UK to USA license transfer


Hi there!

I am posting this question for a friend of mine who is interested in transferring her nursing practice from the UK to the US (specifically, Illinois).

The nurse education and practice system in the UK is a little different than here, and she is wondering if she'll have to take additional clinical hour courses to qualify to take the NCLEX. She has already submitted a transcript review to the US, to see if she's missing any courses, however she's heard this process could take up to a year. She is hoping to have her education completed by that time. (Since she will be moving here to get married by that time). She currently holds a RGN license in the UK, and is working as a registered general adult nurse in a PACU type unit. I am currently a working RN in Illinois, and when we compare our education the only difference is that she is missing clinical hours in OB & Psych...will she have to complete clinical hours in these areas before she qualifies to take the Illinois NCLEX?

Is there anyone out there with any experience or advice to offer in this area?

Thank you in advance for your time!

Editorial Team / Admin

Silverdragon102, BSN

1 Article; 39,477 Posts

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC. Has 35 years experience.

If her transcripts to do show hours both clinical and theory in Paeds, Mental Health, Obstetrics and Adult she should be OK however if it doesn't then she may have difficulty making up the hours as many nursing schools are not offering opportunities to make up the hours in the UK and no courses available in the UK

babyNP., APRN

1,921 Posts

Specializes in NICU. Has 15 years experience.

Is she marrying a US citizen? If so, you know she'll have the right to work in the USA, so that's no problem. In that case, I would have her figure out exactly what she needs (by contacting the Illinois board of nursing- they will likely tell her to get an evaluation of her transcripts first, usually CGFNS). Once she figures out what types of hours she needs, I would call every single nursing program near her and ask if you can make up the hours (in the US, as Silverdragon pointed out, haven't heard much luck in getting hours with UK nursing programs). You'll probably get a lot of rejections, but that's really the only way to do it, as far as I am aware.

Once that's all done with and if she becomes eligible, she'll have to take the NCLEX. The style of questions may be different from what she's used to (not sure how the exams are in the UK); current pass rate for nurses educated in a foreign country is about 30%, but that also includes many people whose first language isn't English. There are a lot of practice books as you know and my professors in nursing school said that taking a few thousand questions is more important than the content for the most part because you have to learn the style of the exam.

Here's a link to the Illinois BON RN application by paper, instructions for foreign educated nurses on page 4.

Good luck! let us know how things turn out for her...and if she's doing the family visa thing, tell her that everything does end eventually even if it doesn't feel like it! Just helped my DH his citizenship this year (he's a Brit) and SO glad to be done with the process.

loriangel14, RN

6,931 Posts

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

I believe that many have searched for nursing programs in the US that would allow students take just the hours they needed with no luck.


4 Posts

Thank you!


4 Posts

Thank helpful!


4 Posts

Yeah, that's what we are afraid of...thanks!

allnurses Guide

ghillbert, MSN, NP

3,796 Posts

Specializes in CTICU. Has 27 years experience.

I would recommend she sign up herself for the website. It's a process that is complicated enough without using a middle man for information! She can't "transfer her practice from the UK to the US" - it's more a matter of gaining licensure in the US from scratch than transferring. You can't apply to "the US" for evaluation but to the board of nursing of whatever state she wishes to work in. Their website would be the first place to start. It should not take a year to apply - unless you mean her CGFNS evaluation?