12 Essential NNAS Tips: Fast-track Your Journey to Becoming a Canadian Nurse

Are you an Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) planning to become a Nurse in Canada? If so, you’ve likely heard of the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS). This is the first step IENs must go through before becoming Registered Nurses or Registered Practical Nurses in Ontario, Canada.

 Essential NNAS Tips

The National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS) is a centralized competency assessment body that assesses and prepares an advisory report based on an IEN’s credentials. It is used by regulatory bodies like CNOs (College of Nurses of Ontario) to assess your eligibility for registration as a nurse in the respective provinces.

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With that said, the NNAS Process can be challenging, and it took me over a year to complete the process, including obtaining all the required documents and waiting for NNAS to assess them. The good news is that you don’t need to wait this long to get your NNAS advisory report!

As an IEN who has successfully completed the NNAS journey and become a Registered Nurse in Canada, I’m here to share some invaluable insights that will help make your NNAS journey smooth and stress-free. So please grab a cup of coffee or tea, take a deep breath, and dive into my personalized NNAS Tips to become a Nurse in Canada.

10 Essential NNAS Tips for Internationally Educated Nurses

1. Gather All Documents:

Gather all required documents before you start the application. You must have the following documents handy:

  1. High School and Secondary School Certificates
  2. Nursing School Certificates
  3. Nursing Council Certificates
  4. Experience Certificates
  5. Passport

2. Start the Process Early:

If you are not in Canada, apply at least six months before you land in Canada. By doing this, you may get your NNAS Advisory Report before you arrive in Canada, decreasing the waiting time to become a Nurse in Canada. My advisory report came after waiting more than a year, and I had to do General Jobs during this period to meet my financial needs in Canada.

3. Find a reliable person for documentation(If needed)

If you cannot visit Nursing Schools or Hospitals for necessary documentation, consider finding a reliable person or agency to do the paperwork. There are numerous nursing agencies in India that assist you with this paperwork.

Learn from My Experience:

Regrettably, I had a less-than-positive experience with this aspect of the process. I chose the wrong agency with my paperwork, and they did not submit or send the forms on time and delayed my processing for more than seven months. So always make sure that you approach a good agency with previous experience and good ratings.

4. A valid Credit Card with USD 700(or equivalent) limits.

Ensure you have a valid Visa or MasterCard with a limit of at least USD 700 to cover the NNAS fees. The NNAS charges a fee of USD 650 plus any applicable sales taxes, which must be paid all at once. If you decide to file an Advisory Report for an additional province, that will cost an extra USD 55. It’s important to note that the NNAS does not accept Debit Cards, so a credit card with a sufficient limit is essential for the process.

5. Ensure Accuracy in Your Application Form:

When completing your application form, it’s important to avoid any mistakes. NNAS will strictly verify and cross-check each detail you provide. Pay particular attention to dates and the spelling of names, making sure to double-check everything. 

Any discrepancies or errors can pause your application process until we provide them with clarifications, and this can significantly delay the process, prolonging your wait. Therefore, ensure your application is accurate and error-free to avoid unnecessary delay.

6. Submit Required Forms Promptly:

Once you’ve completed the online form and paid the fee, download, fill, and sign the application forms meant for your nursing school, regulatory bodies, and any associated hospitals. Remember to complete the candidate’s section (PART A: Personal Information) of each form before sending it to the respective authority. The advisory report may be issued in six months or less if all documents are correct and accurate.

7. Be Mindful of the One-Year Deadline:

NNAS gives you a one-year window to submit all necessary documents. If you cannot provide the required documents within this period, you’ll need to renew your application, which incurs a fee of USD 180. Therefore, staying organized and meeting this deadline is crucial to avoid additional expenses.

8. Sealed Envelopes are a Must:

When sending the documents to NNAS, ensure you send them in a sealed envelope by the issuing institution. It is not a minor but a mandatory requirement to maintain the authenticity and confidentiality of your documents. If documents arrive at NNAS not in sealed envelopes, they may not be accepted, resulting in delays and additional efforts on your part. 

9. Opt for Trackable Shipping

While sending the documents to NNAS, instruct the sending authority to send them via trackable shipping. This will ensure that you know the exact date when your documents were sent and their progress on the way. In case of any issues or delays, NNAS may ask you for the tracking number, so sending it via tracking mail or courier is better.

10. Keep a Close Eye on Updates:

Your job isn’t over after sending your documents. It is important to keep checking your NNAS Dashboard and email because NNAS may ask you for additional documents or to rectify any errors. If you don’t respond in time, your processing will be delayed, adding months to your wait. So if they ask for extra documents, provide them as soon as possible. This shows your commitment to the process and helps avoid unnecessary delays.

11. Apply for an RN Licence via the USA

If you passed the NCLEX-RN Exam after April 13, 2013, you could transfer the results to the CNO and don’t need to write the exam again. If you are not and planning to become a Registered Nurse in Ontario, Canada, you should also apply for the US NCLEX-RN.

Compared to the over-a-year wait for exam eligibility through CNO, US states such as New York and Illinois offer a more expedited timeline, typically around three months. Many Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) are simultaneously applying for the NNAS and the US NCLEX-RN to accelerate the process. It not only saves time but also saves some bucks.

On top of that, when you transfer the US NCLEX-RN Result to the CNO, your educational requirements will meet automatically. This allows you to avoid additional courses to meet the educational requirments.

12. Submit Language Evidence

If you apply to become a Nurse in Ontario, you don’t need to submit language evidence at the NNAS Stage. You can waive the language requirement at the NNAS stage but must submit them at the CNO application stage.

1. What is NNAS, and What does it do?

NNAS, formally known as the National Nursing Assessment Service, is an independent body that verifies and generates an advisory report based on your nursing qualifications and credentials. This report is vital for nursing regulatory bodies in Canada to determine your eligibility to practice. So, for an IEN, NNAS can be considered the first significant step towards becoming a registered nurse in Canada.

2. How long does the NNAS process take?

The NNAS process can take up to 4 months to one year, depending on the complexity of the qualifications and credentials you provide. It’s important to note that the NNAS timeline may be longer if additional information or documents are required during the verification process. Once the NNAS has released its report, it then needs to be assessed by the regulatory body to which you have applied, which can take a few weeks or months.

3. What happens if I don’t submit my documents to the NNAS within a year?

If you do not submit your documents to the NNAS within one year, you must renew your application, which costs USD 180. So submitting all the required documents within one year is essential to avoid any delays or extra costs.

4. Do I need a credit card to pay the NNAS fees?

Yes, you’ll need a Visa or MasterCard with a limit of at least USD 700 to cover the NNAS fees. Remember, NNAS does not accept Debit Cards.

5. Can I apply for NNAS without work experience?

Yes. You can apply for NNAS without work experience. However, you may need to do some courses or additional training to meet the registration requirements of the nursing regulatory body in your intended province.

6. Do I need to submit language evidence to NNAS?

If you are planning to become a nurse in Ontario, you don’t need to submit proof of language at NNAS Stage, and you can simply waive it. But you need to submit it at the CNO Stage.


As an Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN), it is crucial to understand the NNAS process and its requirements to make your journey smooth and faster. I hope this article gives you an idea about what to do before and during to expedite the process. Also, check the NNAS Handbook before you apply for the NNAS.

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended to provide general advice and personal experiences related to the NNAS process. It should not be taken as legal advice or a guaranteed pathway to success. Always consult with official NNAS guidelines and the NNAS handbook for your unique situation.

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