Targeting of newly synthesized integral membrane proteins to the appropriate cellular compartment is specified by discrete sequence elements, many of which have been well characterized. An understanding of the signals required to direct integral membrane proteins to the inner nuclear membrane (INM) remains a notable exception. Here we show that integral INM proteins possess basic sequence motifs that resemble 'classical' nuclear localization signals. These sequences can mediate direct binding to karyopherin-alpha and are essential for the passage of integral membrane proteins to the INM. Furthermore, karyopherin-alpha, karyopherin-beta1 and the Ran GTPase cycle are required for INM targeting, underscoring parallels between mechanisms governing the targeting of integral INM proteins and soluble nuclear transport. We also provide evidence that specific nuclear pore complex proteins contribute to this process, suggesting a role for signal-mediated alterations in the nuclear pore complex to allow for passage of INM proteins along the pore membrane.