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

nclex exam application guide

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 pro active and get licensed now! But before you hit the road to achieve 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 Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. Each state has different sets of NCLEX processes, requirements, qualifications, and fees per state. One candidate may qualify to one state while another candidate 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 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 based on their level of education, work experience, and career goals, or objectives prior to proceeding to the application process. Aside from that, the pre-qualification process also identifies the list of requirements the candidate needs to prepare for his/her NCLEX application.

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

Once you are pre-qualified and 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 terms of 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 phase or Credential Evaluation Phase. Some states go directly to the Eligibility Phase since each state varies in terms of the application process.

STEP 3: Once your application is approved and NRB deems you eligible, you can now 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 now proceed with the exam scheduling.

You can choose your preferred exam schedule that is suitable within 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.

Busting an NCLEX myth! 

Will the NCLEX be easier in different states? Well, It’s a myth! Because no matter which state or testing site you chose, everyone takes the same NCLEX test.

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, and only the nursing regulatory body to which you applied can release your official results. 

Plus, 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.

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 you are qualified to take your NCLEX,
  • What states are easier, faster, or 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

*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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