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American Nursing Association
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Canadian and Foreign Trained Nurses

Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGNFS) Qualifying examination.

This exam is required from graduates of nursing schools located outside of the United States of America who are interested in practicing as registered nurses in the U.S.

The CGNFS qualifying examination is a test of the candidates’ nurse knowledge and their understanding and use of the english language. They will be awarded a CGNFS Certificate when they have passed both the nursing section and english language section of the examination.

To be allowed to work as a registered nurse, the candidate must have a license in the state they desire to work. Licenses are issued by the Boards of Nursing in the particular state the individual is to work. For that, candidates must pass the state licensing examinations (NCLEX). Most Boards of Nursing require a foreign nurse graduate to get the CGNFS certificate first.

The CGNFS qualifying examination is multiple choice, objective test. It is made up of three test booklets: two for testing nursing knowledge and one for testing english language ability. The duration of the test is one day.

This exam is given three times a year on the same day all around the world.

Applications and forms can be obtained from CGNFS:

Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
3600 Market Street, Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651
Phone (215) 222-8454
Fax (215) 662-0425

Registering for the NCLEX Examination:

The registration fee for the NCLEX examination is US $200.00 (standard price). Registration may be done over the web, mail or phone .

Once a foreign-trained applicant has completed the requirements of CGNFS then the candidate may apply for licensure in the State of their choice. They will apply to the chosen state by examination by submitting a complete license application, fee, and all other requested documents (see licensing screens for the other required documentation). After a license application is approved by the State Licensing Board to which the candidate applies and registration for the NCLEX examination is complete, the candidate will receive an “Authorization to Test”. After receiving the authorization letter, the candidate may schedule NCLEX examination appointment through the NCLEX Candidate Web Site contact Pearson VUE Customer Service to register for a location most convenient and to register for the exam. The Candidate has 30 days to register from the receipt of the authorization to test letter.

A maximum of 5 hours is allowed for a candidate to complete the exam. The exam is computer based.

NCLEX Examination Results

The candidate will not receive the results at the test site. Results are mailed (normal mail only) directly to the board within 48 hours after the candidate has completed the examination. If the candidate fails the examination, he/she may take the exam up to a maximum of 4 times. There must be 91 test free days between each examination.

State Boards of RN Licensing

Once the board receives the passing examination scores, the candidate will be issued a permanent license. Please see the licensing screens, some states issue temporary licenses to examination candidates to practice while pending their exam scores.

For foreign-trained candidates already licensed in the US and have already taken the NCLEX examination, may apply to other State licensing boards by endorsement. Most States require the applicant to submit a completed application, fee, and verification from Examination State. Please also look at the attached “RN/LPN Licensure Time Frame” chart for turn around times on verifications, temporary licenses, and permanent licenses. Please keep in mind that these time frames are only estimated and are subject to change any time.

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