Current Date:August 8, 2022

Nursing ambitions in Healthcare services? CGFNS is for you

The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) is a US-based authority that evaluates the credentials and verifies the education, registration and license of nurses and health care professionals across the world.

CGFNS administers a Certification Program that includes a qualifying examination that the first-level general, or registered nurses who have been educated outside the US should pass so as to practice as registered nurses in the US. It evaluates candidates’ nursing knowledge and their understanding and use of the English language. 

CGFNS also does assess the visa credentials of nursing practitioners who seek an occupational visa to work in the US.

There are three parts of the CGFNS program:

  • Credentials review
  • CGFNS qualifying exam, and
  • English language proficiency exam

Most US state Boards of Nursing require foreign nurses to complete the certification program and credentials evaluation. Also, the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) requires all health care professionals who seek permanent occupational visas in the US to get VisaScreen certificates.

CGFNS qualifying exam

The test evaluates whether nurses with international education are qualified to practice in the US. To be eligible, the candidate  must have significant experience in a wide range of nursing fields — including a minimum number of hours in the classroom and clinical practice in adult medical and surgical nursing, neonatal nursing, paediatric nursing, and psychiatric and mental health nursing.

The test is conducted thrice every year in over 40 locations worldwide. Candidates can take the CGFNS Qualifying Exam as many times as desired until they achieve a passing score. But remember that you must sit for the TOEFL and Qualifying Exam within two years of each other in order to have valid scores. 

The eligibility criteria is that you need to be a registered first-level nurse in the country where you were educated, and must hold a valid registration/license as a registered nurse.

Examination pattern

The CGFNS exam is divided into two parts

Nursing Part 1: Contains 150 multiple-choice questions. Candidates have 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete this portion.This is conducted in the morning and candidates are given a lunch break after this.

Nursing Part 2: Given in the afternoon, it contains 121 questions, which candidates have to complete within 2 hours.

The CGFNS qualifying examination is designed to help predict the likelihood of a candidate passing the US registered nurse licensure examination (NCLEX-RN) in the future.

English language proficiency exam

Candidates also need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL scores are valid for two years.

Credential review

It looks at the following:

  • English requirement
  • Secondary school documents
  • Licence documents from your home country
  • Nursing education documents from your home country


VisaScreen is conducted by the International Commission on Healthcare Professions, a division of CGFNS. The VisaScreen certificate must be obtained before you can receive a residency visa. 

In order to receive a VisaScreen certificate, CGFNS must conduct credential reviews of your nursing education and licensure, and an assessment of your English language skills. You must also be able to pass either the CGFNS qualifying exam or the NCLEX exam.

All the required application forms are available on the CGFNS website


The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a test to determine if you can begin your practice as an entry-level nurse in the US. It is a computer-based test, unlike the CGFNS which is conducted offline.

You can register for it at

There are two types of NCLEX examinations

Depending on your education, you can either take NCLEX-PN (practical nurse) or NCLEX-RN (registered nurse). Those with a diploma in licensed practical nursing or licensed vocational nursing can take the NCLEX-PN exam. While those who have completed an associate’s/bachelor’s degree in nursing can take NCLEX-RN.

The test follows computer adaptive testing or CAT technique wherein the questions are different for each candidate. The questions are given one-by-one based on the candidate’s standard. Thus the questions for each candidate is unique and caters to his/her ability level.

NCLEX-RN candidates have to answer a minimum of 75 questions, and NCLEX-PN candidates, 85. After you have answered the minimum number of questions, the computer will attempt to access your level of competence.

Candidates have five hours to finish the test.

CGFNS helps foreign educated healthcare professionals live and work in their country of choice by assessing and validating their academic and professional credentials.

We are featured in

Download your exclusive copy of Global Parenting Report and know what 81,327 think about parenting.