International Educated Applicants

Submission and Fee Information

Testing candidates may review the Pearson Vue COVID-19 Update Page to learn if their testing experience may be impacted and the latest health & safety requirements at Pearson VUE-owned test centers.

Submitting this online examination application does not guarantee approval for taking NCLEX. You must meet all eligibility requirements as outlined in the application, and the North Carolina Board of Nursing must declare you eligible to test with the testing service Pearson VUE.

The North Carolina Board of Nursing does not provide examination 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 examination. Telephone inquiries and letters requesting information will not accelerate the process.

The initial application for Licensure by Examination, and the Criminal Background Check will be held active for one (1) year from the date the candidate is determined to be eligible to test. The Authorization to Test 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.

A multi-state North Carolina license is not issued when another state is claimed as the primary state of residence, however, a single state license may be issued until proof of North Carolina residency is provided to the North Carolina Board of Nursing.

The North Carolina Board of Nursing no longer issues wallet size license cards or mail licensure certificates. Your licensure certificate will be available for download or print on your Nurse Portal profile.

The North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON) uses the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX®) prepared by National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to measure competence for entry-level practice for graduates of Board-approved nursing education programs. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing has contracted with Pearson VUE to administer NCLEX®.

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

  • Documentation of Education
  • English Proficiency Examination
  • *Valid Social Security Number/Card - required prior to issuance of a license 
  • *Satisfactory Criminal Background Check - required prior to issuance of a license 

*NCLEX may be taken prior to completion of (a) Valid Social Security Number/Card and (b) Satisfactory Criminal Background Check requirements

*A Social Security Number is 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 submitting an application for a Social Security number, you may take the NCLEX. No license will be issued until proof of the Social Security number is submitted to North Carolina Board of Nursing.

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 (2) 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.

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 these requirements.

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.

International Education Evaluations, Inc. (IEE)
7900 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd., Suite 300
Charlotte, NC 28227
Phone: (704) 772-0109

Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools CGFNS)
3600 Market St., Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651
Phone: (215) 222-8454

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

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.

Assure eligibility requirements have been met, or all fees will be forfeited.

Submission and Fee Information

How to submit...

  1. Access the Nurse Gateway to complete the Examination application
  2. Create a Username and Password to access your information and applications. If you have already created a Username and Password, you will only need to log in to your profile.
  3. Select 'Exam Application' in the Licenses/Certificates dropdown
  4. Complete application

Fee Information: $75.00


Valid Forms of Payment

  • Credit or Debit Card; MasterCard or Visa only
  • Third-Party Payments require a Certified Check or Money Order
    • Money orders and certified checks must be made out to the North Carolina Board of Nursing and we request that candidates provide a copy of the confirmation page to decrease processing delays.  Mail this form or your Certified Check or Money Order to the Board at North Carolina Board of Nursing, P.O. Box 2129, Raleigh, NC 27602-2129, Attn. Finance Department.
    • For payments via credit card, access and enter your application confirmation number located on your confirmation page. 
    • Once your payment has been received, allow 3-5 banking days for your payment to clear and then your application will be processed.
    • You will not be declared eligible until required documents and payment are received by the Board of Nursing.
Examination Requirements
  • Your Examination application
  • Your Electronic School Verification or Official Transcript Copies 
    • Graduates of International nursing education programs must complete a Credentials Evaluation Service (CES Professional Report) or provide a CGFNS Certificate or VisaScreen. English proficiency testing is required for many Internationally educated nurse applicants.
  • Your registration and payment of fees to Pearson Vue
Pearson VUE
  • Register and pay at Pearson VUE Testing Centers ($200.00) at least two (2) weeks prior to program completion.
  • Visit Pearson VUE for more information on the Testing Centers
    • This site includes information about registering, Authorization to Test (ATT) letters, scheduling and rescheduling and acceptable Identification Documents.
    • Questions? Email:
  • 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 Authorization to Test will provide instructions on scheduling your examination. You must have your Authorization to Test prior to scheduling an appointment to take NCLEX examination.
Receive eligibility from the NCBON

Once the application is submitted, your North Carolina program (NC Program Verified) is verified by your Program Director or your Out-of-State Program is verified via transcript and Pearson VUE registration are complete then allow up to 10 business days to receive Authorization to Test (ATT) via e-mail.

The Authorization to Test (ATT) is valid for 180 days from the date of eligibility. If you miss your NCLEX appointment or the ATT expires, you are required to re-register and pay at Pearson Vue Testing Centers.

This site includes the candidate bulletin and information that is necessary to review for the NCLEX® examination.

Examination appointment and results

Schedule your examination appointment with Pearson VUE. Arrive for your examination appointment and present your Authorization to Test (ATT) letter and acceptable identification.

Receive your official results from the North Carolina Board of Nursing approximately four (4) weeks after your examination.

Criminal Background Check

In accordance with the Nursing Practice Act, all candidates applying for Licensure by Examination are required to undergo a fingerprint-based State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history check.

The Board of Nursing may deny an applicant on the basis of a conviction of a crime only if the board finds that the applicant's criminal conviction history is directly related to the duties and responsibilities for the licensed occupation, or the conviction is for a crime that is violent or sexual in nature. The Board of Nursing must specifically consider the following factors by law when denying an applicant for licensure due to a criminal conviction:

  1. The level and seriousness of the crime.
  2. The date of the crime.
  3. The age of the person at the time of the crime.
  4. The circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime, if known.
  5. The nexus between the criminal conduct and the prospective duties of the applicant as a licensee.
  6. The prison, jail, probation, parole, rehabilitation, and employment records of the applicant since the date the crime was committed.
    1. The completion of, or active participation in, rehabilitative drug or alcohol treatment.
    2. A Certificate of Relief granted pursuant to G.S. 15A-173.2.
  7. The subsequent commission of a crime by the applicant.
  8. Any affidavits or other written documents, including character references.

Applicant’s denied licensure in whole or in part because of a criminal conviction have the right to appeal the decision of the Board within 30 days after receipt of the Board’s decision to the superior court located in the county where the applicant resides or where the Board is located pursuant to NC. Gen. Stat §90-171.37B(a) and §150B-43 et al .

In order to complete the criminal history check, please follow these instructions:

All applicants must provide their fingerprints and the appropriate forms and fee to facilitate a Criminal Background Check prior to the issuance of a license.

Within North Carolina:

If you live within North Carolina, complete the Live Scan application and follow instructions to have your digital fingerprints electronically transmitted to the SBI/FBI. Most North Carolina Sheriff's offices will provide this service.

Outside of North Carolina:

If you are outside of North Carolina, North Carolina Board of Nursing issued fingerprint cards and instructions will be mailed directly to you the following week after submission of your application for licensure. Fingerprinting must be performed by authorized fingerprinting personnel. Contact your local fingerprinting agency for assistance and additional details.

**The Criminal Background Check is required for licensure only; it does not affect an applicant’s ability to test. To avoid delays in the issuance of a license, we recommend completing this prior to testing.

The Application Confirmation which serves as your official receipt will be available on your Nurse Gateway profile upon successful completion of the application process. To access, select the appropriate tile under the 'Licenses/Approval to Practice/Certifications' tab on the Home screen, then select the 'Files' tab on the License Information screen.

If your email address is listed with the North Carolina Board of Nursing, you will receive confirmation via email verifying receipt of your online application.

Upon successful completion of the online application, you may check your application status via Nurse Portal . Licensure information can be verified on the Board's website. The Board of Nursing’s electronic database serves as the primary source of licensure information for nurses in North Carolina.

Last Changed: 13-March-2024