CGFNS Certification Program®

What is the CGFNS Certification

The CGFNS Certification Program® is a three part program that consists of:

1.  A credentials evaluation of secondary education, nursing education and licensure

2.  The CGFNS Qualifying Exam®

3.  Demonstration of passing one of the accepted English language proficiency examinations

It is a requirement for licensure by some State Boards of Nursing to take the NCLEX-RN® exam.

Who orders this service?

First-level, general nurses educated outside the United States who wish to practice nursing in the United States use this service. A first-level, general nurse (as defined historically by the International Council of Nurses) is also called a registered (RN) or a professional nurse in some countries.

Second-level nurses are not eligible to be licensed as registered nurses in the United States and therefore cannot be approved to take the CGFNS Qualifying Exam®. A second-level nurse may be called an enrolled, vocational or practical nurse or a nurse assistant.

Benefits of the CGFNS Certification Program

At the state level, the Certification Program is a requirement for licensure by specific State Boards of Nursing in order to take the NCLEX-RN® exam.

At the federal level, the CGFNS Qualifying Exam® component satisfies the examination requirement of the VisaScreen®: Visa Credentials Assessment for immigration.


Required Documents for the CGFNS Certification Program generally include the following :

Secondary School Information

Submit a photocopy of your secondary school diploma or external exam certificate for the highest level of secondary education you have received. Secondary school (high school) is a school intermediate between elementary school (primary school) and university, usually offering general, technical, vocational, or college-preparatory courses.  

If this document is not in English, it can be translated by the applicant or someone chosen by the applicant. Translations must contain a Certificate of Accuracy (see below) signed by the person who translated the document.

* This requirement is waived if you completed secondary education more than 10 years ago.

License / Registration / Diploma Information

CGFNS validates:

  • Initial license / registration / diploma as a first-level, general nurse in your country of education
  • A current license / registration / diplomas a first-level, general nurse in any jurisdiction

Professional Education Information

A complete academic record or transcript from each educational institution attended for the profession being evaluated.

These documents must be in English and must be translated by an official registered translator. CGFNS can translate documents for an additional fee.


To complete your application, you will need to upload a passport-style photograph.

Technical Requirements

Your photograph must be:





Click for Passport Photo Tips and Best Practices (Courtesy of U.S. Department of State)
  • Sized such that the head is between 1″ (25mm) and 1 3/8″ (35mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
  • Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
  • Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
  • Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
  • With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
  • Taken in clothing that you normally wear on a daily basis:
    • Uniforms should not be worn in your photo, except religious clothing that is worn daily.
    • Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline, unless worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
    • Headphones, wireless hands-free devices or similar items are not acceptable in your photo.
    • If you normally wear prescription glasses, a hearing device or similar articles, they may be worn for your photo.
    • Dark glasses or non-prescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless you need them for medical reasons (a medical certificate may be required)
    • Glare on glasses is not acceptable in your photo. Glare can be avoided with a slight downward tilt of the glasses or by removing the glasses or by turning off the camera flash.

Source: U.S. Department of State


Note: The CGFNS Qualifying Exam® is a prerequisite in some states for licensure. It also satisfies one of the immigration requirements for obtaining an occupational visa to work in the United States.

Choosing your Examination Date

Once approved, an Authorization to Test (ATT) notification letter is sent via email. You will be provided with two test “windows” of five days each. Please choose one day only.


March 11-15, 2019January 31, 2019
July 8-12, 2019May 31, 2019
September 9-13, 2019July 31, 2019
November 11-15, 2019September 30, 2019

Changing your exam date or location

  • If you wish to change your exam date, you must do so at least 72 hours before your original scheduled exam.
  • You may not change to a date outside the two test windows you have been offered.
  • If you do not show up for your scheduled exam you will not be eligible for a refund and your fee cannot be used for a future exam.


CGFNS International confirms required English competency in oral and written, based on passing scores from either:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language, Internet-Based Test (TOEFL® iBT) or
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language, Paper-Based Test (TOEFL® PBT) or
  • Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC®) or
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

For Additional Information: