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Foreign Educated Nurses

United States Licensure Requirements

There is a two-step process for obtaining a registered nurse license here in the United States. This process is SEPARATE from the process necessary for obtaining a work visa. For information regarding temporary or permanent visas, contact the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

First Step:

Contact the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). CGFNS prescreens foreign-educated nurses wishing to practice in the U.S. Prescreening involves a review of the nurses' education; licensure in the home country; English language proficiency testing; and a predictor exam that provides an indicator of the nurse's ability to pass the U.S. national licensure exam (NCLEX).

Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools 
3600 Market Street, Suite 400 

Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651 
U.S.A. 
Telephone: 215-222-8454 
Fax: 215-662-0425 

Second Step:

In the U.S., every nurse must meet additional state requirements and take the NCLEX as established by the State Board of Nursing. Each state has its own Board of Nursing. There are some state boards of nursing that will accept the Canadian Nurses Association Testing Service (CNATS) or the Canadian Registered Nurses Examination (CRNE). There are also a few state boards of nursing that will directly endorse foreign educated nurses who have never take the NCLEX. Because this information can change, it is necessary to contact the state board of nursing to determine if they have a policy regarding direct endorsement for foreign-educated nurses.

For additional information and contact information for a specific state board of nursing, contact the National Council for State Boards of Nursing.

National Council of State Boards of Nursing 
676 N. St. Clair, Suite 550 
Chicago, IL 60611-2921 
U.S.A. 
Telephone: 312-787-6555 
Fax: 312-787-6898

ANA Testifies on Registered Nurse Immigration

06/17/08
The American Nurses Association (ANA) testified on Capitol Hill Thursday, June 12 on the issue of registered nurse immigration. ANA senior policy fellow Cheryl Peterson, MSN, RN spoke before the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law on the issue of foreign-educated nurses. 

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