Friday, August 19, 2005

NCLEX California Guide
(For Foreign Nurses)

~Step-by-step Procedure ~

~Getting started ~

How to get application form:

1. Please visit

2. Click the Licensure and Examination. (on the left side)

3. Then, Click the option Licensure by examination.

4. Lastly, click the Application for Licensure by Examination (PDF file)

5. Print the form.

My remarks:

I suggest that you print pages 1-22 only because pages 23-24 are just list of review centers in the USA, which is not applicable for all of us. Read carefully all the instruction. I suggest that you start processing your application since California NCLEX processing takes more or less 6 months to process.

How to acquire and accomplish the Fingerprint card:


1. E mail the Board of Registered Nursing:

2. Your e-mail must include “request for fingerprint card” as email subject, your name and your complete address (don’t forget your zip code).

3. Start by emailing them and request for Fingerprint card so that they will send you 2pcs of FBI fingerprint card.

4. The fingerprint card is expected to arrive 2-3weeks after they received your email.

5. Bring it to National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

How to apply for Request for Transcript and Breakdown for Educational Program
for International Nursing Programs

1. Go to your school where you graduated and bring your two forms:
a. Request for Transcript
b. Breakdown for Educational Program for International Nursing Program

2. Pay for Certification (P100 for Emilio Aguinaldo Graduates)

3. Then proceed to the Nursing Department and present the following:
a. Official receipt
b. Photocopy Related Learning Experience (RLE) Record
c. Original or photocopy Transcript of Records (I suggest give the original.)
d. Request for Transcript and Breakdown for Educational Program for International Nursing Program forms

4. Wait for the release. This may take more or less 5 working days.

5. If your forms are accomplished, have your papers authenticated, this is if you did not submit original TOR and RLE Records. Proceed to the cashier pay for Authentication Fee (P25 per pages-EAC).

6. Then submit the forms and the receipts to the registrars office.

My remarks: Don’t forget to ask for envelope! Everything must be authenticated!

And you’re done!!!

Examination Application Requirements Checklist

Applicants must provide the following:

 Appropriate fee

 Completed Application for Licensure by Examination

 Completed fingerprints card

 One recent 2” x 2” passport-type picture

 Request For Transcript Form completed and forwarded directly from the nursing school with certified transcript

 Breakdown of Educational Program for International Nursing Programs form

 Submit a copy of your license or diploma

 Photocopy of your license card

 Board rating from PRC, and board certificate for foreign purposes(P75)

Board Address and Website

Mailing address: Board of registered Nursing
P. O. Box 944210
Sacramento, CA 94244-2100

Street Address for overnight
or in-person delivery: Board of Registered Nursing
400 R Street, Suite 4030
Sacramento, Ca 95814-6239

Web site:

Application Fee Schedule

Application for licensure by examination only

Application fee----------$ 75.00
One Fingerprint card-----$ 32.00
TOTAL FEE $107.00

by Geminelle_RN
This will facilitate the licensure to CALIFORNIA for filipino nurses who would prefer to take the NCLEX®. And not take CGFNS.

The National Council License Exam (NCLEX®) is a test that each nurse must pass in order to obtain a license to practice nursing in the state where they will work. In the United States, licensing is under the authority of each individual state, not the federal government. Nurses cannot apply directly to the NCLEX®, but must apply through one of the states.

