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CGFNS Services: Which One Do I Need?

Nursing licensure and practice in the United States and its territories are governed and regulated at the State level. Hence, eligibility and licensure requirements vary from state to state. It is, thus, imperative for the intending applicant to have a solid knowledge and correct understanding of the state board's requirements.

Recognized as an international authority on credentials evaluation and verification, most of the fifty (50) American states rely on the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools
® (CGFNS) for credentials assessment in evaluating a foreign-educated applicant's eligibility to take the U.S. nursing licensure examination, more popularly known as the National Council Licensure Examinations (NCLEX).

CGFNS International offers several credentials assessment and evaluation services pertaining to the education, registration and licensure of nurses and healthcare professionals worldwide, such as:
  • Certification Program (CP)
  • Credential Evaluation Service (CES)
  • Credential Verification Service for New York State (CVS)
  • VisaScreen: Visa Credentials Assessment

One common point of misunderstanding in the completion of the application process is which service to get from the CGFNS. The confusion lies primarily on the need to take the CGFNS exam, a component of the CGFNS Certification Program, which in the past was mandatory in all U.S. states prior to being made eligible to sit for the NCLEX exam.

Recently, however, a great number of states have began to drop the CGFNS exam requirement, state boards have shifted to other forms of credentials assessment and evaluation. Some states, Vermont for example, now do their own credentials assessment and evaluation while other states, such as New Mexico, only require the CES, which is easier to complete than the CP since no exam is necessary.

Knowing and understanding these intricacies will save the applicant a significant amount of time and money as each of the services offered by CGFNS differ in terms of processing time, documentary requirements, and fees.

Specific state requirements are listed at the state board's website which is available at Click here to see Pinoy R.N.'s list of states that no longer require the CGFNS exam (CP).

Related Articles:
US Nursing Exams: CGFNS vs NCLEX
List of Non-CGFNS States


Ramzenger said...

While i do appreciate the writer of the article for bringing this issue up but it did not really give much information as it headings would suggest. May I add that if a recent nurse graduate would like to practice nursing in the US, right after graduation,to save money and effort, one should file immediately for application for an exam with NCLEX-RN (there are two kinds of NCLEX, NCLEX RN and NCLEX-PN) either with California, New Mexico or Vermont Board of Registered Nursing. Then take the exam and passed. If you passed the NCLEX-RN exam you can go right away for any agency and that agency can file for petition for you. To be continued

Ramzenger said...

Then while that petition is pending and progressing at snail pace depending on the visa availability, take IELTS and passed it. Then your NCLEX-RN and IELTS will be the requirements for the visascreen. Then take the local board and passed it so that you can get experience and when the its time for you to come to the US you are well prepared. one thing more CP of CGFNS is just a waste of money and time.

Lyle, RN said...

The intention of the article is to point out to prospective NCLEX examinees that they need not take the CGFNS exam as a great number of U.S. states do not require it.

Majority of the U.S. states, however, still require CES from the CGFNS before a foreign-educated nurse can take the NCLEX.

Thus, the article points out to the reader that in applying for the NCLEX in any U.S. state, the applicant should check and verify which CGFNS service is required instead of just indiscriminately taking the CGFNS exam.

With the aforementioned intention and the subsequent information provided in the article, this writer believes that the content gives justice to the chosen Title/Heading.

Meanwhile, you might want to read one of the featured articles on this blog entitled, "Green Card for Nurses: An Overview"

It outlines the requirements and processes a foreign-educated nurse needs to take to secure legal employment and residency in U.S.

While you are correct in saying that any NCLEX-RN passer can be petitioned by recruitment/employment agencies,
you might also learn from the article that simply passing the NCLEX-RN exam does not equal automatic migration to the U.S. as there are other immigration requirements like English Proficiency and VisaScreen certifications.

Nonetheless, your comment is well-taken and appreciated.

Lyle, RN said...

Another featured article which could be of interest to you is the one entitled, CGFNS vs NCLEX.

This writer aptly pointed out in that article that the CGFNS Exam, a component of the CGFNS Certification Program (CP) may be foregone in securing a VisaScreen.

Anonymous said...

hello, this piece of information is important since it will guide those nursing student on what to do if they want to practice their profession as nurse in united before one can go to united states with cgfns only and of course ielts for visa screen , when you arrived in the states you will have to take the local board exam depending on what state you will work for example california you have to take california state board , coz each states in the u.s. has different set of rules . unlike here in the phillipines which is the PRC is authorized to issue license . in the U.S. is different you will have to get your license in which state your are working, but if you passed nclex exam your license will recognize by 24 states i think that is member of nclex . they will only endorse your license you can work in those states which is member of nclex, texas, new mexico , colorado , arkansas , rhode island are sample of such state.before you leave Philippines you need visa screen issued only by cgfns ,for the u.s embassy interview for the visa coz that's the only thing they will recognize and of course you cgfns result or nclex.with nclex no need to take state board , with cgfns you have to take exam again in the u.s. for your license to practice nursing in the u.s.

Unknown said...

need a little help here..... while you all are arguing maybe u could help me or someone there reading this articles, that im planning to take nclex in vermont... however i am really confused as to wat is CES report og cgfns is? how do i go to cgfns and how do i get the report? thank you!!! sana matulungan nyu ako

Lyle, RN said...


If you are taking the NCLEX through Vermont, you do not need to submit a CES Report from CGFNS.

The Vermont Board of Nursing will only require a CES from CGFNS if they are unable to determine whether your nursing education is similar to a nursing education in the United States or not.

In the unlikely scenario that you are required to submit a CES report, you can order it at ... Again, this is not a standard requirement but may be required as explained above.

Basically, what I am saying is that you can simply download the NCLEX Application form for Vermont, fill it up, submit the the page intended for your school and then send all the documents to Vermont along with your payment and wait for the letter of eligibility.

A general guide in applying for the NCLEX is provided at the FEATURED ARTICLES section of this site (

Unknown said...

thank you so much lyle rn.... u really help me... im scared of the processing because i might make a mistake and the 150$ that i will pay maybe wasted because its not refundable.... will they inform me if ever i have to go to cgfns and get ces report? how do they inform me if i am eligible? is it thru email or letter adressed to me?

Lyle, RN said...


You can check the status of your application online at this page:

If you provided an e-mail address in the application form, the VT board will contact you via e-mail for all other instructions.

Making a mistake in the application will only cause delay in the processing. Your payment will not be forfeited.

Just be sure to read ALL the instructions and follow it to the letter. Don't make shortcuts to save time or money because in the end, if instructions are not followed, you will end up spending more time and money.

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