License/Certificate Renewal

General Information

Renewal Cycle

Your first California RN license is issued for two birthdays, not two years, and will expire the last day of the month following your birth date. From that date on, it will expire every two years, if renewed timely. Once a California license number is issued, it will always remain the same number whether active, inactive or delinquent. If the license lapses and is later renewed, the same license number and renewal cycle will apply.

Renewal Notices

As a courtesy, renewal notices are mailed out approximately three months prior to the expiration date of the license. If you have not received a renewal notice, you can renew online through BreEZe Online Services. To ensure receipt of renewal notices, always keep the Board informed of any changes in address of record. Registered nurses are responsible for renewing their licenses even if they do not receive a renewal notice.

Legality of Practice Between Renewal and Receipt of License

Business and Professions Code, Section 121 provides that a nurse may work pending license renewal providing the renewal fee has been submitted timely and all renewal requirements have been met. NOTE: The employer may have more stringent requirements.

Military RNs

The Board waives the renewal requirements for military personnel when they are called to active duty. Please refer to Renewal Fee Waiver for Active Duty Military Personnel for additional details.

License Status Options


This status is required for RNs who wish to practice nursing in the state of California. The licensee must submit the appropriate renewal fee and proof of 30 hours of continuing education.


This status is designated for RNs who have paid the appropriate renewal fee, but have not completed the required 30 hours of continuing education. A licensee may choose this status if they have no immediate need for an active license, but wish to avoid paying the delinquent renewal fee. A licensee cannot practice as a registered nurse in California with an inactive license.


RNs may choose to let their license expire if they no longer wish to practice nursing in the state of California. If, at a later date, the RN chooses to return to nursing and it has been less than eight years since the license expired, the RN will be required to submit the appropriate delinquent renewal fee, and proof of 30 hours of continuing education completed within the prior two-year period. If the license has been lapsed longer than eight years, the RN must submit the delinquent renewal fee, 30 hours of continuing education, and proof of competency to practice by either verification of a current active license in another state or U.S. territory, or by retaking the licensing exam.


This status is designated for RNs who have submitted an application to set their license status to retired. Per Business and Profession Section 2811.1, a licensee who is in a "retired" status may provide nursing services to the public free of charge in any public health program created by federal, state, or local law or administered by a federal, state, county, or local governmental entity, if a licensed registered nurse or nurses provide adequate medical and nursing supervision. These services shall be limited to services that the retired licensee was permitted to perform under the licensee’s active license and that the licensee is competent to perform, as determined by the supervising licensed registered nurse. A retired licensee shall not engage in any activity that requires an active registered nurse or advanced practice registered nurse license.

A licensee may reinstate a retired license to active status one time only, if the retired licensee fulfills the requirements for renewal of a license, including furnishing fingerprints, paying renewal fees, and providing evidence of the following, as applicable:

  1. For a retired licensee who has been retired for eight years or less, 30 hours of continuing education taken within the previous two-year period.
  2. For a retired licensee who has been retired for more than eight years, either a current valid active and clear registered nurse license in another state, a United States territory, or Canada, or passing the current examination for licensure.

Licensees may submit the application to retire their license online through BreEZe Online Services.

Renewal Requirements

Failure to comply with all renewal deficiencies as indicated on your BreEZe account can result in delayed processing of your online renewal. Your payment will be processed, but your renewal will be considered incomplete. Please refer to your BreEZe account for any outstanding deficiencies.

Continuing Education

All RNs in the State of California who wish to maintain an active license are required to complete 30 contact hours of continuing education for license renewal. The continuing education course(s) must be taken through a continuing education provider recognized by the Board. Please refer to Continuing Education for License Renewal for additional information.

NOTE: During the first two years immediately following initial licensure in California or other jurisdictions, licensees shall be exempt from completion of the continuing education requirements specified in Title 16, California Code of Regulations Section 1451, with the exception of the Implicit Bias requirement.


