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FAQs: National Nursing Assessment Service

The following are questions and answers applicants may have about the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS).

Contact the Customer Service Centre if you have other questions.


Who uses NNAS?
NNAS is the first step for any IEN applicant to CNO who:

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

How does the process work?
IEN applicants requesting registration with CNO first go through the following steps:

  1. Go to www.nnas.ca to create an online account, complete your forms, and pay your fee(s). Through this account, NNAS will communicate with you and guide you through the process. (You can also contact NNAS using its toll-free number.) As well, NNAS provides an online instruction guide.
  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 required. NNAS will tell you if you need a language proficiency test to proceed with your application.
  4. Receive an NNAS Advisory Report. NNAS will tell you when your file is complete. Through your account, you will be able to access a copy of your Advisory Report.
  5. Apply to CNO. After you have received your Advisory Report, you will receive instructions about how to 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 submitted the required application and fee(s) directly to the College.

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

Who do I contact to become a nurse in Ontario?
Find information about all registration requirements you must meet before you can practice as a nurse in Ontario at www.cno.org/become-a-nurse.

Can I apply to NNAS if I completed my nursing program in high school?
All applicants to CNO must complete post-secondary nursing education. 

I'm an IEN who applied to CNO before NNAS came into effect in 2014. At that time, my application was refused. Now I would like to apply again. Do I have to apply to NNAS first?

Applying through NNAS

Can I 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.

What if I change my mind during the application process and I want to apply to a different province? 
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 CNO 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 CNO. Your documentation will not be sent automatically to CNO until you submit an application and pay the required fees.  Once that happens, CNO will retrieve your NNAS documents and advisory report.

Can I write the national registration exam as soon as NNAS sends my complete application to CNO?
This is a decision that will be made by CNO. You will be advised by CNO 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 CNO has reviewed an advisory report from NNAS, you will receive a letter from CNO that will instruct you in the next steps in the registration process.

Can I apply for temporary registration?
The Temporary Class is an option for individuals to practice nursing while they complete any outstanding education or while waiting for their exam results. Visit the Temporary Class webpage to learn more about the eligibility requirements.


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 CNO’s application fee, which you must pay to CNO 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 CNO, such as the registration exam and additional assessment of an applicant’s nursing knowledge, skill and judgment (in cases where it’s determined an applicant does not meet the CNO’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 CNO.

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 CNO.

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 October 27, 2022