NCLEX Candidates Frequently Asked Questions

NCLEX Candidates

NCSBN does not maintain a list of eligibility requirements to take the NCLEX® examination.  Contact the board of nursing where you are seeking licensure for their requirements.

Links to all boards of nursing websites and contact information are available on the Contact a Board of Nursing page.

As an internationally educated candidate, you will need to complete two processes listed in the next question.

Additionally, regulations and requirements regarding internationally educated nurses vary from board of nursing to board of nursing. Requirements may include:

  • Obtaining Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) certification
  • Taking an English proficiency examination
  • Obtaining official review of credentials (i.e. review of nursing education)

NCSBN does not maintain a list of requirements for internationally educated nurses for individual boards of nursing.

Candidates do not need to be U.S. citizens to take the NCLEX examination, however, there are some boards of nursing which will not allow candidates without U.S. Social Security numbers to apply for licensure or obtain a license.  It would be up to a non-U.S. citizen to find out from the board of nursing whether either of these situations apply.

Links to all boards of nursing websites and contact information are available on the Contact a Board of Nursing page.

To take the NCLEX examination, you will first need to complete two separate processes:

  1. Contact your board of nursing and request a licensure application.
    1. You will pay a licensing fee to the board of nursing along with the submission of your application materials.
    2. Licensure applications must be obtained from the board of nursing in the state/jurisdiction where you are seeking licensure, as requirements vary from board to board.
    3. Obtain a copy of the online NCLEX® Candidate Bulletin or by calling the board of nursing.
  2. Register with Pearson VUE (the testing vendor) using one of the following methods:
    1. Online – Visit http://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex and choose one of two payment options: credit card or certified check/cashiers check /money order. (When registering online using the pay by certified check/cashiers check /money order option, you will need access to a printer).
    2. Phone – Call Pearson VUE NCLEX Candidate Services at 866.496.2539 and pay the $200 by credit card.
    3. Mail – Obtain a registration form from your board of nursing and enclose a $200 certified check, cashiers check or money order (no personal checks accepted).

Please Note – All $200 certified checks/cashiers checks/money orders should be made payable to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.  This is separate from licensure fees for your board of nursing.

Links to all boards of nursing websites and contact information are available on the Contact a Board of Nursing page.

For more information about the registration process, please visit the Registration Information page.

Yes, nursing schools, agencies or employers may register and pay for the NCLEX examination on behalf of the candidate.  This is considered a Workforce Exception, or a Third Party Payment.

Please follow the instructions below for processing with a third party payment:

Write ‘Workforce Exception’ on a post-it note (or any note), place on the $200 check (made payable to NCSBN), and mail both the NCLEX registration form and check to:

NCLEX Workforce Program
Pearson VUE
5601 Green Valley Drive
Room 220
Bloomington, MN 55437

Candidates using the third party method should NOT use the enclosed envelope found in the NCLEX® Candidate Bulletin to submit their registration and payment.

Additionally, candidates may register online by visiting http://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex and choosing the certified check/cashiers check/money order payment option. At the end of the online registration process, they will be instructed to print their confirmation.  The confirmation and third party check should be mailed to the address above.

If the school/agency/employer is registering multiple candidates and paying with one check (e.g., a $600 check for three registrations), the same mailing procedures above apply. Please note any issues with any of the registrations associated with the payment will delay processing of all registrations.

For more information on these types of payments, visit the Third-Party Payments page.

After you register with Pearson VUE and your board of nursing declares you eligible, you will receive your Authorization to Test (ATT).  All application materials and fees must be submitted to the board of nursing before they can deem you eligible to test.

Once the board of nursing declares you eligible to test and your ATT is issued, you must test within the validity dates of your ATT nursing (varies from 60 days to 365 days; however, the average is 90 days). These validity dates cannot be extended for any reason. If you do not test within these dates you will have to reregister and repay the examination fee.

The ATT contains your authorization number, candidate identification number and an expiration date. You need the ATT to:

  1. Schedule an appointment to take the NCLEX examination
  2. Be admitted to the test center on the day of the examination appointment. Candidates will not be admitted to the examination without their ATT’s and will be required to reregister and repay to take the examination.

Call Pearson VUE NCLEX Candidate Services at 866.496.2539 or at one of the international telephone numbers listed on the inside front cover of the 2010 NCLEX® Candidate Bulletin to report a lost ATT or if it has been two weeks since you registered and have not received your ATT.

Links to all boards of nursing websites and contact information are available on the Contact a Board of Nursing page.

For more information on the ATT, visit the Authorization to Test page.

A candidate must contact their board of nursing for instructions on how to apply for accommodations and what documentation is required.  A candidate may receive testing accommodations if they provide documentation from an appropriate medical professional to support their request. This documentation must include a diagnosis included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Among the accommodations available are additional testing time, separate room and/or assistive personnel (i.e., reader).