State requirements for foreign educated nurse

Each state has unique laws and regulations for Registered Nurses. Differences are apparent between states in requirements for foreign educated nurses. For example, California and Nevada have very different requirements . California does not require that a foreign educated nurse have passed the CGFNS exam in order to apply for licensure. California does require that the nurse undergo a credential review by specialists within their agency. This means that foreign nurses must have their transcripts from their nursing school sent directly to the California Board of Nursing as well as documents verifying their license from the licensing authority in their country. Unfortunately, California will not accept the Visa Screen by the CGFNS or any other credential evaluation. They will review a copy of a credential certificate from another source, but California still must complete their own review of the transcript. Since the immigration law specifically requires the Visa Screen, foreign nurses applying for licensure in California, must be credentialed twice, and have the forms and transcripts sent to both California and the CGFNS. CGFNS will not accept the California Board of Nursing Credential Review. Neither California or the CGFNS will recognize their respective credential review, leaving the foreign nurse with two sets of fees, the potential for delays when documents are not received, etc. The most common cause for delays in the completion of the credentialing by both agencies is not receiving the required documents from the licensing agency and also from the nursing school in a timely manner. Note: As of this July 2002, California is now requiring the foreign educated nurse applicant to provide a valid social security number. California will only issue a temporary license without the social security number. Unfortunately, the INS will not accept a temporary license to file the I-140 and/or adjustment of status. As long as this situation exists, I would not recommend foreign educated nurses apply in California for purposes of filing the I-140 unless they are also a CGFNS test passer. If they are a CGFNS test passer with a pass on TOEFL, the I-140 petition can be filed. Then if a concurrent adjustment of status and EAD is filed, the nurse can apply for the social security card after the EAD is received in about 90 days. Then....with the social security card, the nurse can obtain the full license. However, with the temp license and the social security card, the nurse can begin to work.

Application forms from various agencies can be difficult to complete. Some of the applications forms are written in language that native speakers, find confusing, let alone someone who has English as a second language. In addition, when the foreign educated nurse, who is residing abroad tries to phone these licensing agencies, they often get busy signals as well as long waits. This can be expensive and frustrating.
Taking the NCLEX® in Guam or Saipan

Some Philippine nurses who have passed the CGFNS exam as well as those who have not taken the CGFNS exam, will seek to take the NCLEX® in either Gaum or Saipan or will obtain a US Tourist Visa and travel to the US to sit for the NCLEX® exam. Saipan does not currently require a US tourist visa for Philippine nurses traveling to take NCLEX® and staying only 3 days. However, the test site can only handle 6 nurses taking NCLEX® per day. Guam does require a US tourist visa. However, with the actual paper approving the nurse to take the NCLEX® in Guam, the US Embassy has in the past, been approving nurses for tourist visa to travel to Gaum for NCLEX®. Guam can handle 12 or more NCLEX® test takers each day. The NCLEX® organization is in a one year long process of changing from the Chauncy company that run the test sites. This might mean improvements in test site capacity. It also may result in other international test sites being opened in such cities as Manila. As of August 16, 2002, new test sites and phone numbers for Guam and Saipan. Please read this article, written by Meladee M. Stankus, President of Nurse Immigration USA. Click Here For More. as well as the NCS Pearson VUE web site.

The CGFNS exam is becoming less attractive to US employers

Applying for the CGFNS exam, waiting two months for the exam and obtaining the results two to three months after the exam, can take a nurse up to 6 months or even one year to complete. Test results take so long to be mailed to the nurse, that the deadline for the next exam will have passed. This means that a failure to achieve a score of 400, and the nurse must apply for the next exam. Then that nurse will have a another one year wait for the results of that exam. CGFNS exam results are not published/mailed to the nurse until after the expiration date for application the next exam. In addition, the CGFNS exam is expensive and it is only given three times per year. Last year, in Manila , Philippines, several thousand Philippine nurses completed the CGFNS exam. CGFNS does not publish the pass /fail rate for various countries. Current CGFNS application test fees are $295.00 However, one can estimate that Philippine nurses are projected by this writer to be providing at least $3,000,000 annually in revenue to the CGFNS for exams. Additional fees of $325.00 are paid for Visa Screen to the ICHP, a division of the CGFNS. If only 2000 Visa Screen application are sent from the Philippines annually, a very conservative estimate, that would represent $625,000 of additional revenue provided by Philippine nurses to the CGFNS.
Although, the CGFNS exam certificate will allow for the filing of the I-140,with an US employee sponsor, some US employees will require that the nurse pass the NCLEX® prior to departing and arriving in the US to start employment. At one point in the past, the CGFNS web site asserted that the foreign educated nurses who obtained a passing score on the CGFNS exam, was predicted have an 85% probability of passing NCLEX®. However, US employers are learning this is questionable. In fact, the published statistics from the NCLEX® indicated that all foreign educated nurses pass NCLEX® at a rate of about 40%. The CGFNS is a "paper and pencil" examination. The CGFNS exam may have a multiple choice question on a subject. The NCLEX® is a test taken on a computer and claims to evaluate the test takers ability in critical thinking on the various subjects. The nurse test taker must be able to identify the implications of signs and symptoms and what action is required of the nurse. The NCLEX® requires knowledge of the US nursing role as well as the role of personnel such as LPN’s. This will be a challenge to a foreign educated nurse who has not worked in US hospital.

