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Request Inactive or Retired Status

If you plan to temporarily or permanently discontinue the practice of nursing in North Carolina, a request may be made for Inactive Status or Retired Nurse Status.

Requesting Inactive Status or Retired Status

How to submit...

  1. Access the Nurse Gateway to complete the Request Inactive Status application or Request Retired Status application
  2. Select your license
    1. Your license includes your license type (RN Permanent License or LPN Permanent License), license number, expiration date, and license status. 
  3. Select 'Request Inactive Status' or 'Request Retired Status' in the Applications tab
  4. Complete application

Fee Information: Inactive Status--There is no fee for this process; $30.00 (Retired Nurse Status)


Valid Forms of Payment

  • Credit or Debit Card; MasterCard or Visa only
  • Electronic Check (E-Check)*
    • *Per N.C.G.S. 25-3-506, a $35.00 processing fee will be charged for a Electronic Check (E-Check) on which payment has been refused by the payor bank because of insufficient funds or because the drawer did not have an account at that bank.

Inactive Status and Retired Status Requirements

Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse

  • You currently hold an active license in North Carolina
  • Your current license is within 90 days of the expiration date
  • Your license must be unencumbered

Inactive Status

If you plan to discontinue the practice of nursing in North Carolina, either permanently or temporarily, a request may be made to become inactive. Inactive Status is requested when your license is up for renewal. The request for Inactive Status MUST be made before the expiration of your current license. Once a license expires, it cannot be placed on the Inactive Status.

A nurse with an Inactive Status license is not permitted by law to practice nursing, including volunteering, in North Carolina.

Retired Status

A nurse who has retired has the option of placing his or her license on Retired Status when the license is up for renewal. The request for Retired Status MUST be made before the expiration of your current license. If a license is inactive or expires, it cannot be placed on Retired Status. 

Retired Status allows you to use the designation of either Registered Nurse - Retired or Licensed Practical Nurse – Retired. With the Retired Status, you will receive a frameable Certificate with this designation as well as a two-year subscription to the Bulletin. This Certificate will be mailed to you after the expiration date of your current license.

The Retired Status does not permit the practice of nursing, including volunteering, in North Carolina.

The Application Confirmation which serves as your official receipt will be available on your Nurse Gateway profile upon successful completion of the application process. To access, select the appropriate tile under the 'Licenses/Approval to Practice/Certifications' tab on the Home screen, then select the 'Files' tab on the License Information screen.

If your email address is listed with the North Carolina Board of Nursing, you will receive a confirmation via email verifying receipt of your online application.

Upon successful completion of the online application, you may check your application status via Nurse Gateway. Licensure information can be verified on the Board's website. The Board of Nursing’s electronic database serves the primary source of licensure information for nurses in North Carolina.

Requesting Active Status

  • You must complete the reinstatement application
  • Prior to reinstatement, a Criminal Background Check is required for all applicants who have not held a North Carolina license for six (6) months or more. The Criminal Background Check packet is mailed to the nurse upon receipt of the reinstatement application. The fingerprinting must be performed by a Law Enforcement Official. The fee for the background check is submitted to the Board along with the completed fingerprint card.
  • In addition, upon application for reinstatement, all applicants are required to attest to completion of a self assessment, learning plan, and one of the approved learning activity options during the two year period prior to reinstatement.
  • If your license is inactive for five (5) years or longer, you will be required to take a Board-Approved Refresher Course or provide evidence of active licensure in another state or jurisdiction within the five (5) years prior to reinstatement. Upon completion of the reinstatement application, you will be instructed to submit evidence of licensure in another state or jurisdiction or evidence of successful completion of a Board-Approved Refresher Course.
  • If your North Carolina license has been on Inactive Status or Retired Status for over five years and you have not been licensed in another state during the last five years, successful completion of a Board-approved refresher course is required prior to reinstating your license. The refresher course will satisfy the Continuing Competence requirement. When all required information and applications are received from you, a current license to resume the practice of nursing will be issued. Your license must be reactivated within one year of completing the refresher course in order to be considered for current license status. The Board may decline to reactivate a license if a determination of unsatisfactory ability to practice nursing is evident.

Once the Board of Nursing receives all materials for reactivation of a license, a minimum of six weeks processing time may be required.

Nurse Gateway

Last Changed 24-Jun-2020

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(919) 782-3211
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North Carolina Board of Nursing