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New strategies streamline path to registration for int​ernationally educated n​urses in B.C. 

If you were educated as a nurse outside of Canada and want to hold registration in British Columbia, you will apply under the internationally educated nurse category. Before applying for registration with BCCNM, you must first apply to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS).

Nursing professions in British Columbia

The health care system in British Columbia is supported by a number of different nursing professions: licensed practical nurses, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses.  Learn more about the types of nurses and the roles of each nursing profession

Supports and bursaries

The Province of British Columbia supports IENs who wish to work in B.C. by providing bursaries to offset application costs and nurse navigators to support them through the process. To find out more or express your interest in being contacted about next steps, please visit the Health Match BC website

BCCNM application process: One application, two nursing professions 

Internationally educated applicants to BCCNM are assessed for both registered nurse and licensed practical nurse registration through one application, for one application fee.  Applicants also have the option of applying as a health care assistant through the Health Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry. Note: BCCNM does not regulate health care assistants. 

The dual application enables applicants to enter the healthcare workforce sooner in the designation that matches their current nursing competence. Nursing education and practice differs around the world; if you do not meet the competencies required to practise as a registered nurse in British Columbia, you may meet the competencies required of a licensed practical nurse or health care assistant.

If you do not want to be assessed for both RN and LPN registration, please contact us at Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.​​


How to apply

​1.​ Apply to NNAS​​​
  • Before applying to BCCNM, you must apply to the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS).
  • IMPORTANT: BCCNM only requires one NNAS report to assess you for both registered nurse (RN) and licensed practical nurse (LPN) registration. You can apply to NNAS as an LPN or RN. 
  • NNAS will verify your identity and nursing education documents, and evaluate your education based on Canadian standards and compared to current Canadian nursing requirements.
  • NN​AS will present their finding in an advisory report. When you receive this report, you can apply to BCCNM.
​2. Apply for BCCNM registration
3. English language proficiency
  • A registration assessor will review the information you submitted on your application to demonstrate your English language proficiency. They will follow up with you for more information if required. 
  • If we determine that you have not met this requirement, you will be required to submit the results of an approved language test​ where you have met the benchmarks.
​​4. Competency assessment
  • After reviewing your application​, we will determine if you need to complete a competency assessment, offered through the Nursing Community Assessment Service (NCAS).
  • The competency assessment evaluates your nursing skills against the competencies that nurses are required to possess for safe nursing practice in Canada.
  • The assessment includes a computer-based test and a simulation lab assessment, and will assess your competency for three health care professions: registered nurse, licensed practical nurse and health care assistant. 
  • Once completed, BCCNM will use the NCAS assessment report and other components of your application to assess your eligibility for RN or LPN registration. If any competency gaps are identified during the assessment, we will determine a transitional education pathway for you to be ready for practise and eligible for registration. 
  • Learn more about the competency assessment.
​5. BCCNM assessment
  • We will use the NCAS assessment report(s) and other components of your applicant to assess your eligibility for licensed practical nurse or registered nurse registration. ​​
  • If any competency gaps are identified during the assessment, we will determine the transitional education pathway for you to be ready to practise and eligible for registration​.
6. Registration exam and provisional registration​
  • ​​Once you have met all the requirements above, we will send you information about your remaining registration requirements. This will include instructions on how to register for the relevant registration exam: REx-PN​ (LPN) or the NCLEX​ (RN).
  • If you requested to be considered for provisional registration and it is granted, we will send you another email with instructions on how to pay your registration fee ​through your BCCNM account. You will appear in the online directory once you are authorized to practice.
  • Please note: you cannot legally practise until you have received an email from BCCNM confirming your provisional registration is granted. You can also check the online nurse directory​ to make sure you are authorized to practice before you start working.​​
​​6. Practising registration
  • Once you have successfully completed the registration exam and any other requirements for registration, you will be sent instructions on how to pay your practising registration fee (if you do not already hold provisional registration). You will appear in the online directory once you are authorized to practice.
  • If you held provisional registration, your status will automatically be updated to practising registration once you have met all registration requirements.
  • Please note: You cannot legally practise until you have received an email from BCCNM confirming your provisional registration is granted.​​​​

​​​​​Tips to avoid application delays

  • Get your documents notarized before you apply.
  • Keep the original copies of all documents.
  • Only submit accepted forms of identification. Do not submit copies of your credit card or social insurance number.
  • Make sure all identity copies clearly show your face, name and signature, and that all of the information is clear and visible.​​

Assessing your application

When we assess your application for registration, we consider the following:

Nursing education
  • We review the NNAS advisory report, which provides information about the comparability of your nursing education to Canadian nursing education programs.
​Good character
When determining whether you are of good character, we review:

  • The circumstances around any previous criminal charges and/or convictions, the results of your criminal record check, and any other information you wish to have considered related to the same, if applicable.
  • The completeness, correctness, and accuracy of the information you disclosed on the application form.
  • Information related to other application(s) for registration, or previous registration history, if applicable.
  • Information related to previous employment, or employment while holding interim registration, if applicable.
  • Information from the educational institution, if applicable.
  • A self-reflection of the circumstances, learnings, and growth since the events, or actions taken, that indicate a possible lack of good character.
Fitness to practice nursing
When determining whether you are fit to engage in nursing practice, we review (if applicable):
  • Self-disclosure of a physical or mental ailment, an emotional disturbance or an addiction to alcohol or drugs that could impair your ability to practise.
  • Information from previous employer(s) disclosing the same.
  • Information regarding any previous registration cancellation or voluntary relinquishment of registration related to the same.
  • Information from treating physician(s) or specialist(s) who can provide an opinion as to your current health status, any recommendations for safe entrance into the profession, and your fitness to practise nursing (we only request this information in certain circumstances).
  • Information submitted with a Request for Accommodation for the registration exam.
English language proficiency
When assessing your English language proficiency, BCCNM reviews:

  • Your first language.
  • Language test results (if taken). Information from your nursing education institution.
  • Information from your employer(s).
  • Additional evidence of English proficiency (i.e. references from regulated health professionals)
When determining whether you are competent to practise as a nurse in B.C., we review:

  • All relevant nursing practice experience.
  • Type of registration
  • Continuing education in nursing
  • Consolidation of knowledge
  • Any periods of non-practice
  • Results of the NCAS assessment report (if taken).​​

Each BCCNM designation has its own set of Standards of Practice.

900 – 200 Granville St
Vancouver, BC  V6C 1S4

​Toll-free 1.866.880.7101 (within Canada only)