How to Work In The U.S as a Foreign-Educated Nurse

8-Steps To Work In The U.S. As A Nurse

There are eight key steps foreign-educated nurses will need to take in order to obtain a position as an RN in a U.S. hospital.

Meet the educational requirements

Take and pass an English language proficiency test, if mandated.

Obtain credential evaluation

Pass your National Council Licensing Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX – RN)

Find a nursing recruiting agency or US-based employer

Apply and obtain an RN immigrant visa/green card

RN visa interview and medical examination

Accept an RN position

English Language Proficiency Tests

After meeting the initial education requirements, some foreign educated nurses must take and pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). This will vary depending on the country of origin and results are sent directly to the state nursing board.

Nurses who went to nursing school in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada (except Quebec), or Ireland are exempt as are those whose spoken language in nursing school was English and/or the nursing school textbooks were written in English.


First and foremost, international educated nurses must meet basic education requirements. These include:

Graduation from an accredited Registered Nursing program

Licensing as a Registered Nurse (RN)

Experience practicing as an RN for at least two years

Licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, and patient care assistants are not eligible to transfer their licenses to the United States.

Pass The NCLEX Examination

After ensuring you meet the education and language requirements it’s time to apply for the NCLEX in the state of intended employment. Registration with Pearson Vue is required and costs $200 plus additional foreign fees.

According to the webpage, NCLEX examinations are currently administered in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan.


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