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I have a BSN from the Philippines and want to work in the U.S., but I never took my boards or worked as a nurse. Can you give me some direction?


Dear Donna,

I graduated with my BSN in the Philippines in 1995. I was hired in the Philippines for a job that didn’t require a nurse license. I married an American citizen two years ago and now have my permanent residency card. I intend to work as a nurse here and am trying to get some direction about how to go about practicing in my profession. I tried to contact the Maryland Board of Nursing for advice, and they sent me a link to your Web page as their reply. I hope you can help me with this.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Nanette,

If I understand you correctly, you graduated from nursing school in 1995 in the Philippines, never took the board exam and never worked as nurse. You now want to become a licensed RN in Maryland. If that is the case, start by reading the information on the Maryland Board of Nursing Web site for nurses who were educated outside of the U.S. at You’ll see that in addition to submitting an application to take the NCLEX exam, you must have your education credentials verified by CGFNS ( Likewise, you will be required to take an English language test, etc. The CGFNS site and resources will be very helpful to you with all of this. You also can call and e-mail them for help. Once you have received your license, you will need to take a refresher course that includes clinical experience with a preceptor.

You are fortunate that there is a very large and active community of Filipino nurses in the U.S. They will help and support you in this journey. Contact the Maryland chapter of the Philippine Nurses Association of America at

My best wishes,

By | 2010-02-25T00:00:00+00:00 February 25th, 2010|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|10 Comments

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  1. Avatar
    amanda January 29, 2019 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Dear Donna,

    Hi good day.I am a licensed nurse in the Philippines.I got my license last 2012 and never worked as a nurse there.I am now married with an American citizen in Arizona and I am planning to work as a nurse here in Arizona.What do I need to do?And what exams do I need to take?Thank you so much and more blessings.

    • Avatar
      mats March 4, 2019 at 4:19 am - Reply

      Hi Donna my name is mats.

      My first question is did u work in the Philippines as Registered Nurse or Licensed Nurse? Here in US we have LVN/LPN and RN. You said Licensed Nurse thats equivalent to Licensed vocational nurse here in US.

  2. Avatar
    Rose February 27, 2019 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    I am a graduate of Practical Nursing in the Philippines and would like to pursue this career here in Pennsylvania, USA. I do not know what I should do first in order to make this plan happen. I tried contacting the Board of Nursing in Pennsylvania but I wasn’t lucky to get response nor talk to anyone over the phone. I would appreciate it if someone can really provide me direction about this. Thanks in advance.

    • Avatar
      mats March 4, 2019 at 4:36 am - Reply

      Hello rose

      my name is mats and I’m from California. Different state and country they have diff. qualifications, I will share the qualifications here in Cali and it might help you a little.
      So first make sure you have all your credentials
      -TOR, diploma, RLE summary/booklet, Your school year program, cases, copy of your passport during your school years, Philippine licensed

      Most of the time foreign graduate specially Philippines we don’t meet other countries qualifications and you need to go back to school to get some subjects they need.

      If you are graduate as a RN in Phil. they might accept you as Licensed Practical Nurse in Pennsylvania.

      Go to Pennsylvania LVN/LPN website and compare all your credentials to their requirements. If you meet all the reqs. Download the application provided in the website and follow the instructions how to apply for exam. Most of the time you need to mail it. The mailing address provided in the website.

      after 3-4 weeks if you didn’t received a email or mail. Call them to follow up. Always call maybe every other day.

  3. Avatar
    Biji Cheriyan July 2, 2019 at 6:27 am - Reply

    I would like to know my priority date is active or not.I would like to work in US.

  4. Avatar
    Lourdes July 8, 2019 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Hi there Donna, my name is Lourdes, BSN graduate ( not board passer )in Philippines, 2009. Just got here in Michigan last January’2018, married to us citizen. Just wanted to know what would be the step by step to become an RN in Michigan. Your advice is much appreciated .
    Thank you.

  5. Avatar
    heidi July 9, 2019 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Hi, I came across this thread and would like to share my experience. I have a BSN in the Philippines and graduated in 2009. In 2013 I moved to Louisiana on a working visa(not as RN) for a healthcare company. In 2015 I got married and now I have my greencard. You have to pass the Philippine Board exam for nurses, you need to have this license since you have to go through CGFNS to evaluate your paperwork if your credentials are acceptable in the US. I took my NCLEX in the philippines and passed in 2012. Luckily, all my credentials are acceptable and I did not have to take any remedial class or more courses. Applying for the NCLEX in the Phil was a little different since we do not have a social security number. I am not sure how to apply if you already have a SSN. My initial license was in Vermont (only for NCLEX exam application and did not require a SSN to take test) and when i moved to the US I had to do an endorsement for me to practice in Louisiana. Every state has a different rule for internationally educated nurses so the best thing to do is reach out to the nursing board of your state. I have been practicing as an RN since 2015 here in the US. In conclusion, a Philippine license as an RN is needed so CGFNS can evaluate your paperwork. If not, you will have to enroll to an LPN or RN program in the US and hopefully your philippine credentials will count.

    • Avatar
      bibish October 15, 2019 at 2:39 am - Reply

      Hello Heidi, I wanted to find out , did your board of nursing accept ur BSN? Or did you evaluate the BSN?

  6. Avatar
    Dyanne November 9, 2019 at 2:54 am - Reply

    Shortly after I passed my RN license exam in the Philippines in 1997 I immigrated to the U.S. I have been working in the healthcare setting for almost 20 years, but not as an RN. How do I become a licensed nurse in Texas. Will I have to go back to school all over again?

    • Sallie Jimenez
      Sallie Jimenez November 14, 2019 at 2:29 pm - Reply

      Hi Dyanne,

      If your current employer does not have resources that can help you figure out what steps you need to take, you may be able to get the answers you are looking for from CGFNS International – Although their concentration is on foreign nurses looking to work in other countries, the website does have information on how nurses who received training in other countries must undergo credentials checks and pass licensure exams, in order to work in the country as an RN. The organization is a good place to start. Good luck and best wishes.

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