4G* IMPORTANT NEWS: National Nursing Assessment Services (NNAS)

Updated 2021

Photo by Laura James on Pexels.com

SEE: C. Understanding NNAS

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow, August 12 2014, is a much awaited date, for Internationally Educated Nurses. It is the start of a whole new approach to becoming registered in Canada for both LPNs/ RPNs and RNs with the dawning of the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS). Announced in November, 2014, the NNAS is:

a non-profit organization comprised of the 22 member boards of all licensed practical nurse (LPN) (registered practical nurse in Ontario), registered nurse (RN), and registered psychiatric nurse (RPN) regulatory bodies in Canada, with the exception of Quebec and the Territories.

In this way you as IENs apply to one organization regardless of which province you live in, and whether you want to be an LPN/RPN, an RN, or a RPN.

NNASβ€œWe have a vision of providing a single web-based portal which allows easy access for international nurse applicants interested in becoming regulated nursing professionals in Canada,” says NNAS board chair Mary-Anne Robinson… β€œThe new web-based portal will speed up the application process for the internationally educated nurses and create a common national approach among the regulatory bodies,” says Robinson. β€œEach regulatory body ultimately determines whether or not an individual obtains a license to practice in their jurisdiction but the initial steps will be streamlined.”

What that means for you is that the application process will be easier. In the past IENs had to apply to one or more of the 22 individual provincial colleges of nursing, which are:

Registered Nurse Member Organizations

  • Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Association of Registered Nurses of Prince Edward Island
  • College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia
  • Nurses Association of New Brunswick
  • College of Nurses of Ontario
  • College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba
  • Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association
  • College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta
  • College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia

Licensed Practical Nurse/Registered Practical Nurse Member Organizations

  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Licensed Practical Nurses Association of Prince Edward Island
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Nova Scotia
  • Association of New Brunswick Licensed Practical Nurses
  • College of Nurses of Ontario
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba
  • Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of British Columbia

Registered Psychiatric Nurse Member Organizations

  • College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba
  • Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Saskatchewan
  • College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta
  • College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of British Columbia

Starting August 12, 2014 you only have to apply to one organization: the same for each and every IEN regardless of which province you are living in, or hope to live in, due to the “harmonized approach to the initial assessment of internationally educated nurses (IENs)”.

The services they will include are:

  • A single national web portal
  • A common approach to initial document collections, authentication, validation and fraud screening
  • A consistent competency based assessment of the IEN application file
  • A consistent format advisory reports to regulatory bodies to inform eligibility assessments

Meaning, all IENs that have not already started their process with a provincial college of nursing, will create an account on the NNAS website. Following instructions you will provide whatever information, documentation and fees as required (including your scores for your English Proficiency Exam). Once you have done that NNAS will have your documentation authenticated and validated, to ensure that you really are an IEN. They will assess your skills and abilities, write an NNAS Advisory Report, and send it to the appropriate provincial college of nursing.

This process will be available in both English and French.

The appropriate provincial college of nursing, which you have specified, having received the NNAS Advisory Report, will determine your next steps for your license process: whether that be courses, upgrading, a temporary licence so you can gain Canadian experience, or the national exam.

Once you apply, you will be able to login to access your account and get updates on your status. NOTE: your online account will only be accessible for one year, but your NNAS Advisory Report will be valid for two years.

Who must apply to NNAS?

As of August 12, 2014, 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.

Only Exceptions:

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.

Because it was not clear to me I contacted NNAS to ask them what happens to IENs who have already started a registration process with a provincial college of nursing. I received the following reply:

Files currently under review prior to NNAS opening on August 12, 2014 will continue to be processed by the nursing organization the applicant originally applied to. All applications after August 12th will flow through NNAS.

For more information go to the Frequently Asked Questions page of the NNAS. This includes information on the following:

  • General Information
  • The Application Process
  • Required Documents
  • The Advisory Report
  • Fees
  • Contacts 

I will be posting updates about the NNAS on my blog, Dear Kim and Facebook, so follow me on either one to get the latest news. [UPDATE~ I have created a new page to archive all of the posts about NNAS: Understanding NNAS.]

