Here are the basic steps to become a California RN if you were educated in another country, and have never been licensed in another state in the U.S. (If you are licensed in another U.S. State and have passed the U.S. licensing exam, you may qualify for endorsement licensure.)
Read detailed application instructions and download forms at this link. Or you may request an application packet by contacting the Board of Registered Nursing.
Submit your application form, with appropriate fees. You will need to provide a U.S. Social Security number before a California license can be issued to you.
Submit your fingerprints for a criminal background check.
Submit a copy of your license or diploma that permits you to practice as an RN in your country.
Have your college transcripts sent directly to the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). If your transcripts are not in English, there are special instructions for translation.(pdf)
If your college has never submitted a transcript to the BRN for evaluation, the BRN will also need the college’s curriculum, catalogs, or other documents for evaluation.
Apply for an Interim Permit if you wish to work under supervision temporarily while your licensing application is being evaluated. If you are from a non-English speaking country or did not take your country’s licensing examination in English, you will need to take an English comprehension examination to qualify for an Interim Permit. See the detailed application instructions for more information.
Take and pass the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX). The exam is computerized and given continuously 6 days a week.