Iowa Board of Nursing

Online Services

Board Information

Iowa Board of Nursing
RiverPoint Business Park
400 S.W. 8th Street, Suite B
Des Moines, IA 50309-4685
Tel: 515/281-3255
Fax: 515/281-4825

Office Hours:
8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday

Licensure - Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I change my name or address?
Q. What is the process for the board to endorse my license to another state?
Q. How can I verify status of an Iowa nursing license?
Q. Can an individual with a criminal conviction become licensed?
Q. Am I required to report criminal convictions and discipline taken by a licensing authority of Iowa or another state, territory or country?
Q. Who is eligible to take the LPN NCLEX exam?
Q. I am retired or I have no plans to return to work, how do I inactivate my license?
Q. How can I verify a license using only a Social Security Number?
Q. How long will it take to reactivate my license?
Q. How much continuing education is required for reactivation?
Q. Where do I have my fingerprint cards completed?
Q. Where can I get fingerprinted?
Q. Does it matter what state the fingerprints are taken in?
Q. What is the Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement?
Q. How do I know if I hold a Multi-State License?
Q. Does my license have Multi-State privileges?
Q. How many Continuing Education Units are needed to renew my license?
Q. How can I renew my license if I do not have Internet access?
Q. How can I renew my license if I do not have a credit or debit card?


Unlicensed Assistive Personnel

LPN Supervisory Course

Mandatory Training on Abuse Identification and Reporting



Q. How do I change my name or address?

A. Address changes may be completed online or submitted in writing, by fax (515/281-4825), or Email. Written requests must include your name, old address, new address, and your license number or social security number.

Name changes must be submitted in writing, by fax (515/281-4825) or Email . All written requests must include your current name, previous name, and your license number or social security number. (Online name changes are not allowed)

Updated wallet cards are NOT issued automatically upon submission of an address or a name change. The Iowa Board of Nursing does not require you to receive an updated wallet card. The updates will be reflected upon license renewal. If you want an updated wallet card you will need to submit the incorrect wallet card with a note explaining your request. A fee of $20.00 is required when requesting a re-issued wallet card.

NOTE: If you are an LPN in Iowa and have applied for the RN Examination, you will need to direct your change of address to the new licensure Department: Email, so that both records are updated. When submitting the change, include your LPN license number or social security number for identifying purposes.

Q. What is the process for the Iowa board to endorse my license to another state?

A. You must contact the state board of nursing where you want a license and request an application for licensure. Click here for information to contact other boards of nursing. Complete the Nursys license verification request online at www.nursys.com. The NURSYS verification is only available online at this link. The fee of $30.00 is payable by debit or credit card. If you have questions regarding this process, please contact the Nursys License Verification Department at 312/525-3780 or toll free at 866/819-1700.

Q. How can I verify status of an Iowa nursing license?

A. The Iowa Board of Nursing provides two methods for employers/individuals to verify a RN or LPN license in "real time":

  • Access the On-Line License Verification System on our Home Page. The employer/individual may verify the status of an Iowa license, determine if the license is under current sanction and print the information on the screen. The employer/individual may also verify ARNP registration on the website. A license number is required for On-Line verification.
  • The board will provide a non-certified statement of licensure and ARNP registration by mail or fax upon receipt of a written request and fee payment. The fee for a non-certified statement of licensure for RN or LPN license is $3.00 per license. The fee to verify ARNP registration is $6.00 per licensee ($3.00 for RN license + $3.00 for ARNP registration). Fees are payable to the Iowa Board of Nursing. This process does not include a certified statement.
  • For additional questions on License Verification call 515/281-3264.

Q. Can an individual with a criminal conviction become licensed?

A. In order for an individual to become licensed in Iowa, they must first graduate from a state board approved nursing program, at which time they can then apply for licensure. If they have answered yes to the criminal conviction question on the licensure application they must provide copy(s) of the sentencing order(s) when submitting application materials. The Board of Nursing will review each individual application and criminal record and make a final decision regarding licensure. The applicant has the option to sit for the NCLEX exam before or after they have received approval for licensure. The applicant will be asked to submit the following written materials to the board office at the time of application.

a. Send a copy of the Court records; i.e. trial information, judgment entry and sentencing order with the application.
b. A written assessment of your life before, at the time of, and after the conviction.
c. Parole/Probation Officer’s assessment if currently under active supervision or a letter from your parole/probation officer stating that you completed the requirements of your probation.
d. Employment history (please include in your written assessment).
e. Enclose copies of all substance abuse evaluations with treatment discharge summary and aftercare recommendations.

