International Travel Nursing

International travel is " the future of nursing," says Gary Fanger, founder and owner of an international travel nurse comapny. The nursing shortage is not expected to improve anytime soon. While bringing nurses to the United States from other countries is not the answer to the shortage, it can help while other solutions are put into place.

In general, foreign traveling nurses want to work in the United States for it's money making potential. Nurses in the United States are so stressed from the shortage that many of them want to travel outside of the country for the adventure and excitement even if it means less money. Let's face it, the grass is always greener on the other side. Right?

Traveling Abroad (outside of the U.S.)
      Foreign Nursing Boards
      Traveling to the Middle East
      Tips for Traveling Abroad
      International Travel Nursing Companies
Immigrating to the U.S. from Canada
Immigrating to U.S. from another country
      Find a sponsor
      Take English Exams
      NCLEX Exam
      Social Security Card
      Drivers License
      Local Consulate for more information
      Entering U.S. at port of Entry
List of Volunteer Medical Mission Organizations to forgein countries

Traveling outside of the United States
Working outside of the United States is not usually a money making venture, except in the middle east. In general, nurses tend to make less money in other parts of the world. For example, the pay in the UK and Australia is approximately 27 to 36 thousand U.S. dollars a year. If you want to travel to another country, you may want to consider saving money and paying off bills before you go.
Plan on spending 6 to 8 months in processing before being able to travel. The process of proving your credentials and obtaining a visa still takes awhile even though the United States nursing education is highly regarded in other countries.
It can be difficult to find companies that send nurses to other countries because there is not much money to be made in doing so. Even more difficult is to find a company that sends nurses to a country that speaks a foreign language.
If you are really serious about working outside of the U.S., you may want to apply for licensure in where you want to go. The licensure application is often the most difficult and tedious part of the process and staffing companies will take you more seriously. Below is a list of some foreign nursing boards.

Australia Nursing Council, Inc.
683 Murray Street
West Perth, 6005
WA, Australia
General information: Overseas Information:

An Bord Altranais 31/32 (Irish Nursing Board)
Fitzwilliam Square
Dublin 2, Ireland
353-1-639-8500 Fax: 353-1-676-3348

United Kingdom Nursing and Midwifery Council
23 Portland Place
London W1B1PZ
020 7637 7181 Fax: 020 7436 2924
Professional advice email
More information on UK nursing immigration: or

Virgin Islands Board of Nurse Licensure
P.O. Box 4247
St. Thomas, V.I. 00803
340-776-7397 Fax: 340-776-7131

College of Nurses of Ontario
101 Davenport Rd.
Toronto Ontario
M5R3P1 Canada
1 800 387-5526

Collegio Infermieri La Spezia - Italy
Via XXIV Maggio 343
La Spezia
Italy 19125 Europe

Additonal Nursing Boards

American Samoa
Regulatory Board
LBJ Tropical Medical Center
Pago Pago, AS 96799
(684) 633 1222 206

P.O. Box 2816
Hagatna, Guam 96932

N. Mariana Island
Commonwealth Board of Nurse Examiners
P.O. Box 501458
Saipan, MP 96950

Puerto Rico
P.O. Box 10200
Santurce, PR 00908-0200
(787) 725 7506

Traveling to the Middle East
Traveling to Saudi Arabia is a unique experience. Margaret traveled to Saudi and reports the inside scoop.

If you go to Saudi Arabia, the commitment is usually for 2 years. Vacation is once a year for approximately 30 days. You can always break the contract if you do not like it, but you will just lose your bonus, says Margaret.

The money is good because it is not taxed. Most companies pay around 36,000 to 40,000 dollars a year which is like making around 50,000 dollars a year in the United States.

You live in an American compound and work at an American hospital. According to Margaret, one of the best hospitals to work at is King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center.

Women have to have their bodies covered so as not to show any curves or they can be taken to jail. Oh yes, do not be seen with any other man in public that is not related to you. Margaret could have been in real trouble with her Arab boyfriend. She shares how she would sneak past the guards at her boyfriend's compound every week. Businesses will shut down for 15 minutes during the day for prayer. During this time, she would sneak in to see her boyfriend. Although, this makes for a great story, it is not recommended. Remember, you are subject to the laws of the area and their consequences.

