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Canadian nurse in the states

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by sambatth sambatth (New Member) New Member

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Hello fellow nurses....

I am a Canadian nurse planning to practice nursing in the United States.... maybe travel nursing... not sure yet..  I am aware that I would need to get my work permit/ SNN either way, but I am not sure if I would be able to write my US NCLEX without SNN. Once I have my NCLEX then apply for work permit or do I have to get my work permit before I can apply for NCLEX?

Any information is appreciated.

Thank you.

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juan de la cruz has 27 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and works as a Adult Critical Care Nurse Practitioner.

3 Followers; 8 Articles; 57,532 Visitors; 3,765 Posts

My understanding is that all Canadian provinces are now using NCLEX-RN since 2017. This is the exact same test that US pre-licensure nursing graduates take to become an RN. You wouldn't have to take a separate "US NCLEX" because that's a misnomer. However, to obtain RN license in the US, you'd have to look at the requirements for each of the individual states. Every state makes their own rules in making sure your educational preparation is similar to their standards. Some require credentials evaluation by a third party.

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Silverdragon102 has 30 years experience as a BSN and works as a Registered Nurse.

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Moved to the International Nursing forum 

as mentioned NCLEX is the same so you just need to meet state requirements and arrange for your college to confirm NCLEX pass to the state. Most hospitals will more than likely prefer confirmation you meet requirements before offering job and if looking at nafta will then provide job confirmation via letter for you to provide at the border a long with visa screen certificate from CGFNS 

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pluckyduck has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Registered Nurse.

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I can answer this because I am a Canadian working in the US. I’ve been working here for the last 4 years. The NCLEX-RN is the same test whether written in Canada or the US but you need to look at the individual licensing requirements for the state you’re interested in practicing. 

I am assuming you already have a license to practice in a province in Canada. You should apply for the license for the state you intend to practice in first. You can find this information by googling “state nursing license application”. For example, this is the site for Michigan: https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-89334_72600_72603_27529_27542---,00.html

Read through everything with a fine tooth comb. It is a lengthy process and if you make mistakes it will cost money and time. 

Once you have the license for the state, then you to start the VisaScreen process through CGFNS international. http://www.cgfns.org/services/certification/visascreen-visa-credentials-assessment/ 

They are a third party agency that verifies your credentials including education and licensure and once your visa screen is issued, then you can start applying for jobs in the states. The visa screen has to be renewed every 5 years  for the duration of the time you work in the US. This process takes about 9-12 months. 

Once you have a visa screen and a license, then you can apply for work. An employer will not even look at you if you don’t have the visa screen as it does the preliminary work for your employer and US customs and immigration. Once you have offer of employment, you will get a letter from your employer and an immigration firm that you take to a port of entry (border crossing between the US and Canada) and you present it with a passport, your licenses, your degree and a bunch of other paperwork. Then they will briefly interview you and issue you your I-94 which is your TN VISA under NAFTA. This has to be renewed every 3 years and it is directly tied to your employer. If you lose your job, your visa is no longer valid. If you change jobs you need to apply for a new visa sponsored through the new employer. 

This entire process will take at least a year. I knew when my husband was finishing college I was going to be relocating to the the US so I started it about 16 months prior to moving. It will also cost about -$500 for the visa screen with associated fees required for paperwork verification and each states licensing fees vary. If you don’t have a passport, you need to do that as well and that’s $160. 

Hope this helps!

Edited by pluckyduck
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472 Visitors; 12 Posts

Thank you for your response. I wrote CRNE.. We didn't have NCLEX at the time. So I think I will have to write it again. 

Plus a friend of mine is RPN in Canada and she is wondering if she can transition her Nursing diploma into ADN. We are both planning to work in the states (California) together. After some research we figured Canadian PN program is same as ADN in the states. My friend is traveling to California next month so I was suggesting her to got to any nursing college in Cali with her diploma and transcripts and see if that helps. Any of you guys have any other suggestions?

Thank you!

