Guide for Foreign Nurses

If you are a licensed nurse in another country, this guide will help you in becoming a registered nurse in the U.S. Licensure requirements differ from state to state. Please check links to specific state for more details.

1. The RN must be in possession of:

  •  A diploma from a nursing school in his/her country;
  •  2 or more years experience;
  •  An RN license in home country; and
  •  An unrestricted license to practice professional nursing in the state of intended employment, or a certification issued by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), or evidence that she has passed the NCLEX-RN licensing examination but cannot obtain a license because she lacks a social security number.
  • Some states require that foreign nurses pass the CGFNS examination before taking the state RN licensing (NCLEX) examination; however, the number of states is declining. This is because, it now possible to take the NCLEX outside of U.S. The examination is offered in Australia (Sydney), Canada (Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver), Great Britain (London), Hong Kong, India (Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi), Japan (Chiyoda-ku and Yokohama), Korea (Seoul), Germany (Frankfurt), Mexico (Mexico City), Philippines (Manila) and Taiwan (Taipei). In addition, RNs may take the NCLEX in Puerto Rico, Guam and Saipan. (more…)

English Language Proficiency

Unless the nurse was educated in an English-speaking country (U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, United Kingdom or Canada – all provinces except Quebec), she must achieve a  minimum score on tests in written and spoken English administered by TOEFL (Test Of English As A Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing Service) or the TOEIC (Test of English in International Communications). If the RN was registered for the MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery) before Nov. 27, 2002, the result may be sent to the CGFNS for VisaScreen purposes.

The passing scores for RNs on English exams are as follows:

IELTS: Academic Module or the General Training Module – 6.5, Overall Band Score, 7.0 for Speaking

TOEFL: Paper-Based 540; TOEFL Computer-Based 207; Test of Written English (TWE) 4.0; Test of Spoken English (TSE) 50.

TOEIC: 725; plus TWE: 4.0 and TSE: 50

For information about taking the TOEFL, IELTS and TOEIC examinations can be obtained from their web sites.

The passing scores for the MELAB are as follows: Final Score 79+; Oral Interview 3+.

Nurses from these countries are exempted from the English Language Examination: (more…)