Process for FNGs
In order to work as a nurse in the USA you have to obtain a license to practice nursing and then apply for a US Visa/Green Card. In the USA nurses are licensed by each state. Due to this you have to decide which state you are interested in and then meet the requirements put forth by that state's professional licensing organisation inorder to obtain a license to practice in that state.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) website has contact information for the individual State Boards of Nursing(BONs): http://www.ncsbn.org/regulation/boardsofnursing_boards_of_nursing_board.asp. Contact the state board for requirements for licensure. In general the licensing requirements involve the following:
- Complete Credentials Verification
- Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam
- Apply to and obtain License from State BON (Board of Nursing)
Once you have the license you are ready to apply for a US Visa/Green Card:
- Pass one of the English Language Exams
- Apply and obtain a Visa Screen Certificate
The Visa Screen certificate can then be attached to your US Visa/Green Card application. Although the obtaining the Visa Screen is the last step in this process you might want to consider starting the process first even before you obtain the license as it takes a long time for the Visa Screen from CGFNS and usually there is enough time to obtain the license before CGFNS has had the time to start looking at your licensing credentials.
Each state typically requires a Credentials Verification process to be completed. This involves an independent verification authority that would verify all the educational credentials supplied by the candidate and then certify whether or not those credentials are valid. The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) is one of the independent verification authority that is used. However, some states use other independent verification authorities to do the Credentials Verification process.
NCLEX - RN
The NCLEX-RN exam is conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). In the U.S. one has to obtain the license from the individual states to practice nursing. The NCLEX-RN exam is the licensure exam that is recognized by the states.
After the Credentials Verification process is completed you are eligible to appear for the NCLEX-RN exam. Pearson VUE conducts the NCLEX-RN exam on behalf of NCSBN.
The following link has more information from NCSBN about the NCLEX-RN exam: http://www.ncsbn.org/pdfs/Web_Bulletin_05.pdf
Obtain License from the State BON
Once one passes the NCLEX-RN and have completed the Credential Verifications process through the recommended agency by the State Board of Nursing then that state will issue a license.
English Language Exam
The most popular English language exam that is used to certify English Language Proficieny is TOEFL, Test of English as a Foreign Language. Some states use other Exams like IELTS (International English Language Testing System ) or TOEIC (Test of English for International Communications).
Visa Screen Certificate
The VisaScreen Certificate is issued by the International Commission on Healthcare Professions (ICHP) – a division of CGFNS. The VisaScreen program is comprised of an educational analysis, licensure validation, English language proficiency assessment, and passing the NCLEX-RN exam. The VisaScreen Certificate needs to be attached to any application to the US Embassy to immigrate to the USA.