Another Middle Eastern area to travel to is United Arab Emirates. Their commitment requirement is usually for one year and the people there are more "westernized" than in Saudi Arabia.
If you are thinking about going to Saudi Arabia, read two books before you go: Nine Hearts of Desire, and Princess. Also, watch the movie: Not without My Daughter.

Special Tips for Traveling Abroad
" Make sure you have a signed valid passport (and visa, if required). Fill in the emergency information page of your passport.

" If you get into trouble, contact the nearest U.S. embassy.

" Before you leave, note the contact information of the local embassy and emergency contact numbers (local police, hotel, fire department).

" Log onto to find out any possible dangers, laws, and recommended immunizations for the place you plan to visit.

" Make 2 copies of your passport and any credit cards. Leave one copy with family and carry one separate from the originals.

" Do not leave your luggage unattended or wear flashy clothing or jewelry.

" Bring an extra pair of glasses and any medications you need. Bring a doctors note for any narcotics you need to bring with you. Make sure your health insurance covers you abroad. Consider purchasing a short-term health and emergency assistance policy designed for travelers that includes evacuation in the event of an accident.


Premier Healthcare Professionals

Acclaim Recruitment
Advance Medical Recruitment
Affinity Nursing Recruitment
Austra Health International
Australian Nursing Agency
Australian Nursing Solutions
Australian Outback Locums
BBT- Beresford Blake Thomas
Belmore Nurses Bureau
Cairns Nursing Agency
Celtic Care
Centennial Nurses Agency
ChoiceOne Meditemp
CQ Nurse
Critical Care Nursing Agency
Critique Nurses
Daryl Alexander & Associates
Drake International
Eden Health Recruitment
Firstpoint Healthcare
Geneva Health International
Healthcare Placement Solutions
Healthscope Limited
Healthstra Employment
Health Staff Recruitment
Helen Ziegler and Associates
International Health Jobs
McKesson Asia-Pacific
Medijobs - Australia
MH Matrix
Malvern Nurses Agency
Medicall Placements
Mediserve Nurse Agency - Australia
Medistaff Health Care Professionals
MCI Medical Careers International
N.T. Medic
National Nurses Plus
Nurse on Holidays
Nurses First
Nursing Agency of South Australia
Nursing Australia
Nursing Jobs
Nursing Personnel
Nursing Practice Management
Overseas Nurse
Oxley Nursing Service
Paediatric Nurses Agency
Pearls International Recruitment Agency
Premier Healthcare Professionals
Psychiatric Care Consultants Pty. Ltd.
Regent Recruitment
Robert Walters
Select Appointments
Silverman Dakin
Staffing Synergy
Territory Nurses
Think Nursing
UK Health Jobs
Victorian Public Hospital Employment
The Wesley Hospital
West Australian Nursing Agency
Working In Australia
Worldwide Healthcare Exchange

BBT- Beresford Blake Thomas
Canadian Nurse
Canadian RN Directory
Drake International
Geneva Health International
Helen Ziegler and Associates
New Solutions
Overseas Nurse
Solutions Staffing, Inc.

EMI Europe

HCCA International

EMI Europe
HCCA International

A-Team Health Recruitment
CCM Recruitment International
Health Professionals
Health Staff Recruitment
IFSC Online
Kate Cowhig International Recruitment
Overseas Nurse
Supplemental Health Care Travel Nursing

New Zealand
Arabian Health
BBT- Beresford Blake Thomas
CareLink Nursing & Homecare Ltd
Enterprise Recruitment
Geneva Health International
Health Communication Network
International Health Jobs
NZ Jobs Co
OES Job Centre
Overseas Nurse
Reed Medical
Remedy Consultants Ltd
Tonix New Zealand Health Recruitment
Working In New Zealand

