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Home >> Career Related Articles >> CGFNS
The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) is a neutral, non-profit organization that deals with immigration formalities for nurses and is internationally recognized for its authority on education, registration, licensure of nurses and other health care professionals. CGFNS protects the public by ensuring that nurses and other healthcare professionals educated in countries other than the United States are eligible and qualified to meet licensure, immigration and other practice requirements in the United States.

The story behind CGFNS International (formerly the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools) begins in the late 1960s when the United States experienced an increase in nurse migration from other countries. Immigration officials had a difficult time identifying who of the nurses educated abroad and applying for nursing occupational visas would be eligible for licensure as a registered nurse in the United States. On average, only 15 to 20% of nurses educated outside the United States were passing the U.S. registered nurse licensure exam on their first attempt.

CGFNS offers two important training programmes to impart the necessary skills and competency required for nurses to obtain registration / licensure as a nurse in the United States.

The Programs offered are:

1. CGFNS Certification program (CP)
2. CGFNS Credentials Evaluation Service (CES)

A third program, CGFNS Credentials Verification Service (CVS) for New York State independently collects and verifies the authenticity of the applicant's educational and licensure / registration credentials. Once verified, the credentials are forwarded to the New York State Education Department to be evaluated as part of the application formalities. A fourth program, Visa screen TM satisfies the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

The CGFNS Certification Program Certificate is required of internationally educated registered nurses by a majority of U.S. states in order to take the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. CGFNS Certification Program Certificate holders consistently have a higher rate of success on the NCLEX-RN examination than internationally educated nurses who do not hold the Certificate.

Format of CGFNS

The CGFNS Certification Program (CP) is designed specifically for first-level general (Registered) nurses educated outside the United States who wish to pursue a career in the U.S. as registered nurses. The program comprises of three parts:

1. A credentials review of your nursing education, registration and licensure
2. The CGFNS Qualifying Exam testing nursing knowledge (Offered four times a year in over 40 test sites worldwide)
3. An English language proficiency examination.

In order to be eligible for the CGFNS Qualifying Exam, you must have completed a minimum number of hours of both classroom instruction and clinical practice in Adult Medical/Surgical Nursing, Maternal/Infant Nursing (Obstetrics), excluding Gynecology, Care of Children (Pediatrics), and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing, excluding Neurology.

If you have not completed any and/or an insufficient number of hours in each of the above areas, you will be ineligible to take the CGFNS Qualifying Exam until you complete an entire course (both theory and clinical) in the deficient area from a government-approved nursing school.

You must also have been registered

1. As a first-level (Registered) nurse in your country of education.
2. Currently hold a registration/license as a Registered Nurse in some jurisdiction.

Verification of both registrations must be sent to CGFNS directly from the licensing body(ies).

Applicants may select from the following three English Proficiency examinations to take as part of the Certification Program:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
      Administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS)
      Passing Score: 540 (paper/pencil version)
      207(computerized version)

  • Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC).

    • Administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS)
      Passing Score: 725

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

    • Administered by IELTS International
      Passing Score: 6.5 Overall (Academic Module)

    About the Credentials Evaluation Service

    The CGFNS International Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) analyzes the credentials of multiple types and levels of health care professionals who are educated outside of the United States and who wish to pursue licensure or academic admission in the United States.

    The CES report is advisory in nature and does not make specific placement recommendations. The process generally takes from 6 to 8 weeks after receipt of all required documentation and fees. Processing times may vary during periods of high volume.

    The resulting CES report serves as a valuable tool for regulatory/licensing
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