How to Apply for the NCLEX

What Is the Fastest State to Apply for the NCLEX and How Can I Apply?

Done with nursing school and ready to begin your new career as a RN in the United States?

To help you achieve your goal, the team at Health Carousel International has assembled the following information on applying for the National Council Licensure Examination, commonly referred to as the NCLEX. Passing NCLEX is your key to getting a nursing license in any U.S. state. You can register and take NCLEX through any U.S. board of nursing and then later apply for a license in the state in which you'll be working. So, the best advice is to take NCLEX through a State Board of Nursing that has less stringent requirements. Before taking the exam, Health Carousel International can help you choose a good state to file through; if you've already passed, we can endorse your NCLEX to any other U.S. state. That doesn't mean you have to take the NCLEX RN exam again.

Fastest State to Apply for NCLEX

Choose the Right State Board of Nursing

1. It's important to remember that the state board with which you choose to take the NCLEX is not necessarily the state you will end up working as a registered nurse in. Instead, your work assignment will likely depend on which facility selects you. Some states are considered a compact state for nursing which means a nurse can practice with license verification across state lines. Regardless of the U.S. license you obtain, you will apply for endorsement of license for the state in which you end up being assigned.

2. When searching for a state in which to apply for the NCLEX, be careful not to select a state based on things such as the popularity of the region or even your dream work destination. Rather, consider what the states require for foreign nurses. If a board requires any of the following, you may consider not applying for NCLEX with that state board because it could delay your application:

  • IELTS or TOEFL results
  • Clinical experience
  • Social Security Number (SSN) to issue a license (You will have issues later if you apply to a state that will not issue a license if you don't have a social security number)

3. For now, Health Carousel International is recommending four state boards: Northern Mariana Island (a U.S. commonwealth), *Illinois, *Texas, and *New Mexico.

During your research into the NCLEX application process, you may also find other state boards that have requirements that are easy to complete.*For Illinois, Texas, and New Mexico state boards: a valid passing IELTS test score is necessary if your nursing school education was not conducted in the English language, this may be the case for foreign nurses who are becoming a travel nurse or moving to the United States to pursue nursing.

Credential Evaluation Service Registration

If the state board you select requires a Credential Evaluation Service (CES), Health Carousel International recommends using CGFNS and not other credentialing agencies; this will make it easier to apply for U.S. VisaScreen. To submit a CES to a state board of nursing, take the following steps:

1. Complete the registration process at to get a username, password, and CGFNS number.

2. Once you have your CGFNS account information, place an order with them for a Credentials Evaluation Service Professional Report. When ordering this report, be sure that the recipient of the report is the Board of Nursing for the U.S. state where you will apply for your NCLEX examination.

Register with Pearson VUE

It is recommended by the State Boards of Nursing that you register and pay for the NCLEX exam on Pearson VUE before submitting your state board of nursing application. Failure to do so will delay your issuance of your Authorization to Test (ATT) on top of the processing time. Here are the steps you should complete:

1. Register with Pearson VUE at

2. The validity of your Pearson VUE registration is at least 365 days.

3. Wait for your NCLEX ATT from Pearson VUE.

4. Once you receive your ATT, you will need to schedule your NCLEX exam before it expires. The ATT validity period varies by state board of nursing, so be sure to understand how the regulations of the state board of nursing through which you applied. Failure to take the exam in the allowed time period will result in the expiration of your ATT.

5. The timeframe to receive your ATT varies by state board. If you do not receive your ATT within three weeks, contact the state board through which you applied.

6. While waiting through current processing times for your ATT, you should continue to study for the NCLEX. (Health Carousel International can supply you with resources to prepare for the exam (register now to learn how). You may also choose to attend NCLEX classes at a review center near your home.

7. You can schedule an NCLEX exam appointment at an international test center nearest you either online or over the phone by contacting Pearson VUE NCLEX Candidate Services.

8. Follow the instructions from both Pearson VUE and the board of nursing.

9. For further information on NCLEX, you can reference the NCLEX Candidate Bulletin. Do your best to pass the test--this is your ticket to showing off your nursing knowledge and beginning the immigration process to the U.S.

Apply to a State Board of Nursing

Be sure to register with Pearson VUE before applying to any state board of nursing for licensure. Health Carousel International is recommending applying through one of the following four state boards: Northern Mariana Island (a U.S. commonwealth), Illinois, Texas, and New Mexico. To complete the process of getting your nursing license verification, you should: 

‍1. Submit a license application to one of our four recommended state boards of nursing.

‍2. You must meet all of the eligibility requirements of your selected board of nursing in order to take the NCLEX exam. The Health Carousel International team can guide you throughout this process. If you have questions or concerns about any of the licensure requirements, be sure to reach out to our team.

‍3. Follow the instructions of the state board; you may email the board, if needed.

‍4. Send the application fee and forms to the state board. You may also send your application to Health Carousel International for review, and our team can then submit it to the state board.

October 25, 2020
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