HCCA International

United Kingdom
1st Contact
A-Team Health Recruitment
Adevia Health
ALD, Inc. - American Life & Dignity
Artemis Europe
BBT- Beresford Blake Thomas
Blue 2 Medics
British Nursing Agencies
British Nursing Association
BUPA Health Care Recruitment
Catto International
Continental Travelnurse
EM Recruitment UK
European Nursing Agency
Eurotemp Recruitment
Firstpoint Healthcare
Geneva Health International
Genius Health
HCCA International
Health Professionals
Health Staff Recruitment
International Health Jobs
Jane Lewis International
Locum Solutions
Mayfield Occupational Health Services
Medacs Healthcare Services
Medacs International
Medic International
Medicare First
Medico Nursing & Homecare
Nannies Incorporated
Nestor Healthcare Group
Newcross Nursing Group
Nursing Agencies List
Nursing Express
Nursing Net UK
Nurse UK
OeS Job centre
Overseas Nurse
Oxford Aunts Care & Nursing Agency
Pacific International
Portfolio of British Nursing Sites
Premier Healthcare Professionals
Professional Connections
Pulse Healthcare Appointments
Qualified Cancer Care
Quality Locums
Recruitment Solutions Group
Reed Healthcare International
Robinson Medical Recruitment
Search Recruitment
Sheffield Consulting Group
Stateside Nursing Ltd.
Strand Nurses Bureau
Team 24
Supplemental Health Care Travel Nursing
Therapy Workline
The Thornbury Nursing Portal
Thornbury Nursing Services
Thornbury Quick Nurse
Tradewind Recruitment
Worldwide Healthcare Exchange

Going to the U.S. from Canada
When The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is in effect it makes it relatively easy for Canadians to work in the U.S. and for Americans to work in Canada. However, this is continually changing. If the agreement is not in effect then you may have to in the the U.S. like a foreign nurse from any other country. Any travel nursing company that brings nurses from the United States will be able to help you witht the process and tell you the latest regulations.

Under the NAFTA agreement, Canadian nurses can work in the U.S. for 1 year. Annually, Canadians return to the border and cross again to renew their time in the U.S. If you are Canadian, all you need to cross the border is:

" Letter from your company on letterhead stating your position, job description, hospital location, salary, and start date.
" Birth certificate, ID, or passport
" Canadian RN license and U.S. RN license if available
" At least $100 dollars cash for crossing fees

Also, please carry copies of all your medical documents and certifications for your nursing assignment.

If you have not taken the NCLEX exam yet, you may still be able to work in one of the following states (please call to verify):
" Main
" Alabama
" Connecticut
" New Mexico
" North Carolina
" Wisconsin
" New York (1 year temporary permit)
" Missouri

A few other states will accept the Canadian RN exam (CNAT) if you scored above 400 before a certain date. The date of the exam requirement varies from state to state. The states that seem to accept the CNAT exam with limitations as to when it was taken and the score are: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Tennessee.
All the states require the Canadians to have attended an English speaking school. If not, you must take the English proficiency exams. The CGFNS test locations in Canada are: Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. The NCLEX exam can be taken across most state borders and in Manitoba, Canada.


Immigrating to the United States (foreign nurse)

The process of becoming a nurse in the United States can be a long and tedious process. According to Carl Shusterman, an immigration attorney specializing in foreign nurses and physicians, the current immigration process can take as long as 18 months. He is working with delegates to change the process for nurses ( Lots of good information on the current legal requirements of traveling internationally can be found on Shusterman's site.

Finding a sponsor
If you want to work in the United States, you must first find a sponsor. Below is a list of agencies or potential sponsors for coming to the United States.

Access Nurses
Adevia Health
Akamai Healthcare Solutions
Alda Professional Placement Services
Allied Professional Placement
All of Nursing
Assignment America
Avant Healthcare Professionals
BBT- Beresford Blake Thomas
Catto International
Compass International
EMI Europe
Executive Resume
First Point Healthcare
Geneva Health International
HCCA International
Health Care Colorado
HealthCare Job Bank
International Medical Corps.
International Travel Nurse Association
Jobs At Travel Nurse
Nursing Around the World
OGrady - Peyton International
Overseas Nurse
Pearls International Recruitment Agency
Premier Healthcare Professionals
Professional Placement Resources
Quintiles International
Resumes and Cover Letters
Sample Resume
Stateside Nursing Ltd.
Supplemental Health Care Travel Nursing
Travel Nursing Resource Center - A.M.N.
Vantage Search Group

