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Licensing Requirements For Overseas Nurses Working In The Us
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U.S. Nursing license requirements for an international nurse

  • Publish Date: Posted almost 5 years ago
  • Author:by Kate Andrews

Are you an international registered nurse who wants to work in the United States?

Whether you are in the Philippines, Germany, Nepal or Australia, there are visa and paperwork requirements to consider and prepare. Of course, this can vary from one state to the next in the U.S., but there are some common elements that aspiring U.S. nurses need to know about before embarking on the journey to live and work in the U.S.

Here, the Conexus MedStaff team runs through everything you need to know about licensing requirements for international nurses. 

Professional/Graduation Certificates 

US.. healthcare employers require all nurses to have completed a state-approved nursing program or international certificate from a recognized university. Candidates with relevant international certificates are still recognized but may need to prove actual work experience in a professional institution, usually a hospital. 

It is worth noting that international workers must still seek specific licensure from the state they are hoping to work in to become fully registered. 

Passing the NCLEX-RN Examination

The National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX) is a nationally recognized examination for the licensing of U.S. nurses. It serves as a requirement across all states. The NCLEX-RN aims to determine if it is safe for you to begin practice as an entry-level nurse in the U.S. 

English language 

You will undoubtedly already know that to live and work in the U.S., you will need to pass the IELTS before your visa can be issued. 

IELTS opens a world of opportunity for international registered nurses. It is the world’s most popular English proficiency test for international study, migration, and work, with over 3 million tests taken in the last year. 

The IELTS is accepted by the U.S. Government and US Visa and Immigration department. It ensures that non-native English speakers have the required English skills and English ability to live and work in the USA. It is designed to reflect the sort of language spoken every day in an English-speaking country and will assess you on listening, reading, writing and speaking. 


Current Continued Education Units (CEUs) are required by many states for licensure by endorsement. A CEU is a unit of credit equal to 10 hours of participation in an accredited program. It’s designed for professionals with certificates or licenses to practice various professions.


Nurses need to self-report all criminal convictions, including any juvenile convictions, as well as any chemical dependencies, and functional ability deficits. 

Original Transcripts and Documentation 

Original copies of your degrees and certificates need to be provided, often direct from the institution that you got them from to mitigate the risk of fraud. Such documents may not be accepted if they are not mailed from the educational facility. 

Additional information: Levels of Nurses

The USA has requirements for different types and levels of nurses (although Conexus MedStaff usually focuses on just one - Registered Nurses). 

Registered Nurses (RN)

RNs have the largest patient/resident responsibilities, including managing a patient’s care plan and deploying main tests such as physical exams, cardiology and neonatology care. NOTE: If this fits your need as a client or skills as a nurse, get in touch with us today. Other parts of the structure include Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), plus support aides and nursing assistants.

The State-to-State Factor

Typically, your working permit/visa in the US will specify your employability in one state. Each state sets its own legislation and also has different demands for nurses operating within them. Therefore, it is always worth consulting with an expert in this field. 

Conexus MedStaff helps international nursing professionals secure their dream role in the US. We’re with you from day one, assisting with all necessary paperwork and ensuring your skills, qualifications and experience match up with our roles. 

In addition, our in-house Clinical Nurse Educators and in-house Immigration experts are here to provide care and support thorughout your journey to becoming a nurse in the U.S. In fact, we have an award-winning education program, the INPP, that supports the growth and education of our Conexus nurses.