How to apply for NCLEX | Step by step guide to register for NCLEX | Foreign Nursing Graduates

    The US is now gearing up to recruit 1.1 million nurses by 2022, increasing your leverage to get hired before 2022 by getting licensed as a USRN because employers hire USRNs first. Be smart and proactive, and get licensed now! But before you hit the road to achieving your USRN dream, you need to plan the NCLEX application process.

    General NCLEX USA information

    The NCLEX examinations in the US are administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc., or NCSBN Inc. NCSBN regulates 50 State Boards of Nursing or SBON and US territories such as the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. Each state has different NCLEX processes, requirements, qualifications, and fees. One candidate may qualify for one state while another may not, as it depends on their level of education, work experience, and many other requirements.

    What are the steps of the NCLEX exam?

    A typical NCLEX RN or NCLEX PN Application process for foreign nurses consists of the following phases:

    STEP 1: Choosing a state for NCLEX
    Since each state in the US has a different set of processes for NCLEX, the candidate must undergo a pre-qualification process- that is used to identify which state the candidate qualifies for based on their level of education, work experience, and career goals or objectives before proceeding to the application process. Aside from that, the pre-qualification process also identifies the requirements the candidate needs to prepare for their NCLEX application.

    STEP 2: Send your papers to the Credentialing Body/Nursing Board for evaluation

    Once you are pre-qualified and have already determined the best state for you to take the NCLEX, your next step is to send your school documents and other credentials for evaluation. The credentialing body will check the candidate’s documents' equivalency in the US education or Credential Evaluation Phase and determine if the candidate is eligible to apply for exam licensure to a specific State Board of Nursing or Eligibility Phase.

    But take note: Not all states undergo the Pre eligibility or Credential Evaluation Phase. Some states go directly to the Eligibility Phase since each state varies in the application process.

    STEP 3: Once your application is approved and NRB deems you eligible, you can register for ATT.  

    The candidate will receive an Authorization To Test or ATT notification once the nursing board approves the ATT application. Note: ATT validity varies for each state.

    Step 4: Once ATT is approved, you can proceed with the exam scheduling.

    You can choose your preferred exam schedule that suits your ATT validity.

    Step 5:  Take your NCLEX

    On the day of your exam, plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your exam and bring one form of acceptable identification. If you are late or arrive at the test center without acceptable identification, you will be turned away and may either submit a Reapplication to the board or register again for ATT or do both. You will also need to pay again for another exam fee.

    Step 6:  Claim your exam result

    Some candidates may access their unofficial NCLEX results two business days after taking their exam. However, the NCLEX results in the Quick Results Service do not authorize you to practice as a licensed/registered nurse. Only the nursing regulatory body you applied to can release your official results.

    Not all states will mail you a copy of your candidate report or pass letter. Some states require the candidate to request a copy from the SBON to be able to receive it.

    STEP 7: Get your License or apply for a license application

    Not all BON will grant you a license immediately after you pass the NCLEX exam; some will ask you to complete a license application beforehand. For some states that require a license application, there are options for submitting that you can choose. These include - mail-in or applying online, depending on your BON requirement.

    Due to this incredibly complex, confusing, and decentralized licensure application process for NCLEX, candidates like you are advised to seek assistance from a specialized application preparation center like NEAC Medical Exams Application Center.

    So if you want to know:

    • Which state are you qualified to take your NCLEX,
    • What states are easier, faster, or more cost-effective to apply,
    • The requirements and the cost of applying to a certain state

    Then contact us by clicking the link below and get a free initial assessment of your documents online. Remember NEAC does everything for you once you are ready to apply to NCLEX! If you’re interested to know about the NCLEX RN/PN USA Exam Application, kindly email us at

    Or live Chat with our experts online, they will answer your questions.

    *This content was generated partially using NCSBN Official Website content.


    1 comment

    • hello! would like to know what’s the requirement in colorado for RN. thank u

      princess bernabe

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