The NCLEX® is a Computer Adaptive Test. The NCLEX® is unique test of experience which uses advanced computer programming. This allows the test to increase levels of difficulty for the individual test, depending upon correct and incorrect responses to various questions. For example, if an exam question on cardiac pharmacology is missed, the test can select other questions in that subject for that individual test taker. With this approach, each set of questions will vary amongst different test takers. In addition, the test program is scoring and evaluating after each question. A test taker who gives incorrect responses to a certain number of questions, will find the computer shuts down with a message that the test is over. Conversely, the test taker who has answered sufficient number of questions correctly ….will have the same experience. In both cases, the test taker is not told of the reason the test is "complete" and only finds out when official test results are available. This can result in a few sleepless nights for all individuals. Some will get the good news that they passed, others will get bad news.
Hospitals are discovering that the nurses who take NCLEX® after passing the CGFNS ,may not pass NCLEX®. Once the nurse has not passed the NCLEX®, the nurse must wait 90 days before retaking and about $200.00 in additional fees must be paid . US hospital employers are quickly learning to require a thorough and specialized NCLEX® review course prior to the NCLEX® examination. Some are actually requiring the foreign nurse hire who has passed the CGFNS exam, to obtain NCLEX® in Guam or Saipan prior to arrival in US, This is seen of late in advertising by foreign nurse recruitment agencies literature and web sites, that seek to provide foreign nurses to US employers. I believe that when NCLEX® is given internationally, that very few nurses will seek to take the CGFNS exam. There is an increasing trend for US employers to pay the fees for all test and requirements for foreign nurse hires. This is due to the competition for qualified nurses. If the employer has to choose between the CGFNS exam or the NCLEX®, employers will choose NCLEX®. Obviously, the employer will then have a known "RN" product. Those nurses who are currently arriving with the green card, and have only the CGFNS exam and must take NCLEX® in US, are facing delays until they can assume RN work. This foreign educated nurse may only work in a limited capacity because of these delays. If the nurse passes NCLEX® the first time, this delay may only be months. If the first exam is not passed, that delay may be months or years.

Licensure by Endorsement

Those nurses who apply to take the NCLEX® exam through a state like Arizona that does not have a requirement of having passed the CGFNS exam, may intend to apply for endorsement into another state that does require the CGFNS. Thereby, the foreign educated nurse who has not passed the CGFNS exam, first applies to a state like Arizona. Then, after obtaining the Arizona license, seeks endorsement into this other state. Not all states provide for endorsement and the applicant must research each state and the exact requirements for endorsement.

U.S. Permanent Residence (Green Card) for Foreign Nurses

Foreign Nurses that have passed the CGFNS exam or are certified as an NCLEX-RN, can qualify to obtain permanent residence, with our assistance, whether they are residing inside or outside the U.S. In addition, we can help foreign nurses find qualified employers to sponsor application for permanent residence. CGNFS or NCLEX-RN certified foreign nurses belong to the third preference group in employment-based immigration. This category requires employer sponsorship and means only the employer (hospital, nursing home etc.) may apply for permanent residence for foreign nurses. Unlike most of the employment-based immigration application, employers are exempted from filing labor certification, an often lengthy and cumbersome process with the U.S. Labor Department and State Employment Agency.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS AND QUALIFICATIONWhether applying outside U.S. or within, the nurse must possess:

1. A diploma from a nursing school in her country

2. A license to practice nursing in her country

3. An unrestricted license in a state of intended employment, or a certification that she has passed either the U.S. licensing examination (NCLEX-RN) but cannot obtain the license for lack of a social security number, or she has passed the examination given by Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).

