North Carolina Board of Nursing


Licensure by Examination

Internationally Educated Applicants

Non-negotiable requirements for licensure by examination for applicants who were educated outside of the United States and other member board jurisdictions include:

  1. Documentation of Education
  2. English Proficiency Examination
  3. *Valid Social Security Number
  4. *Satisfactory criminal background check

*required prior to license being issued. NCLEX examination may be taken prior to completion of these requirements.

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Click on this link to locate our podcast that further reviews these instructions.

Step One: Documentation of Education (Choose one agency)

Do not send transcripts to the North Carolina Board of Nursing. All official transcripts must be sent to the education evaluation agency:

Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)
3600 Market St., Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651
Telephone: 215.222.8454

  • Credentials Evaluation Service (CES Professional Report), or
  • CGFNS Certificate or VisaScreen is accepted


International Education Research Foundation (IERF)
6133 Bristol Parkway, Suite 300
Culver City, CA 90230
Telephone: 310.258.9451

Step Two: English Proficiency Examination 
(choose either TOEFL or IELTS)

TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language (
Passing score: TOEFL- written overall score of 560, CBT overall score of 220, iBT overall score of 83. NCBON code: 3236

IELTS (academic) - International English Language Testing Service (
Passing score: IELTS-overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 on all modules.

The English Proficiency examination expires two years after the date the examination was taken. A CGFNS certificate or VisaScreen is also accepted to meet the English proficiency examination.

For applicants to be EXEMPT from the English proficiency requirement, the applicant must have completed their entry-level professional nursing education program in the United States, Canada (except Quebec), the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or the U.S. Territories of Samoa, Guam, Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands. The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is not eligible for exemption.

Copies of the education evaluation and/or English proficiency examination will not be accepted from the applicant, but only from the official agencies.

Please note: Even if your nursing courses were taught in English and/or English textbooks, the applicant will still need an English proficiency examination. 
There are no exceptions for this requirement.

Application for Licensure by Examination

Once the education evaluation has been completed and a passing score received on the English proficiency examination, then the applicant becomes eligible for licensure by examination.

Step Three: Complete the Application for Licensure and submit it to the North Carolina Board of Nursing

Fees submitted to the NCBON are non-refundable, so assure eligibility requirements have been met, or all fees will be forfeited.

Step Four: Register for the NCLEX Examination with Pearson Vue

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing has contracted with Pearson Vue to give the NCLEX examination. Candidates must register to take the NCLEX examination with Pearson Vue

Step Five: Select a date with Pearson Vue for the NCLEX examination

Pearson Vue will send an AUTHORIZATION TO TEST (ATT), by email if you have provided an email address on your registration, otherwise, it will be sent by mail. Your ATT will provide instructions on scheduling your examination. You must have your ATT prior to scheduling an appointment to take NCLEX examination.

Application status check for Exam

Applicants can check the status of their NC application for NCLEX by visiting our website First time users will need to create a username and password for the Nurse Gateway. The Gateway will identify that the application has been received, it will also show what required items are missing for testing/licensure, and the date Pearson Vue eligibility was released.

The initial Application for Licensure by Examination, and the criminal background check will be held active for one year from the date the candidate is determined to be eligible to test.  The ATT is valid for 180 days from the date of eligibility.  If you do not take NCLEX prior to the expiration date, you will be responsible for repayment of fees.

The NCBON does not provide exam results by phone; however, you can pay for “Quick Results” through Pearson Vue, which grants you access to your results within 2 business days of the exam.  To verify a license electronically, please visit our verification site at Telephone inquiries and letters requesting information will not accelerate the process.

Social Security Number Required

Individuals or foreign graduates, who are seeking licensure by examination, must have a valid social security number to be issued a license to practice nursing. While making application for a Social Security number, you may take the NCLEX examination. No license will be issued until proof of the Social Security number is submitted to North Carolina Board of Nursing.

The North Carolina Board of Nursing does require a Criminal Background check before a license can be issued, but it is not required for you to be eligible to apply for and take the NCLEX examination.

Mailing Address

North Carolina Board of Nursing
PO Box 2506
Raleigh, NC 27602