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Endorsement - Licensure from Another State

Qualifications for Licensure in Iowa:

  1. Graduation from a board-approved RN or LPN nursing program. (RN Program applicants or RN graduates who did NOT complete or graduate from an LPN Program are NOT eligible to take the LPN Examination.)
  2. Prior to issuing the license, any past criminal convictions or record of prior disciplinary action, regardless of jurisdiction, must be reviewed and approved by the board.
  3. Passing the appropriate (RN or LPN) NCLEX examination as prescribed by the board.

The following items are required before a license by endorsement can be issued:

  • Completed Application for Licensure by Endorsement (either Online or on Paper)
  • Two Completed Fingerprint Cards and Signed Waiver Form. (Fingerprint Cards are NOT available online. All Fingerprint Cards submitted MUST be the two cards received from the Iowa Board of Nursing office. This is a requirement of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations. Two Fingerprint Cards will be mailed to your address of record to be taken to your local police station or sheriff’s office to be completed).
  • Total fee of $169, payable to the Iowa Board of Nursing.  Fees can be remitted online by credit card, or on paper by personal check, business check, money order, or cashier’s check.  (For security reasons, we do not take credit card numbers over the phone or by mail.) Note:  All fees are nonrefundable.
  • Official transcript sent directly from the School of Nursing, denoting date of graduation and degree conferred.  (Faxed or electronic transcripts do not meet requirements).
  • Verification of original license.
    1. Apply online for original license verification at   OR
    2. Submit the Verification of Original License Form to your original licensure state (this form will be included with the fingerprint packet.)

The application can be:

  • Accessed through IBON Online Services (Fingerprint cards and waiver form will be sent automatically to your address of record.)
  • Requested on paper from the Iowa Board of Nursing by sending an email, or by phone to 515.281.4826.  (Fingerprint cards and waiver form will be included with the application.)

Fingerprint cards will be returned to the applicant if not on the cards that the Iowa Board of Nursing has provided.

NOTE: The License by Endorsement Fingerprint Cards cannot be downloaded from this website. 

To avoid confusion if NOT submitting Online - PLEASE submit Iowa Application for Endorsement, Fingerprint Cards, Waiver Form and fee ($169) within the same envelope to the Iowa Board of Nursing.


NOTE: To find out the status of your application go to IBON Online Services and choose - “Check the Status of an Application in Process” prior to calling the Nursing Board office.

Endorsement Forms Available to Print:

Nurse Licensure Compact Information:

Applicants must provide an Iowa or a Non-compact state mailing address when applying for license by endorsement.  If you reside in a state that is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement, and submit your application for licensure using that address, the application will be returned to you.

Primary state of residence is defined as where you hold a driver’s license, vote and pay taxes. You can view the list of compact states at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. at by going to the Nurse Licensure Compact link.

The compact does not supersede federal law. Military and federal employees may apply for licensure by endorsement in Iowa.

Information regarding criminal conviction:

  1. Send a copy of the court records (i.e. sentencing order, disposition documents, trial information, judgment entry), with the application by endorsement.
  2. A brief summary of the conditions that led to the charge(s) including date, location and outcome must be included with the application.


Foreign Educated Nurses

Applicants must provide a Social Security Number when applying for license by endorsement.  If a Social Security Number is not available, the applicant will need to submit the documentation that allows them access to the United States (for example, U.S. Visa). Without a SSN you will be issued a single state license. 

  • Applicants must have passed the exam for licensure and have been licensed in the country in which they were educated. A valid license/registration must be held in the original country. If you have NOT been licensed in the country in which you were educated, you do NOT meet the qualifications for Iowa RN/LPN licensure. 
  • Foreign graduates are not eligible to receive a temporary license.
  • Applicants MUST apply for the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Professional report through See the following list: 
    • CGFNS must submit one of the following (1 or 2) directly to the Board of Nursing:
      1. Verification of certificate letter to document completion of the certificate program. 
      2. Professional Report of the CGFNS Credentials Evaluation Service (CES), or Full Education Course-by-course Report
       See also #3
      3. One of the following English Proficiency Tests must be completed in addition to the CES Professional Report: International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE), or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). 
    • ​Applicants shall be exempt from the IELST, PTE or TOEFL examination when the native language is in English; nursing education was completed in a college, university or professional school located in Australia, Barbados, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom; language of instruction in the nursing program was English; and language of the textbooks in the nursing program was English. 

If neither report has been completed, apply for the Professional Report (full education course-by-course report ) of the CGFNS Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) for practical nurse and registered nurse applicants be submitted to the Iowa Board of Nursing.

​Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
ATTN: Credential Evaluation Service
3600 Market Street, Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651 U.S.A.

Customer Service:
Telephone: 215.222.7454

CGFNS Website

If the full education course-by-course report requirements or the Professional Report of the CGFNS Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) has been completed apply for the Re-evaluation of a Full Education Course-By-Course Report or Professional Report to be submitted to the Iowa Board of Nursing.

If the certificate program was completed through CGFNS apply for the Verification of certificate letter to be submitted to the Iowa Board of Nursing.


Rev. 4/2018