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The CGFNS Certification Process

The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) is an independent, private, non-profit organization established in 1977 to evaluate graduates of nursing schools located outside of the United States who are interested in practicing as registered nurses in the United States.

A CGFNS certificated is needed for an immigrant occupational-preference visa and admission to take the RN licensing exam (the NCLEX-RN exam). Approximately 80% of the states in the U.S. require international nurses to obtain a CGFNS certificate in order to receive permission to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Notable exceptions are California, Florida, and New York. For specific information, contact the State Board of Nursing for the state in which you want to work in.

A 2-Step Process


Step 1: Credentials Evaluation

To be eligible for CGFNS certification,

1) you must be a graduate of a 2-year, government-approved general nursing program

2) you must have a valid license to practice general nursing in the country where you were educated.

Step 2: The Examination

The CGFNS examination is offered three times a year at locations in the U.S. and abroad. Applications are due 3-4 months before your preferred exam date.

The BCIS

It is also important to learn about the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) and how this organization sets the rules for admitting foreign-born persons into the United States.

Contact Information


To start the CGFNS certification process, you should contact:

The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
3600 Market Street
Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA
19104-2651 USA
Phone: 215-349-8767
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