing of your renewal. If you do not submit documents within 10 business days of submitting your online renewal, your license will be renewed with the name currently on your record.
Question: If my renewal application is postmarked October 31 can I work on November 1? 

Your application has to be received in sufficient time to process your renewal. If you wait until the last minute we cannot guarantee your application will be processed by November 1. You need to allow sufficient time for our office to receive AND process your application. If your application is not processed by October 31st, your license will expire. You CAN NOT work on an expired license, so be sure to plan ahead.

  • If you mail your application before October 31, but not in sufficient time for our office to process your application, your license will expire on November 1. However, since your application was received before the October 31 deadline, it will be renewed.
  • If your application is postmarked after October 31, your license will expire and you will have to reinstate it, meet the CE requirements and pay the renewal/reinstatement fees.
  • Applications are processed in the order they are received, whether online or by mail.
  • The Licensure Unit receives hundreds of renewals a day, so sending the renewal application by mail the last few days of the renewal period may not allow sufficient time for processing and will put you at risk for license expiration.
  • When you renew online, though it is much quicker than paper, our staff still have to process your application. So if you renew online just before the October 31 deadline, there is a chance it will not be renewed prior to November 1 and will expire. It will be renewed in the order it was received.
  • Renewing at midnight the last day prior to expiration does not guarantee a license to work on November 1.

Question: What is the difference between expiration and inactive status? 

Inactive status means you are not practicing as a nurse, but may represent yourself as an inactive nurse. An expired license means you have no credential because the active license lapsed. Neither inactive nor expired nurses can practice nursing. Both inactive and expired-license nurses must go through the reinstatement process to make their license active again 

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