Taking English Proficiency Exams

If you graduated from an English speaking school, you may be exempt from the English Exams. Most exempt nurses are from: Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. All other nurses must complete at least one/or all of the following sets of exams:
" English Language Proficiency Exams administered by the
Education Testing Service (ETS, 1-609-771-7100).
1. Test of English as a foreign language (TOEFL),
2. Test of written English (TWE)
3. Test of spoken English (TSE)
" English Language Proficiency Exam administered by the English Language Institute (ELI, 1-734-763-3452).
1. Parts 1-3 of the Michigan English Language Assessment
2. Oral Interview section

Taking the NCLEX exam

Once you have completed the CGFNS, most states will allow you to apply for a temporary nursing license. Once you are in the United States, you can take the NCLEX exam which is offered in most location in the U.S. on a daily basis. The NCLEX exam is the United States nursing exam. Once the NCLEX exam is passed, it never expires and can be used to apply for any state licensure. Information about licensure requirements for different states can be found at
Usually, when you apply for a license in the desired state, the nursing board will send you the information you need to take the NCLEX exam. You cannot take the exam without first applying for a license in a particular state. When you go to take the NCLEX exam, you will be asked which state you have applied for licensure. It doesn't matter which state you apply with as long as you apply with one.

NCLEX (National Council of State Boards)
11 E Wacker Dr suite 2900
Chicago, Illinois 60601

Information on studying for the exam can be found at practice tests . The test is $200 dollars and is offered: throughout the U.S., the American Samoa, District of Columbia, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. If you decide to take the NCLEX internationally there will be an additional $150 fee plus tax. All additional details, registration, and requirements can be found at this website. Specific test site locations can be found at

Taking the CGFNS
If the NCLEX exam is not offered in a location near you, you may elect to skip the CGFNS (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools) certification program. This program reviews your credentials and allows you to assess your chances of passing the U.S. registered nursing licensing exam (NCLEX-RN) by giving you an exam similar to the NCLEX exam. For immigration purposes, they will often accept the NCLEX or CGFNS exam. However, in order to work, you will still have to take the NCLEX exam when you get to the U.S. to work in the United States.

3600 Market Street #400
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651
215-349-8767 or
Application fee $368, reapplication $308

The CGFNS certification program is offered in several locations. Please check this link for the most current list of locations.

Applying for a social security card
Once you arrive to the United States, you will receive an I-94 form at immigration, take the form and apply for a social security number immediately at the local social security office. You cannot get a paycheck until you have a social security number.

Social Security Administration
Windsor Park Building
6401 Security Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21235

Obtaining an international drivers license

Before you leave the United States, consider getting an international drivers license at AAA (800-922-8228 or 415-565-2012).
If you are arriving in the United States, most rental car companies in the U.S. require you to have an international drivers license and a credit card from an American bank. Check with your local passport center to find out how to get an international drivers license.

National Passport Center
P.O. Box 371971
Pittsburg, PA 15250-7971

Contacting local U.S. consulate
Traveling nursing agencies should be assisting you with the immigration process. However, for further questions, you can contact your local U.S. consulate. More information on immigration can be found by visiting

Entering the United States at the Port of Entry
AT the port-of-entry, you will be inspected U.S. government officials. They may have at least 4 different inspections: public health, immigration, customs, and agriculture. You will be asked to provide your basic identification information, the address you will be staying in the United States, Passport, and Nursing credentials(certifications, nursing license in your country, CGFNS or NCLEX).


Any travel nursing company that helps nurses immigrate to the U.S. should be up on the most recent guidelines and be able to help you step by step. In summary, the following is a good start for the process:

• Two years experience in the specialty area you want to work in
• Able to write and speak in English fluently
• NCLEX completion
• TOEFL, TWE & TSE exams completed
• Application and credentials for chosen US Nursing Board
• References (3)
• Visa screening by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
-I-140 form filled out with INS for your greencard. Several follow up forms asking additional info.
-Interview with U.S. Embassy about your application for final approval

In many cases the INS will not accept a nurse into the US without a passing score on the NCLEX exam and complete history and physical. A few states do allow you to work as a nurses aid or LPN, for 90 days to 1 year, while you get ready to take the NCLEX exam.


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