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The United States welcomes experienced nurses from Puerto Rico. However, a nurse licensed in Puerto Rico will still have to fulfill all the state's requirements for nursing as would a nurse licensed in any other state. Each state has its own nursing board and thus will have its own particular application process and different requirements. To maintain public safety, each state's board of nursing requires a candidate for licensure to pass the relevant National Council Licensure Examination -- NCLEX-RN for registered nurses and NCLEX-PN for vocational/practical nurses. The only state that endorses Puerto Rican nursing licenses without the NCLEX is Florida, where the only requirement is that you worked for two of the last three years as a licensed nurse in Puerto Rico.
Go to the website of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) (see Resources). This page will tell you which of the CGFNS services each state requires.
Click on the link for the state where you wish to apply. This link will most likely take you to the state's Board of Nursing home page.
Search for a link pertaining to "Foreign Educated Nurse Requirements," "Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools" or something similar.
Click on the link to the steps needed for a graduate of a foreign nursing school.
Fill out the application, pay the necessary fees and fulfill any necessary requirements outlined in the instructions.
Nurses residing in Puerto Rico are allowed to bypass the CGFNS exam. The Credentials Evaluation Service is generally required, but there are some exceptions.
To take the NCLEX, a foreign nurse must receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) from the state where she intends to be licensed. Check with the CGFNS for information on how to obtain an ATT.
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Wanda Brito was born to write. She has written professionally since 1998 - developing surveys, presentations and marketing research reports — and has been writing and proofreading freelance since 2007. Her work has been featured on eHow.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish literature from Colgate University and a Master of Science in administration from Metropolitan College of New York.