Foreign Educated Nurse Requirements

Detailed information related to foreign-educated nurses may be found in the Nurse Practice Act under Section 40-33-32 and Section 40-33-230.

CREDENTIAL EVALUATION SERVICES

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY REQUIREMENTS

A foreign educated nurse who holds a license to practice in a jurisdiction outside a state or jurisdiction in this country or territory or dependency of the United States who applies for licensure as a nurse shall satisfy all the requirements listed below in addition to the standard application processes.

EXAM APPLICANTS

  • An applicant's general education and nursing education must be at a level required of graduates of nursing education programs in this State who are candidates for licensure as verified by a certificate of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools or another board-approved credentials evaluation service.
    The credential evaluation should be sent directly to the South Carolina Board of Nursing (SCBON). This process should be completed before making application with the SC Board of Nursing (SCBON) due to time constraints and should be sent directly to the SCBON.
  • Pass an English proficiency exam administered by a board approved service provider.
  • Pass the NCLEX Exam.
  • Submit verification of authorization to practice as a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or comparable title from the country of original licensure.
  • Must have a social security number.

ENDORSEMENT APPLICANTS

  • An applicant's general education and nursing education must be at a level required of graduates of nursing education programs in this State who are candidates for licensure as verified by a certificate of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools or another board-approved credentials evaluation service. This process should be completed before making application with the SC Board of Nursing (SCBON) due to time constraints and should be sent directly to the SCBON.
  • Pass an English proficiency exam administered by a board approved service provider.
  • Must have passed the NCLEX Exam.
  • Must have a social security number.
  • Continued Competency: Documentation of continued competency by meeting one of the following requirements within the past two (2) years. Approved providers and forms may be found on the SC Board of Nursing's website: https://llr.sc.gov/nurse/ce.aspx.
    • Completion of thirty contact hours from a continuing education provider recognized by the board (Ex: Continuing Education Certificates); or
    • Maintenance of certification or re-certification by a national certifying body recognized by the board; or
    • Completion of an academic program of study in nursing or a related field recognized by the board; or
    • Verification of competency as evidenced by an employer certification form that has been approved by the board (Employer Certification Form).
  • Out-of-State License Verification: A license verification is required from your original state of licensure by exam. Visit https://www.nursys.com/ to request an electronic verification of licensure to be sent to the South Carolina Board of Nursing (SCBON).
  • Temporary License: You may apply for a sixty (60) day temporary license (§40-33-36 (D)(1)) to practice nursing in SC while your application is being processed. You will need to provide proof of an active license to practice in another state or jurisdiction of the United States. All required documentation with the exception of the Criminal Background Check and the license verification must be received in order for a single-state temporary license to be issued. The license is only valid for sixty days and you cannot work once it has expired. Orientation is considered the practice of nursing and you must be licensed to attend.

    A temporary license cannot be issued if:
    • any questions in the Personal History section of the application are answered “yes”;
    • you are an applicant educated outside of the United States and have not passed the NCLEX exam.
    The Board may immediately cancel a temporary permit or license that was issued upon false, fraudulent or misleading information provided by the applicant.
ALL APPLICANTS' INSTRUCTIONS:

  • You will need the following documents to upload to your electronic application:
    • Copy of your valid driver's license, State issued ID, Passport or Military ID.
    • Copy of Social Security card or Resident Alien Registration. A social security card will be needed before the final license will be issued.
    • Notarized Signature Affidavit and Passport Photo Form
    • Proof of legal name: (vital statistics birth certificate (not hospital birth certificate), valid Passport, marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order approving a legal name change)
    • English Proficiency Exam Report.
    • Proof of Continued Competency
    • Copy of active license to practice in another state, jurisdiction or territory of the United States.
    • Declaration of Primary State of Residence Form (For multi-state license application and if available at the time of application.)
  • Verificaton of Legal Name: A license must be issued in the nurse’s legal name as verified by a birth certificate or other legal document acceptable to the board. Examples of acceptable documents include a valid passport, vital statistics birth certificate (not hospital birth certificate), marriage certificate, divorce decree or court order approving legal name change.
  • Criminal Background Check (CBC): An applicant for a license to practice nursing in South Carolina shall be subject to a criminal history background check as defined in 40-33-25 of the Nursing Practice Act. The Board will send you instructions on how to have your fingerprints processed after your application is received.
    • If you are applying with an alien registration number, you will not be able to have your fingerprints processed until you obtain a social security number.
  • Compact State Information / Proof of Primary State of Residence: SCBON is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). If you are currently licensed in a participating compact state and you move to South Carolina and declare South Carolina as your permanent residence, you must apply for licensure by endorsement with the SCBON. If you apply for licensure in advance of moving, you will be issued a single-state license until you can provide the Declaration of Primary State of Residence Form with a copy of your proof of residence. For more information please visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) at https://www.ncsbn.org/.
  • “Primary state of residence” as defined by the NLC means the “person’s declared fixed permanent and principal home for legal purposes; domicile.”
      Proof of primary residence must be established with one of the following:
      • Driver's license with a home address;
      • Voter registration card displaying a home address;
      • Federal income tax return declaring the primary state of residence.
      • Military Form #2058 - state of legal residence certificate; or
      • W2 from US Government or any bureau, division or agency thereof indicating the declared state of residence.