LPN and RN Licensure by Examination - If You Were Educated Outside of the United States

​​Information regarding the process to obtain a license by examination

The process to apply for licensure by examination is the same for LPNs and RNs.

This page contains additional information for nurses who were educated outside of the United States.


Please review the below list of application requirements and additional information.

Credential Evaluation

You will need to request/apply for a Credential Evaluation. You may use one of the following approved Credential Evaluation companies. If you have received a credential evaluation previously by another provider you may request that document be sent to the Kentucky Board of Nursing for review. Once the evaluation has been completed, the report needs to be sent to the Kentucky Board of Nursing at KBN.Credentials@ky.gov​ or by mail to:

  • Kentucky Board of Nursing
  • ATTN: Examination​
  • 312 Whittington Pkwy Suite 300
  • Louisville, KY 40222

English Language Proficiency Test and Passing Exam Score

You must take and pass the English Language Proficiency Exam. You may use one of the following:

  • TOEFL Internet Based Test: Overall score: 84; Speaking score: 26
    www.toefl.o​rg
  • ​IELTS Academic: Overall Test Passing Score: 6.5; Speaking:6.0
    www.ielts.org

Once you have taken and passed the exam with the qualifying score, the report needs to be sent to the Kentucky Board of Nursing at KBN.Credentials@ky.gov or by mail to:

  • Kentucky Board of Nursing
  • ATTN: Examination
  • 312 Whittington Pkwy Suite 300
  • Louisville, KY 40222​

Complete the application and submit the fee.

  • Complete online application
    • Applications are valid for one year unless you are unsuccessful on the NCLEX. If requirements are not met within one year, your application will expire and you will have to start the process over again.
    • If you are unsuccessful on the NCLEX, your exam application will be voided and you will have to reapply. In addition, your provisional license is invalidated upon unsuccessful completion of NCLEX. In this event, the provisional licensee must immediately cease practicing in a licensed nursing position.
  • Pay application fee of $125 (ALL FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE)
  • You are encouraged to complete the online application; however, if you would like to request a paper application visit the KBN Document Library  and use the keywords "paper application" to obtain the request form. There is a $40 fee for the paper application in addition to the examination application fee of $125.
  • If you do not have a social security number, you may request a temporary ID to apply online. Send your request to KBN.Cred​entials@ky.gov​. You must provide a copy of your social security card before the permanent license will be issued.
  • As a nurse educated outside the U.S. seeking to work in the United States, you must follow U.S. federal immigration law and meet the basic educational and/or professional requirements.

Pass the Jurisprudence Exam with a score of 80% or higher

Complete the state and federal criminal background check through IdentoGO®.

Apply for and pass the Pearson VUE NCLEX

  • Review the page regarding NCLEX, which contains information on the following topics:
    • How to register with Pearson VUE for the NCLEX exam, including the information you will need
    • The Authorization to Test (ATT) email
    • How to reschedule or cancel your NCLEX appointment
    • Accommodations for the NCLEX
    • What happens if you miss your appointment or forget to reschedule
  • For additional information regarding the NCLEX visit the NCSBN website
  • For information regarding NCLEX review courses visit the NCSBN Learning Extension webpage
  • Select this link for information on retaking the NCLEX​​​

Reporting Criminal Convictions

If you have any criminal convictions, they will need to be reported on your application for examination. The exception to this is traffic misdemeanors, other than DUIs. For information about what qualifies as a criminal conviction use the keywords "Reporting Criminal Convictions" to view the Reporting Criminal Convictions Brochure in the KBN Document Library. ​​​​​​​

Graduates of Kentucky programs of nursing have met the following requirements. All others must earn:

Review the information regarding provisional licenses.

If you are unsuccessful on the NCLEX, your exam application will be voided and you will have to reapply. In addition, your provisional license is invalidated upon unsuccessful completion of NCLEX. In this event, the provisional licensee must immediately cease practicing in a licensed nursing position.

Kentucky does not issue license cards. You will receive an email notification when the provisional license or license has been issued.

Applications and documents are reviewed within 14 days. However, if you respond "Yes" to the disciplinary or conviction questions it can take up to three months to process your application.