CGFNS Guide, 4 Steps to International Nursing Certification

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As a brand new immigrant to the United States, I was once unaware of the process involved in transferring my nursing credentials from India to the US. Today, I hold nursing licensure in 3 different states in the US. This article contains a CGFNS guide I am putting together to help foreign nurses to the United States. My goal is to make the process easier for you and avoid some of the CGFNS application hurdles.

Apart from the credential verification service (CVS) for New York and credential evaluation service (CES), the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) also provides the International Certification program for internationally educated nurses. 

Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) came into existence around the 1960s during the great migration of foreign nurses to the United States. At a time when the boards of nursing found it difficult to evaluate each program and determine the eligibility of nurses to practice in the US.

cgfns nursing guide

The current version of the program at the time of this article comprises the following.

  1. Credentials evaluation of secondary education – Obtain Nursing program, and license from the home country.
  2. CGFNS qualifying exam
  3. Demonstration of the passing of an English proficiency test.

CGFNS Guide & Application Steps

The steps to obtain the (CGFNS) international certification program are as follows.

  1. Create an online account at CGFNS Connect, select the service CGFNS Certification program, and make the payment of $445 dollars.
  2. Complete an online application with personal, education, and licensure information along with a color photograph in (.JPG) image format. 
  3. Print out the same application form, notarize it and send with a copy of your senior secondary education certificate, nursing degree/diploma, and nursing license from your country of education. Please remember not to transmit any original documents to (CGFNS).
  4. Download and complete the forms ‘Request for validation of license/registration’ and ‘Request for academic records’ and submit them to the nursing board and nursing school that you graduated from. 

Your nursing board and school may require a fee for the release of information. 

cgfns application steps

The nursing school is required to complete the forms that (CGFNS) sends along with a copy of the academic transcript. CGFNS then evaluates these documents and determines equivalency to the educational program in the United States and permits you to appear for the (CGFNS) certification program. In the CGFNS guide packet, you will find an official guide to preparing for the test. 

In the meantime, you must provide documentation of satisfactory scores in any one of the English proficiency tests. (CGFNS) accepts TOEFL, IELTS, or TOEIC. You will be getting your (CGFNS) certificate upon completion of all of the above.

With the latest visa reforms and a considerable reduction in the influx of nurses to the US, most state boards of nursing no more require the (CGFNS) certification program to appear for NCLEX-RN. The three states that still require CGFNS certification include Delaware, Alabama, and Connecticut. Most other states in the US accept the Credential Evaluation Service (CES), which is a course-by-course evaluation compared to (CGFNS). New York requires the credential verification service from (CGFNS).

The (CGFNS) exam, once seen as an indicator for success in NCLEX-RN, is being questioned for its current correlation with the NCLEX passing rates. It is considered an unnecessary hurdle in the path of international nurses.

I hope this CGFNS guide was helpful to you in applying for your international nursing certification. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please comment below. We can connect, and I can try to help you further.

After gaining practical work experience in the United States as a registered nurse for a few years, I’ve pursued my Master’s in Psychiatric Nursing at Stony Brook University. I graduated as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practioner in (2018).

Currently, I work as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner for New York State. If you have any career-related questions regarding the nursing field, salary, duties, etc. I can help answer them in the comment section below.

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