How to Work as Nurse in USA from Nigeria

Choosing to work as a nurse in USA from Nigeria or any other foreign-based country is valid because there is a general shortage of nurses in the United States. Despite the low volume of nurses, the United States immigration laws can be very restrictive for nurses who want to get jobs in the United States.

The onus, therefore, lies on those who wish to work as a nurse in USA from Nigeria to get the proper visas and correct paperwork from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Department.

How to Work as a Nurse in USA from Nigeria

US Education Requirements for Nurses

Firstly, every nurse from Nigeria must meet the basic requirements for nursing education in the United States. They could be an Associate Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Registered Nurse License, or nursing experience of at least three years.

Work as Nurse in USA

Finish a Foreign Education Nurses (FEN) Course

The above-mentioned academic requirements are necessary. Nonetheless, most states require foreign-educated nurses like the ones from Nigeria to complete a Foreign Education Nurses (FEN) course. This refresher course comprises 120 hours of clinical practice and 120 hours of clinical practice under the supervision of a licensed Registered Nurse.

Take and Pass English Language Proficiency Tests

However, for those who want to work as nurses in USA from Nigeria, it is a different kettle of fish because, in addition to those initial educational requirements, Nigerian nurses will have to sit and pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the Test of English for Initial Communication (TOEFIC). There is also the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Take and Pass the NCLEX-RN Examinations

Once you have the education and language requirements locked down, you must apply for NCLEX in the state you want to work in. Depending on the agency that will help you process your application, the standard cost is $200.

Ensure CGFNS verifies your credentials

For nursing students to take NCLEX, applicants must be certified by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). CGFNS is a company established in 1977 by the State Boards of Nursing. Two significant objectives drive the vision of CGFNS. One is ensuring safe patient care to Americans; the other is forestalling the exploitation of graduates by foreign nursing schools.

To achieve this, the Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools would generally check your nursing school transcripts from your home country, Nigeria. Depending on the kind of report and the one you can achieve, you can select from any of the three reports, which could be: Credentials Evaluation Service Professional Report, CGFNS Certification Program, or Visa Credentials Assessment.

Locate a Nursing Recruiting Agency or any employer based in the United States
As someone who wants to work as a nurse in USA from Nigeria, you will need an employment visa. You can get this visa if you don’t have a sponsorship. If you can’t present an employment letter, you often wouldn’t get an employment visa.

Read Also: How to immigrate to Canada as a nurse

This is where the idea of a recruiting agency stems from. Still, it is easier to work with agencies that have many years of experience in adequately finishing your paperwork.

Obtain Your Employment Visa

Nurses from Mexico or Canada can get a special TN visa which allows them to work in the United States as long as the nurse has an employment letter, a license in the home country, and of course, has passed the NCLEX.
For others who want to work in USA from Nigeria, there are two available options. It could be a permanent or green card or an H1-B temporary work visa.

For those who have completed a four-year degree and wish to work in hospitals serving specific roles like critical care nurses and cardiology nurses in certain communities, this option is one they can take and afterward apply for a permanent work visa. This particular visa option has limited space.

The permanent visa, or as they fondly called it, a green card, is the one many foreign-educated nurses love to apply for.

Foreign-based Nurses who are ineligible to work in the United States

The truth remains that not all those who wish to work in USA from Nigeria are eligible. This is because, in the United States, nurses are expected to have at least two years of nursing experience. Also, these nurses must have completed at least a four-year degree.

Read Also: Four Easiest Country to work as a nurse

Criminal records are also examined before those who want to work in the United States from Nigeria can be given a work visa. Most importantly, nurses without sponsorship from a reputable nursing agency are also turned down.


Many laws in the United States are amenable. As such, those who wish to work as a nurse in USA from Nigeria must have their ears on the ground for every relevant information about immigration. This would mean they speak directly to trustworthy agencies or even lawyers to ensure they aren’t guilty of the law at any point.

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