2014 has been a great year for IENs! There are big changes happening all to make your process of becoming a nurse in Canada more efficient for as NNAS board chair Mary-Anne Robinson says,

β€œInternational recruitment is an important factor in maintaining the strong nursing workforce needed to meet the health needs of Canadians now and in the years ahead.”

Are you, as IENs, important to us? You better believe it!



P.S. Thanks for sharing this post on Twitter and Facebook!

All quotes are taken directly from the National Nursing Assessment Service website at http://www.nnas.ca.

If you are still confused, please write a comment so I can clarify things for you. There are probably many other IENs with the same question. KK

12 responses to “4G* IMPORTANT NEWS: National Nursing Assessment Services (NNAS)

  1. I had applied for PR , but didn’t get approval yet

    can I apply to nnas for evaluation ?


    • Dear Amardeep,
      Thanks for your message!
      In all actuality it is perfectly fine for you to apply to NNAS.
      This service is available internationally.

  2. Hi, am currently going through RPN registration process through CNO. Everything is done, the only language proficiency requirement is left. And i will give the celban exam in 3months. I also passed the my RPN registration exam here. And according to cno, my safe practice will expire in a month(after three years). Me and my family planning to move to BC. I know if i am applying for LPN registration in bc then i have to go through all the process from starting. But I am confused about registration exam. Do i need to give the registration exam again in BC?

    • Dear Preety,
      Thank you for your message and details about your situation. Because it required more than just a comment as a reply, I have created a new post on Dear Kim. It is entitled, “Strained Achiever: i will give the celban exam in 3months; my safe practice will expire in a month”. You will find your answer there. Please feel free to make comments, once you have read it… and or… once you have done more research into the matter.
      Thanks again!

  3. Hi,
    I am a registered nurse in India plz let me know what’s the score for celban for LPN Registration.

    • Dear Surubderjit,

      With the commencement of the National Nursing Assessment Services August 12, 2014, the NNAS has standardized the scores for both LPNs and RNs across Canada, independent of province. You can see the required minimum scores at: https://www.nnas.ca/?s=scores

  4. Hi kim if I start assessment with nnas they send application to province association or not? B.

    |from an e-mail|
    Dear B,

    Yes, when you apply to NNAS, they will collect your documents and have them verified and assessed.

    Once an assessment has been completed, they will send a NNAS Advisory Report to the provincial college of nursing that you have chosen (whether that be for becoming an LPN or an RN.)

    But, B, in reading your message I might recommend you focus on your English first, and apply when you have achieved an acceptable score on the CELBAN or Academic Version of the IELTS. It may take some time for you to get a score that is high enough to be accepted by the provincial colleges of nursing. It will save you both time and money.


  5. Thank you for keeping me informed. Really appreciated.

    |from an e-mail|

  6. Jimlet Abengoza

    I don’t know what to do and when I’ m going to start

    • Jimlet,

      That is the whole purpose of NNAS, to give you that guidance and direction. Mind you, one of the things they will require of you is an acceptable score on the CELBAN or Academic Version of the IELTS, (See:https://www.nnas.ca/?s=scores. NOTE: TEF is a French test.)

      Your application will expire after one year, and you will have to pay a fee to reactivate your file. (See: https://www.nnas.ca/?s=fees)

      So, check the scores, If you think you can get a passing score and have a seat to take the exam in the next year, then you are good to go. But if you need more time to improve your English, prepare for the English Proficiency Exam and get a seat for the exam first to save yourself hundreds of dollars. Then focus on your documentation assessment with NNAS.

      What are your scores for the IELTS? If you are below a 6, take time to prepare. If it is 7 or more, then you are ready to register.


  7. Kim, i am already working as LPN, but i want to pursue my RN.Do i still go to NNAS?Thanks.

    • Yes, Jospehine!

      Great question.

      If you are an IEN and want to be an LPN, RN or PRN in Canada, you would register with NNAS.

      The fact that you are already an LPN does not change how you apply to become an RN. But it may be taken into consideration when it comes to your NNAS Advisory Report.

      I am sure, Josephine, that there are many IENs wondering the same thing.

      BTW Jospephine, because you are already a registered LPN practicing in Canada you have a high probability of passing the CELBAN with some preparation over a short period of time. Very few people can do this and need more time to prepare. Thus you will be able to avoid the CELBAN Trap, where others will not. See: https://dear-kim.com/?s=how+long

      All the best to you,


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