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Ready to begin your new career as a RN in the United States? To help you achieve your goal, the team at PassportUSA has assembled the following information on applying for the National Council Licensure Examination, commonly referred to as the “NCLEX.”

Passing NCLEX is your key to getting a nursing license in any U.S. state. You can register and take NCLEX through any U.S. board of nursing and then later apply for a license in the state in which you’ll be working. So, the best advice is to take NCLEX through a State Board of Nursing that has less stringent requirements.

Before taking the exam, PassportUSA can help you choose a good state to file through; if you’ve already passed, we can endorse your NCLEX to any other U.S. state. That doesn’t mean you have to take the NCLEX again.

Choose the Right State Board of Nursing

1. It’s important to remember that the state board with which you choose to take the NCLEX is not necessarily the state you will end up working in. Instead, your work assignment will likely depend on which facility selects you. Regardless of the U.S. license you obtain, you will apply for endorsement of license for the state in which you end up being assigned.

2. When searching for a state in which to apply for the NCLEX, be careful not to select a state based on things such as the popularity of the region or even your dream work destination. Rather, consider the requirements of the state’s board of nursing for foreign nurses. If a board requires any of the following, you may consider not applying for NCLEX with that state board because it could delay your application:

  • IELTS or TOEFL results
  • Clinical experience
  • Social Security Number (SSN) to issue a license (You will have issues later if you apply to a state that will not issue a license if you don’t have a SSN)

3. For now, PassportUSA is recommending four state boards: Northern Mariana Island (a U.S. commonwealth), Illinois, Texas, and New Mexico. During your research into the NCLEX application process, you may also find other state boards that have requirements that are easy to complete.

Credential Evaluation Service Registration

If the state board you select requires a Credential Evaluation Service (CES), PassportUSA recommends using CGFNS and not other credentialing agencies; this will make it easier to apply for U.S. VisaScreen.

To submit a CES to a state board of nursing, take the following steps:

1. Complete the registration process at www.cgfns.org to get a username, password, and CGFNS number.

2. Once you have your CGFNS account information, place an order with them for a Credentials Evaluation Service Professional Report®. When ordering this report, be sure that the recipient of the report is the Board of Nursing for the U.S. state where you will apply for your NCLEX examination.

Register with Pearson VUE

It is recommended by the State Boards of Nursing that you register and pay for the NCLEX exam on Pearson VUE before submitting your state board of nursing application. Failure to do so will delay your issuance of your Authorization to Test (ATT).

1. Register with Pearson VUE at www.pearsonvue.com/nclex.

2. The validity of your Pearson VUE registration is at least 365 days.

3. Wait for your NCLEX ATT from Pearson VUE.

4. Once you receive your ATT, you will need to schedule your NCLEX examination before it expires. The ATT validity period varies by state board of nursing, so be sure to understand how the regulations of the state board of nursing through which you applied. Failure to take the exam in the allowed time period will result in the expiration of your ATT.

5. The timeframe to receive your ATT varies by state board. If you do not receive your ATT within three weeks, contact the state board through which you applied.

6. While waiting for your ATT, you should continue to study for the NCLEX. (PassportUSA can supply you with resources to prepare for the test—register now to learn how). You may also choose to attend NCLEX classes at a review center near your home.

7. You can schedule an NCLEX exam appointment at an international test center either online or over the phone by contacting Pearson VUE NCLEX Candidate Services.

8. Follow the instructions from both Pearson VUE and the board of nursing.

9. For further information on NCLEX, you can reference the NCLEX Candidate Bulletin at https://www.ncsbn.org/1213.htm.

Do your best to pass the test—this is your ticket to beginning the immigration process to the U.S.

Apply to a State Board of Nursing

1. Be sure to register with Pearson VUE before applying to any state board of nursing.

2. PassportUSA is recommending applying through one of the following four state boards: Northern Mariana Island (a U.S. commonwealth), Illinois, Texas, and New Mexico.

3. Submit an application for licensure to one of our four recommended state boards of nursing.

4. You must meet the all of the eligibility requirements of your selected board of nursing in order to take the NCLEX exam. The PassportUSA team can guide you throughout this process. If you have questions or concerns about any of the requirements, be sure to reach out to our team.

5. Follow the instructions of the state board; you may email the board, if needed.

6. Send the application fee and forms to the state board. You may also send your application to PassportUSA for review, and our team can then submit it to the state board.

Get More Information on Applying to Recommended State Boards of Nursing

To download a detailed how-to guide on applying to the Northern Mariana Island, Illinois, Texas, and New Mexico State Boards of Nursing, fill out the form below.



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