If you are renewing your license to an ACTIVE status, you are required to furnish to the Department of Justice, a full set of fingerprints, as directed by the Board for BOTH levels of service (DOJ and FBI). Failure to submit a full set of fingerprints to the DOJ on or before the date required for renewal of a license is grounds for discipline by the Board. This requirement is waived if the licensee is renewing to an INACTIVE status.

For additional information and instructions, please refer to Fingerprint Requirement for License Renewal.

Reporting Discipline/Convictions

Upon renewal of a registered nurse license, the Board requires licensees to indicate if they have had any license disciplined by a government agency or other disciplinary body; or, have been convicted of any crime in any state or U.S. territory, military court or other country since they last renewed their license. For additional information, please refer to License Discipline and Convictions.

Renewal Instructions

Licensees may renew their RN license online through BreEZe Online Services.

Licensees may not renew earlier than three months prior to the expiration date of their license.

See our Processing Times page for current timeframes.

Inactive to Active License Status

To change a license from inactive to active status, the licensee must submit proof of 30 hours of continuing education completed within the past two years, certify compliance with the fingerprint requirement, and report any license discipline/convictions. There are two ways to complete this process:

  • Online via BreEZe: Log into your BreEZe account to select "Inactive to Active" request. Online requests are processed within 72 hours if all required information is submitted with the request.
  • Submit by Email: Using the form below, you may submit your request by email. Email requests processing can take 2-4 weeks if all required information is submitted with the request.

    Inactive to Active License Form - please follow the instructions at the top of the form to submit by email

NOTE: This does not extend the expiration date. The same expiration date will apply and another 30 hours of continuing education will be required at the time of renewal.

Reinstatement of a Lapsed RN License (8-Year Renewal)

If you once held a permanent California RN license that has been expired for eight years or longer and would like to renew to active status, you may do so if you meet the following requirements:

  • Have once held a permanent registered nurse license in California (a temporary license does not qualify) that has been lapsed for eight years or longer.
  • Presently hold a current and active registered nurse license in another state, U.S. territory, or Canada.

NOTE: If your license has been expired for longer than eight years, but you do not meet the above requirements, you must apply to the Board to take the NCLEX-RN examination. Please refer to our 8-Year Retake page for information and instructions.

All applicants must download the 8-Year Renewal Application Packet and provide the following items:

  • Appropriate fees (Page 2)
  • Completed "Application for Reinstatement of a Lapsed License - 8-Year Renewal" (Page 8)
  • Proof of completion of 30 hours of Board-approved continuing education completed within the past two years (certificates are required) (Page 3)
  • Completed fingerprints using either Live Scan or fingerprint card (Hard Card) processing method (Pages 3-5)
  • License Discipline and/or Convictions certification and, if applicable, documents and/or letters explaining prior convictions or disciplinary action as directed in "Section III. Reporting License Discipline and/or Convictions" (Page 5)
  • Completed "Verification of License" form or Nursys® Verification Application if your board of nursing participates in Nursys® (Page 9)

Advanced Practice and Public Health Nurse Certificate Renewal

The following certificates require additional renewal fees:

  • Nurse Anesthetist (NA)
  • Nurse-Midwife/Furnishing (NMW/NMF)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Nurse Practitioner/Furnishing (NP/NPF)
  • Public Health Nurse (PHN)

Renewal fees for the certificates listed above are due at the same time as your RN license renewal fee.

Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse (PMH) certificates are automatically renewed in conjunction with the RN license; no additional fee or continuing education is required.

Continuing Education Provider (CEP) Number Renewal

A CEP number expires two years from the date of issuance. As a courtesy, a renewal notice is mailed to the address on record approximately three months prior to the expiration date. This renewal notice is not required to renew a CEP number and failure to receive a renewal notice does not relieve you of the responsibility to renew your provider number in a timely manner.

A delinquent fee is added to the regular renewal fee if the renewal form and fee are postmarked after the expiration date.

A CEP number that has expired and has not been renewed for two years or longer will be retired and a new application must be submitted for review and issuance of a new provider number. Courses cannot be offered under a provider number once it has expired.