One of the reasons many people choose a career in nursing is the mobility it offers due to the fact that medical personnel are in demand everywhere. However, local licensing requirements often hinder nurses from moving freely. Foreign-born and educated nurses face more paperwork and screening requirements from state nursing boards in the U.S. than any other license applicants.

Below, you will find four common state nursing board requirements of foreign-born and educated nursing graduates.

1. Proof of Citizenship or Lawful Presence in the U.S.

Most state nursing boards will have a list of requirements for U.S. and non-U.S. citizens on their websites. Foreign-born nurses who have already become citizens may need to provide naturalization documents, certificate of citizenship, etc. Foreign-born nurses who have not become citizens may need to provide documents such as the I-551 Permanent Resident Card or the I-766 Employment Authorization Card.

2. Language Competency

Often, states will require proof of English language proficiency. This usually occurs when a nursing graduate attended a school where English is not used for instruction or is from a country or territory where English is not the primary language (i.e., parts of Canada or Republic of the Philippines). The Test of English as a Foreign Language and the International English Language Testing System are commonly used.

3. U.S. Social Security Number

In many states, a U.S. Social Security Number is a mandatory requirement (i.e., Hawaii, Indiana, or Maine). Other states, however, may allow a request for exemption (i.e., Delaware).

4. Transcript Evaluation

Most state nursing boards require an evaluation of transcripts from a foreign nursing school. The Credentials Evaluation Service Professional Report is the most commonly used evaluation system. The application for evaluation costs $350.00.

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