NCSBN does not recommend or endorse any review courses or study materials. If you are interested in participating in a review course or purchasing review materials, please consult a nursing education professional for suggestions.

Links to all boards of nursing websites and contact information are available on the Contact a Board of Nursing page.

The NCLEX examination is given year round and is administered by Pearson VUE. Candidates can take the examination at any Pearson Professional Center in the U.S. (including U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam, Northern Mariana Islands). International locations where the NCLEX is offered for purposes of domestic licensure include Australia, Canada, England, (Germany – temporarily not testing at this location), Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Taiwan.

Candidates are able to take the NCLEX examination at any Pearson Professional Testing location, regardless of the board they are applying for licensure.

Candidates can find U.S. and international test center locations by going to the Pearson VUE website at www.pearsonvue.com/nclex.

For more information on where the NCLEX is offered, visit the Test Center Locations page.

The only acceptable forms of identification in test centers in the United States* are:

  • U.S. drivers license (if expired, a renewal slip must be presented in order to be admitted) (Department of Motor Vehicle-Issued)
  • U.S. state identification (Department of Motor Vehicle-Issued)
  • Passport
  • U.S. Military Identification

The only identification acceptable in test centers outside of the United States is:

  • Passport

All identification must be valid and not expired with signature and photograph.  All identification must be in English and signed in English.

Driver’s or learner’s permits are not acceptable as identification for admittance to the NCLEX examination.  Only the identifications listed above will be accepted.

Candidates with identification from a country on the U.S. government’s sanctioned countries will have to follow the requirements listed in order to sit for the exam.

For more information on identification, visit the Acceptable Identifcation page.

*United States includes American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Candidates whose board of nursing participates in the Quick Results Service can receive their ‘unofficial’ results 48 hours after their exam date and time (a fee is required).  Official examination results are available ONLY from the boards of nursing and will be mailed to candidates approximately one month after taking the examination. Pearson VUE and NCSBN do not provide examination results.

Links to all boards of nursing websites and contact information are available on the Contact a Board of Nursing page.

For more information about getting NCLEX results, visit theResults Reporting section.

Candidates must wait a minimum of 45 or 90 days between each examination. This length of time is determined by the board of nursing and will be reflected in the new ATT’s validity dates.

Please Note – If you missed an exam appointment or your ATT expired, you do NOT have to wait the 45 or 90 day period before you can retest. Questions regarding testing limits, resubmitting materials, background checks, or licensing fees should be directed to your board of nursing.

Links to all boards of nursing websites and contact information are available on the Contact a Board of Nursing page.

To retake the NCLEX examination:

  • Contact your board of nursing and notify them that you plan to re-take the exam. Determine what materials or fees you need to resubmit to the board.
  • Reregister with Pearson VUE and pay the $200 dollar fee.
  • Once the board makes you eligible you will receive a new Authorization to Test (ATT) and be able to schedule an exam date.

For more information on taking the NCLEX again, visit the Retake Policy page.

NCLEX International Frequently Asked Questions

NCLEX International

International NCLEX administration is the delivery of NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN examinations in Pearson Professional Testing Centers located outside U.S. state and territorial boards of nursing (also known as NCSBN Member Board Jurisdictions), for purposes of licensure within Member Board jurisdictions.  All current licensure requirement processes still apply.

The countries and non-member board territories that currently administer the NCLEX examinations are Australia, Canada, England, Germany (temporarily not testing at this location), Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Taiwan.

The NCSBN Board of Directors approved a recommended list of security criteria from the NCSBN NCLEX Examination Committee (criterion detailed below). The initial international locations were selected because they rated highly across all criteria under consideration:

  • National Security
    The NCLEX Examination Committee only considered locations that have favorable reports regarding security and economic climate from the U.S. Department of State (www.state.gov).
  • Examination Security
    Because of the high security and administration standards required for the NCLEX examination, only locations where Pearson VUE can build, staff and replicate current Pearson Professional Centers (the same as in current member board jurisdictions) were considered.
  • Similarity with U.S. Intellectual Property and Copyright Laws
    The NCLEX Examination Committee selected countries for initial consideration that are generally regarded by the U.S. government and industry as areas that minimize risk for new business ventures.
  • Pearson Locations with High Stakes Testing
    The NCLEX Examination Committee considered the experiences of other high stakes testing programs and test service in international markets.

Yes.  The exam specifications and passing standards are the same for all NCLEX examinations.  The international test centers are required to meet the same security and exam administration requirements as domestic test centers.   The administration environment requirements are summarized as follows:

  • All locations will be Pearson owned and operated centers
  • Pearson centers will be built in accordance with standards in the test services contract
  • Pearson centers will always be staffed by at least two certified test center administers, who are Pearson employees
  • The same secured technology and file server security will be utilized as in U.S. based centers
  • All centers will have the same video/audio recording technology as U.S. based centers
  • All the same digital fingerprint, photograph, palm vein scan and signature technology (including back-up technology), as used in U.S. based centers will be employed
  • All examination registration, scheduling and examination proctoring procedures, including incident reports and investigations will be the same as in U.S. centers

No. NCSBN will utilize Pearson VUE as the exclusive provider for NCLEX.