Letters of recommendation may also be included.

Q. Am I required to report criminal convictions and discipline taken by a licensing authority of Iowa or another state, territory or country?

A. A licensee is required to notify the Board within 30 days of the entry of a gulity plea, deferred judgment, or criminal conviction. A licensee is also required to notify the Board within 30 days of the date of the final decision in a disciplinary action taken by the licensing authority of another state, territory or country.

If the criminal conviction or discipline has been reviewed by the Board, a licensee shall answer affirmatively to these questions on future license applications and/or renewals and indicate the issue has been reviewed by the Board.

Q. Who is eligible to take the LPN NCLEX exam?

A. Those individuals who have graduated from a state board approved practical nursing program. An individual may not challenge the NCLEX examination under any circumstance in the State of Iowa.

Q. I am retired or I have no plans to return to work, how do I inactivate my license?

A. A license status is automatically changed to inactive status when the license is not renewed by the 15th day of the month following expiration date on the wallet card. No fee is required.

Q. How can I verify the status of a license using only a Social Security Number?

A. Yes, you can verify your license by last name and last four digits of your social security number at nursing.iowa.gov, IBON Online Services and then Secured Access. You can also verify a license at NURSYS.com by entering a name.

Q. How long will it take to reactivate my license?

A. Upon receipt of all required documentation the reactivation process is completed within 3 - 5 working days. Verification of the status of your license may be obtained through the online verification program at nursing.iowa.gov.

Q. How much continuing education is required for reactivation?

A. Reactivation requires 1.2 Continuing Education Units or 12 Contact Hours earned within the previous 12 months of the date of receipt of the reactivation application.

Q. Where do I have my fingerprint cards completed?

A. Fingerprint impressions MUST be obtained through an authorized technician. Contact your local sheriff's office or police department to set up an appointment to have your fingerprints taken (a fee may be charged for this service). DO NOT CALL 911 when contacting the sheriff's office or police department for this reason.

Q. Where can I get fingerprinted?

A. Your local sheriff's office, police station or any authorized fingerprinting center.

Q. Does it matter what state the fingerprints are taken in?

A. No.

Q. What is the Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement?

A. The Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement (NLCA) allows a nurse who resides in a compact state to hold ONE license in the nurse's primary state of residence and practice in all other states in which the compact is in effect. Primary state of residence is where the nurse holds a driver's license, pays taxes and/or votes. A listing of the compact states and additional information about the NLCA can be found at www.ncsbn.com.

Q. How do I know if I hold a Multi-State License?

A. All wallet cards will indicate "Multi State License" unless a non-compact state is declared primary state of residence. "SINGLE STATE LICENSE" will be printed on all wallet cards that are non-compact states.

Q. Does my license have Multi-State privileges?

A. If your primary state of residence is the State of Iowa and your wallet card does not indicate "SINGLE STATE LICENSE" then YES, you hold a Mult-State license and it will be printed on your wallet card.

Q. How many Continuing Education Units are needed to renew my license?

A. Your first renewal requires 2.4 Continuing Education Units or 24 Contact Hours for renewal. All renewals following your original renewal (full three year license) requires 3.6 Continuing Education Units or 36 Contact Hours.

Q. How can I renew my license if I do not have Internet access?

A. The Iowa Board of Nursing encourages online renewal. The Online License Center is a Secure Website and allows immediate license renewal. However, if internet access is unavailable (home, local library, employment, friend) a paper renewal may be requested by calling 515-281-4826.

Q. How can I renew my license if I do not have a credit or debit card?

A.The Iowa Board of Nursing encourages online renewal. The Online License Center is a Secure Website. However, you may follow the online process and stop when you reach the payment page. Mail to this office a note stating the application has been completed online with the renewal fee of $99.00. A paper renewal application may be also be requested by calling 515-281-4826.