Application and Registration Requirements

International Applicants/Application and Registration Requirements

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Application and Registration Requirements

A CARNA practice permit is required to legally practice as a registered nurse in Alberta. The following provides a summary of registration and application requirements for internationally educated nurses who have in interest in obtaining a CARNA practice permit. For more details on nursing regulation in Alberta and registration requirements please refer to Registration Requirements in Alberta.

Application and registration requirements in Alberta include:

1. English language competence evidence

2. Identity confirmation

3. Graduation from a generalist registered nursing education program (educational transcripts)

4. Achievement of registered nurse registration (registration verifications from licensing bodies)

5. Good character, reputation evidence (registration is in good standing; and applicant declaration)

6. Currency of nursing practice (applicant documentation of nursing practice/experience)

7. Fitness to practice (applicant declaration)

8. Evidence of substantially equivalent competence to that expected of the RN in Alberta

9. Passing the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE)

10. Satisfactory Alberta employer reference(s)

There are three (3) steps in the registration process for an internationally educated nurse (IEN) to become a Registered Nurse in Alberta.

Step One: Apply for assessment of eligibility for registration in Alberta

The assessment looks at whether an IEN applicant possesses the competencies to fulfill the roles and responsibilities of the RN in the Canadian health care system and determines whether the IEN is eligible to proceed with completing registration requirements. Under Alberta legislation and regulations an IEN applicant is assessed for substantially equivalent competence to that expected of the Alberta graduate and the registered nurse in Alberta. The expected competencies are outlined in the CARNA Entry to Practice Competencies document

The Application for Assessment of Eligibility for Registration

All required documentation must be received by CARNA before the assessment process begins.

During assessment, an applicant may be required to complete a Substantially Equivalent Competency (SEC) assessment. This assessment occurs in Alberta at one of the IEN Assessment Centres of Mount Royal University.


At the end of the assessment process, CARNA notifies the applicant whether or not they are eligible to proceed with meeting the requirements for registration as a registered nurse in Alberta.

The possible assessment decisions are:

i. The applicant is currently eligible to write the CRNE and eligible to hold temporary registration, allowing them to work as a graduate nurse while completing the remaining requirements for registration outlined in Step Two. This decision is made when substantially equivalent competence is determined following review of application documents or as established through the results of a SEC assessment.

In some cases, the applicant is notified of their eligibility for restricted temporary registration and a restricted temporary permit. The applicant will be permitted to work as a graduate nurse with very specific restrictions on their practice. Certain conditions, which may include completing a SEC assessment and/or additional nursing education, must be met within defined time frames before they will be eligible to proceed write the CRNE.

ii. Eligibility for registration is deferred.The applicant must successfully complete additional nursing education assigned by CARNA before they will be eligible to complete the remaining requirements for registration outlined in Step Two. Additional education is required to address any competency gaps found in nursing theory or skills or currency of practice found during the review of application documents or as established through the results of a SEC assessment.

iii. The application is refused and the applicant is not eligible for registration. This decision is made when nursing education and/or registration status do not meet CARNA's application requirements or if extensive competency gaps are identified during the review of application documentation or as established through the results of a SEC assessment.

Step Two: Successfully completing the remaining requirements for registration as a registered nurse

This step includes:

  • Passing the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE) in not more than 3 attempts,

and

  • Demonstrating safe, competent, ethical nursing practice by working as a graduate nurse in Alberta with a temporary permit and obtaining satisfactory employer reference(s). Applicants apply for a temporary permit in order to work as a graduate nurse.

Holding temporary registration is not required to write the CRNE. However, since the CRNE can only be written in Canada, temporary registration allows the applicant to work while preparing for and sitting the examination.

Temporary registration can be held for not more than a total of 18 months regardless of whether the temporary registration is with or without restrictions.

Step Three: Applying for RN registration with CARNA

On completing the requirements of Step Two, the applicant is eligible to apply for full registered nurse (RN) registration and a full RN practice permit with CARNA.

Application and Registration Process Timelines: An application for assessment and/or registration with CARNA will be considered lapsed if there is no evidence of progress toward meeting application and/or registration requirements for two (2) years. This includes acting on eligibility to write the CRNE and/or applying for a temporary practice permit. To reactivate a lapsed file, an applicant will be required to submit a new application and fee and updated documentation. File documents will be securely destroyed after six (6) years of inactivity (four (4) years after the date they are considered lapsed).