The benefits of international administration to NCLEX candidates are:

  • Public Protection
    International testing allows qualified and competent nurses to practice sooner than is possible under the previous NCLEX administration model due to the reduction in time it takes candidates to travel to testing centers. The international testing initiative may help alleviate the current nursing shortage; however, candidates will still need to be made eligible by a Member Board before an examination can be administered.
  • Maintain Fair and Rigorous Entry-Level Nurse Licensure Standards
    International NCLEX administration affords convenience to candidates while demonstrating NCSBN Member Board commitment, individually and collectively, to a clear, unambiguous standard for entry-level nurse competency assessment.  This is achieved by utilizing psychometrically sound and legally defensible examinations based on U.S. nursing practice.
  • Removal of Barriers for Nurse Licensure
    International NCLEX administration is designed to make the NCLEX examination process for internationally educated candidates more efficient.  International test administration seeks to provide convenience to candidates by reducing the time and cost of traveling to the U.S. without sacrificing standards.
  • Facilitation of Self-Determination of Employment
    International NCLEX administration does not change jurisdictional requirements or make it easier to become a nurse in the U.S.; it only assists to alleviate the economic impact of traveling to the U.S. each time they must test.

Establish An International Presence Commensurate With the NCSBN Mission and Vision
International NCLEX administration is consistent with NCSBN’s organizational mission and vision statements and provides a common framework to establish multi-lateral relationships with nurse regulatory bodies outside the U.S.

The electronic version of the NCLEX Candidate Bulletin is at (www.ncsbn.org/1213.htm); this bulletin provides detailed information regarding the NCLEX examination fee, registration process and scheduling procedures for international and domestic test centers.

All candidates, regardless of where the examination will be administered, must apply for licensure to a board of nursing to receive eligibility and an Authorization to Test (ATT) let from Pearson VUE before they will be allowed to schedule an NCLEX appointment. Candidates who are not familiar with the nurse licensure process should contact the specific board of nursing in the jurisdiction they wish to be licensed for information. Contact information for all boards of nursing can be found at www.ncsbn.org/2137.htm.

No. Candidates who have previously received an Authorization To Test (ATT) letter will NOT be granted an extension in order to accommodate scheduling in international test centers.  Candidates should consult the NCLEX Candidate Bulletin for complete information on this process.

The fee for taking the NCLEX examination is $200. If you choose to schedule your NCLEX at an international test center, you will have to pay an additional international scheduling fee of $150 plus a Value Added Tax (VAT) where applicable. These fees must be paid by credit card and will be charged when you call to schedule your examination appointment.

Please be aware that once you have an appointment at an international center (non-member board jurisdictions), and decide to reschedule to a domestic (member board jurisdictions) test center, you will not receive a refund for the $150 scheduling fee.

You will also have to pay other fees for licensure required by the board of nursing in the jurisdiction in which you are applying. You must check with your board of nursing to find out about these fees.

Yes. You will have to pay the $150 international scheduling fee and any applicable VAT charges; these fees must be paid by credit card.

No. There are no refunds of NCLEX fees for any reason.

The only acceptable identification for international centers is a passport. The passport must be valid (not expired) with a signature and photograph. All passports must be in English and signed in English.

Due to U.S. trade restrictions, candidates who indicate that they live in a sanctioned country are unable to be admitted to sit for the NCLEX examination.  This is a federal requirement by The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of Treasury.  As of June 2010, the countries on the U.S. economic and trade sanctions list are Iran and Cuba.

Testing at a domestic PPC
In order to be admitted to the NCLEX examination, candidates who are testing at a Pearson Professional Center (PPC) within the U.S.* and hold a passport from a sanctioned country, must present one of the following:

  • Passport from the sanctioned country with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) stamp (temporary I-1551), (endorsement by INS in a passport to show admission for permanent residence)
  • Passport from the sanctioned country along with a U.S. Permanent residence Card (Green Card)
  • U.S. driver’s license/U.S. state identification (Department of Motor Vehicle-issued)

Testing at an international PPC
In order to be admitted to the NCLEX examination, candidates who are testing at an international PPC and hold a passport from a sanctioned country must also present proof of residency (government issued identification) from a non-sanctioned country.  This only applies to candidates presenting a passport from a sanctioned country.  Candidates testing internationally who reside in a non-sanctioned country can only present a passport as a form of identification.

The NCLEX Unofficial Quick Results is available to any candidate as long as their board of nursing participates in the service.  A list of participating boards is available at www.ncsbn.org/1225.htm.

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