4. Visa Screen Certificate (see below)


Please note majority of the states require foreign nurses to pass CGFNS before taking the NCLEX-RN. The following are the states with such requirement:Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.


Nurses who have passed the NCLEX-RN in states that do not require CGFNS may acquire the license of another state through endorsements. Each state's Board of Nursing has its web site that lists the requirement on endorsement.


Most states in the U.S. require nurses to present social security number in order to take NCLEX-RN. Some states allow foreign nurses to take the examination but will not grant license if the nurse cannot provide a social security number or individual tax ID. Since end of 2003, IRS (Internal Revenue Service) no longer issues tax ID without proof of tax return. This virtually shut the door to licensure for foreign nurses thereby to employment immigration since few employers are willing to sponsor a nurse who has no U.S. license.

Currently, New York and New Hampshire do not require social security number or tax ID as requirement for licensure. Nor do they require CGFNS examination as required by majority of the states. Foreign nurses should present their credentials to CGFNS for certification/evaluation and, upon certification, become eligible for NCLEX and licensure.

As NCLEX-RN will be administered first time in Hong Kong, Korea, and England in 2005, the above method is crucial for nurses who are unable to enter U.S. for NCLEX. Please refer to the web sites of CGFNS, Nursing Board of New York , and New Hampshire for details.


As a practical matter, a foreign nurse in the U.S. can start her immigration application and receive employment earlier than a nurse residing outside the U.S.

The application begins by an employer filing immigration petition (Form I-140) to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service, BCIS (former Immigration and Naturalization Service). The application should include documents listed above and other supporting documents as well as filing fee. To speed up the process, BCIS allows concurrent filing of application for adjustment of status (Form I-485) and employment authorization (Form I-765) for both the nurse and her spouse and unmarried children under 21. It may take at least over a year, depending on where the nurse resides, for the nurse to receive the approval of adjustment and later the green card. Concurrent filing of the above application will allow the nurse to receive employment authorization hence start to work while waiting for approval of the adjustment.

For the nurse who lives outside the U.S., the process begins when the employer submits the immigration petition (I-140). Upon approval of the petition, BCIS will send the approval notice to National Visa Center (NVC). If there is no backlog for immigration quota, NVC will forward a packet of requested information to the nurse or her attorney. The nurse sends in the information to the American consulate and awaits appointment for physical examination, fingerprints, and interview. Upon successful completion of the interview, the nurse, her spouse, and minor children will receive their immigrant visas.

The requested information, for visa application and interview, by American consulate varies slightly from country to country. So does the interview procedure. This is particularly true after the event of September 11. Basically, the nurse is required to provide the following documents:
1. Birth certificate
2. Marriage certificate when applicable
3. Divorce or death certificate of spouse when applicable
4. Medical examination
5. Proof of job offer,
6. Financial information of the employer
7. Police clearance
8. Application
9. Application fees
10. Valid passport
11. Photographs
12. Visa screen certificate


The VSC is issued to the nurse by International Commission on Health Professionals (ICHP) to certify that her education and license meets the U. S. standard; that she possesses the level of competency in oral and written English required to practice nursing; that she has passed the nursing examination given by CGFNS.

RN State Licensing Boards: Contact Information And Web Sites

NCLEX Examination
The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)


Unless the nurse received her nursing instruction in the U.S. United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Canada, she needs to show her language proficiency by taking one of the following examinations:
TOEFL (test of English as foreign language) IELTS (International English Language Testing Service), and TOEIC (Test of English in International Communications).

The passing scores for the nurse to be certified by CGFNS:TOEFL: paper based 540; computer based 207; TSE (test of spoken English) 50; TWE (test of written English) 4.0IELTS: written (academic module)6.5; spoken band 7.0