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juan de la cruz has 27 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and works as a Adult Critical Care Nurse Practitioner.

3 Followers; 8 Articles; 57,532 Visitors; 3,765 Posts

Just now, sambatth said:

Thank you for your response. I wrote CRNE.. We didn't have NCLEX at the time. So I think I will have to write it again. 

Plus a friend of mine is RPN in Canada and she is wondering if she can transition her Nursing diploma into ADN. We are both planning to work in the states (California) together. After some research we figured Canadian PN program is same as ADN in the states. My friend is traveling to California next month so I was suggesting her to got to any nursing college in Cali with her diploma and transcripts and see if that helps. Any of you guys have any other suggestions?

Thank you!

Just a caution, California is not the easiest to deal with in terms of nurses educated outside the US. They have very unusual requirements that in some cases foreign educated nurses get approved for a license in another US state yet denied in California.

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pluckyduck has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Registered Nurse.

1,177 Visitors; 33 Posts

So a RPN in Canada would be an LPN (licensed practical nurse) in the US equivalent wise. The ADN is an associates diploma program but it is for RNs only —it’s an alternative to the BSN here because of the cost and time required to obtain a BSN, many RNs have their ADN. So the ADN is NOT for RPNs. Your friend can work as a LPN here though. She would have to write the NCLEX-PN though for practical nurses. 

For both of you, you can’t work in a California until you have a minimum one year working in another state first—as a foreign nurse, they will not issue a license by examination (if you have to write the nclex, which it sounds like you do). You need to be licensed in another state and work for a bit, as you need to have a SSN to apply for license by endorsement in California. Like user Juan de la Cruz said above, California and New York have really specific extra requirements that make it challenging to get licensure there. My friend travel nurses and he had his Michigan license first for a few years and worked before he was issued a California license and could go out there. He spent the last two years working on his NY license and just received it a few months ago as he was planning to go out there after his California contract ended. I would recommend picking another state first. Michigan had a high concentration of Canadian RNs due to the influx of BSN educated RNs coming from southwestern Ontario looking for work when there are minimal jobs open here. Best of luck to you!

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Silverdragon102 has 30 years experience as a BSN and works as a Registered Nurse.

6 Followers; 141,310 Visitors; 38,591 Posts

Very difficult for LPN to get work permit for the USA. NAFTA and immigrant visa require RN 

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472 Visitors; 12 Posts

Thank you everyone.

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On 3/23/2019 at 3:56 PM, sambatth said:

I am a Canadian nurse planning to practice nursing in the United States

Howdy. I'm Canadian (Ontario) and posted the same inquiry before. I'm a new grad RN with LPN background and passed my NCLEX this year. Basically, I already have a fulltime job offer @ a surgical floor in Maine. I paid CGFNS - visa screen & BON Maine application & just waiting for my nursing schools + CNO to send required forms.

On 3/23/2019 at 10:01 PM, pluckyduck said:

I can answer this because I am a Canadian working in the US

Hello. Thank you for sharing your experience. I did not have the intention to go to the US before; therefore, I did not know that it takes a lot of steps. I am invested now after paying $$$. 

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472 Visitors; 12 Posts

I would totally go for full-time opportunity in the US. It is so hard to find a full tine job in Ontario. Good luck to you!

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472 Visitors; 12 Posts

2 hours ago, hypnotizer90 said:

Howdy. I'm Canadian (Ontario) and posted the same inquiry before. I'm a new grad RN with LPN background and passed my NCLEX this year. Basically, I already have a fulltime job offer @ a surgical floor in Maine. I paid CGFNS - visa screen & BON Maine application & just waiting for my nursing schools + CNO to send required forms.

Off-topic but I see that you went to Ryerson U. Did you do Centennial- Ryerson? or you went for part-time Ryerson program? If it was part-time Ryerson program how was it? Actually a friend of mine is thinking to go back to school to finish her RN. She is an RPN and wants to go back to school part-time. She is contemplating between part-time Ryerson or part-time online Nipissing program. Any suggestions? 

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