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FAQ: National Nursing Assessment Service

The following are questions that applicants may have about the National Nursing Assessment Service, a new way for internationally educated nurses to apply to the College beginning August 12, 2014.

Contact the College’s Customer Service Centre if you have other questions about NNAS.


Who will use NNAS?
NNAS is the first step for any IEN (internationally educated nurse) applicant to the College who:

  • is a graduate of a nursing education program outside of Canada and
  • is not registered to practise as a Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Psychiatric Nurse anywhere within Canada. 

How will the process work?
IEN applicants requesting registration with the College will first go through the following steps with NNAS:

  1. Go to www.nnas.ca to create an online account, complete your forms, and pay your fee(s). The online account will be how NNAS will communicate with you and guide you through the process. (You can also contact NNAS through its toll-free number.) NNAS will also provide an online instruction guide to applicants.
  2. Submit all required documents. NNAS will tell you which documents are needed and who must submit them.
  3. Complete a language proficiency test if it is required. NNAS will tell you if you need a language proficiency test in order to proceed with your application.
  4. Receive an NNAS Advisory Report. NNAS will tell you when your file is complete. You will then be able to access a copy of your Advisory Report through your account.
  5. Apply to the College. After you have received your Advisory Report, you will receive instructions about how you can contact the College with your request to register in Ontario. The College will not consider you an applicant for registration until you have completed the NNAS process and you have submitted the required application and fee(s) directly to the Colleges.

I'm an IEN and I've already applied to join the College. How will NNAS affect me?
If you have already begun your application with the College, then you will be assessed under our current process.

Why do I have to start my application with NNAS? 
All nursing regulatory bodies in Canada (except Quebec) require new applications for registration from internationally educated nurses to go through NNAS. Applying through NNAS ensures a consistent approach to collecting, verifying and storing the documents required by all nursing regulatory bodies in Canada. Your educational credentials will be assessed using standardized tools endorsed by all participating regulatory bodies.

Who do I contact to become a nurse in Ontario?
Information about all registration requirements that you must meet before you can practise as a nurse in Ontario can be found on the College’s website at www.cno.org/become-a-nurse.

You must contact the NNAS directly to begin the process of applying to the College. The NNAS will assess your educational credentials and determine any language proficiency testing that may be required.

Am I eligible to apply to NNAS if I completed my nursing program during my high school education?
All applicants to the College of Nurses must complete nursing education at a post-secondary level to be eligible to apply. This will not change with the introduction of NNAS.

Applying through NNAS

Am I able to apply to more than one province or category (RN/RPN) at the same time?
Yes. When you create your account at NNAS, you will be able to select the provinces and/or categories in which you eventually wish to apply. Additional fees may apply if you choose this option.

Do I have to send two sets of documents if I apply to two jurisdictions?
As of August 12, when you create your account at NNAS you can select the regulatory bodies (like CNO) where you eventually wish to apply. Initially, you may need to fill the form out more than once until the system reaches full functionality, at which point you will only need to complete the form once (exceptions include any information that may be unique to one regulator body over another).

What if I change my mind during the application process and I want to apply to a different province? 
When NNAS is in place, you will be able to change your mind about where you want to apply by submitting a request for a re-evaluation by another college in another province. There may be a fee for this service depending on whether a different assessment tool is required.

Can I apply to NNAS if I do not have a work permit or permanent residence in Canada?
The NNAS does not address any immigration issues. There is a link to Citizenship and Immigration Canada provided on the NNAS website.

Where will I find the application form to apply to NNAS?
You can find the application form by visiting the NNAS website, www.nnas.ca. You apply by creating an account with NNAS, paying the required fees and following the instructions for completing the application form and sending the required documents. You will be notified when the file is complete. You can then apply to the College using a direct link from the NNAS website.

Completing the process

How will I be notified that I can continue with my application with the college(s) I chose when I applied at NNAS?
When NNAS informs you that your file is complete, you will be able to retrieve your advisory report from your online account. Instructions will be provided on how to apply to the College. Your documentation will not be sent automatically to the College until you submit an application and pay the required fees.  Once that happens, the College will retrieve your NNAS documents and advisory report.

Can I write the national registration exam as soon as NNAS sends my complete application to the College?
This is a decision that will be made by the College. You will be advised by the College when you are eligible to apply for the exam.

Can I practise as an RN/RPN as soon as my NNAS assessment is complete?
No. Once NNAS has completed its assessment and the College has reviewed an advisory report from NNAS, you will receive a letter from the College that will instruct you in the next steps in the registration process.

Can I apply for temporary registration?
The Temporary Class is for individuals who have met all requirements for the General Class as a Registered Nurse (RN) or Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) except the successful completion of the registration exam. The College will tell you when you have reached the stage in the registration process when you may apply to join the Temporary Class.


What is the application fee for NNAS?
The fee schedule for NNAS services can be found here on the NNAS website. Note that the NNAS application fee is separate from the College's application fee, which you must pay to the College before it can accept your application and NNAS advisory report.

Is the fee the same if I apply to more than one province or profession?
Additional fees may apply if you choose to have your information collected for more than one college.

Are there any other fees?
The NNAS application fee will not cover other costs related to your application to the College, such as the registration exam and additional assessment of an applicant’s nursing skills, knowledge and judgment (in cases where it’s determined an applicant does not meet the College’s education requirement).

Information and privacy

What privacy legislation is NNAS following?
The NNAS is a Canadian organization and is subject to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (Canada). Ontario privacy legislation will apply once your file is transferred to the College.

If I previously wrote the exam in another province, will all the other regulatory bodies have knowledge of this information through NNAS?
No. Only those regulatory bodies that you choose to apply to will have that information.

Will NNAS send copies of my transcripts to a third party if I make the request?
Yes, assuming you have signed a third party authorization on your NNAS application form. If not, you will have to contact the College.

Can I provide authorization to a third party to access my information so that they can enquire about my file on my behalf? 
Yes. When you set up an account with NNAS, you will be asked to sign an authorization form that outlines the terms and conditions associated with this.


Page last reviewed August 01, 2014