How to transfer your RN license to another state

Since moving to LA, I’ve gotten so many questions on how to transfer your RN license, it’s a long process! But I’m here to provide some of the things I learned along the way.

First, when you google license by endorsement, check their waiting time page. California is a big ass state, they have tons of licenses to take care of, so the process took 17 weeks. The estimated time was 12-16 weeks to receive your license. Once you have the estimated wait time, you can plan ahead for your big move.

Print a calendar for however many weeks and start planning ahead. When I left NY, I saved enough money to pay rent & bills for three months. I had every intention of taking at least three months off to give myself time to find a job. So I started the process a month before leaving, you should start as soon as you feel like you might want to leave. It doesn’t hurt to have it early, even if you don’t end up moving! You want to have your license before moving.

Once you have a calendar, print the instructions from the site, this will be your checklist. For Cali, you have to get fingerprints and mail them in. You can do the entire process online, but your fingerprints need to be mailed with a 2×2 passport style photo. I thought I could just go anywhere and get them digitally sent, nope they don’t accept it. The worse part about it is, you can’t fold the fingerprints. I bought a durable folder and placed that inside the package. I wrote all over it ‘do not bend please’. The last thing you want is to have to resend them because they are damaged.

They have a list of approved fingerprint places that are DOA approved, you’ll literally get a card with your fingerprints & that’s what you will send, I paid $15 for this. Some states allow a live scan, others, of course, don’t. So you have to take into consideration the time it will take for the board to receive the fingerprints & add it to your application.

You’ll also have to send transcripts & verification of your license. California allows you to use Nursys verification process. Last year, it was about $35 dollars and sending transcripts should be about 10-15 bucks. The license verification is just a form online, you put your license number in and send it to the board and boom, that’s done.

Now the actual application price varies with each state. I paid 350, it’s normally 300, but I wanted to apply for the temporary license, so I can have an actual number and paper while I waited for the actual license in the mail. You can pay online now, instead of mailing a money order.

Also, on the site, they added a powerpoint on how to complete the whole process which I didn’t see before I started writing haha. Honestly, if you gather all the belongings, you can do this all in one day. Complete the online process, scan documents and send the money. If you do the online process in the morning you’ll have time to get your photos and fingerprints done and end it all at the post office to send.

Some states are considered ‘compact states’ meaning you can get a multi-state license. Check out this list of states that participate in walk-through programs here.

I ended up harassing the California board, once 16 weeks hit. I started at least 40 applications, once I received my license number, I plugged it in and submitted all 40 in one day. I got a bunch of calls and landed a job a week after. I took my time, only applying to jobs that were convenient for me. If you are planning to move and get straight to work, all of this needs to be done before moving.

If you have any questions at all, please comment below!

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