Become a Registered Nurse in California

With the growing nursing shortage in the United States, it is assumed that there are many nursing jobs for people who want to work either in the prestigious Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a San Francisco nursing home, or a Sacramento aged-care facility. Nurses who want to work in California has to go through a process of acquiring a state license so that they can practice their profession.

Just like state and federal government agencies, the California nursing board has strict laws and regulations that applicants have to follow. Though it may take months to accomplish, foreign nurses have to undergo additional paperwork. So if you are keen in practicing nursing abroad and look for overseas jobs then you need to process your immigration papers.

Follow these basic procedures when you want to process your requirements:

1. Visit the website of the California Board of Registered Nursing (CBRN) at and find the following forms:

a. Application for Licensure by Examination

b. Request for Transcript

c. Breakdown for Educational Program for International Nursing Programs

d. Fingerprint Certification or Request for Live Scan Service Form

2. Have your passport-type picture taken in 2x2 colored photos.

3. Fill out the application form that you downloaded from the CBRN website. While your application is being processed, do your research on potential employers and vacant job openings in California. Foreign nurses should take care of their visa requirements.

4. The CBRN needs your fingerprints for their standard background check procedures. There are two ways to accomplish fingerprint verification:

a. If you are in California, you can have the live scan method to shorten the processing time. Fill out the Live Scan Service Form by following the instructions for completing the live scan. Submit the form at

b. Foreign nurses can submit a fingerprint card if they don’t have access to a live scan facility. Download the form at

5. Foreign nurses need to produce a copy of their diploma and nursing license that allows them to practice nursing in their country.

6. Fill out all the necessary forms and including other pertinent documents and send it via mail to the California Board of Registered Nursing, PO Box 944210, Sacramento, CA 94244-2100.

7. Submit the Request for Transcript and Breakdown for Educational Program forms to the nursing school where you graduated. Also include your entire theoretical and clinical training documentation. Your school will send all the documents directly to CBRN. For non-English documents, a certified translated version of your documents made by an independent professional translator along with the original copy should be submitted to the Board.

8. If the nursing school you graduated doesn’t exist anymore then you will have to contact the appropriate archive and have the documents submitted to the Board.

9. After the CBRN approves your application for licensure, you will now be able to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in the state of California. Pay the examination registration fee.

10. Take and pass the NCLEX-RN. Once you passed the exam, you will receive your permanent Registered Nursing License two to four weeks later.

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