What Are the Nursing Equivalent Qualifications of the United States and United Kingdom?

Updated April 17, 2017

The United States has only one first level of nurse, this being the Registered Nurse (RN), according to the website Brutish Nursing. The RGN/RMN serves as the U.K. equivalent. The Nurse Practitioner (NP) qualification in the United States, a higher-level nursing credential, has a parallel in the U.K. nurse prescriber qualification. These higher level nursing qualifications permit a nurse to do some doctor duties in both countries. The United Kingdom does have other lower nursing qualifications, such as the State Enrolled Nurse (SEN) and the Advanced Practitioner (AP).


To work in the United States as an RN, a U.K.-trained nurse has to have the RGN/RMN or U.K. nurse prescriber qualification, which already incorporates nursing training. Each state in America has its own board of nursing and its own regulations for foreign-trained nurses. These may vary from state to state.

To register in the United Kingdom as a U.S.-trained nurse, you will need at least a three-year bachelor of science in nursing degree (BSN) of approved content. An associate in science nursing degree of less than three-year length will not suffice. There are also English language requirements and the need to first be registered in the United States.


To work in the States as an already eligible U.K.-trained nurse requires testing and certification, leading to a U.S. nurse license. For starters, nearly all states require that you pass the CGFNS exam before you can apply for the NCLEX-RN exam of a state's board. At present, only New York and Florida make exceptions. Nevertheless, each board will advise you on their CGFNS exam requirements.

The United Kingdom has no testing requirements before U.S. nurses can register, but instead a 20-day period of guided learning and, where appropriate, a period of supervised practice. The United Kingdom's Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) strongly suggests getting your place on a program before travelling to the United Kingdom.


For U.K. nurses, your prospective U.S. employer has to show that it has made every effort to hire persons who already have living and working rights in the United States, before the authorities will allow them to recruit foreign nurses, including U.K. ones. Unless you are a U.S. citizen by birth or by marriage, you must have the correct visa to enter America to work as a U.K. nurse. You must still comply with the requirements of U.S. nurse licensure even if you do not need a visa to enter the United States. The Department of State and National Immigration Services websites can help with U.S. visa issues, and UK Visas for U.S. nurses, or, if you're already in the United Kingdom, consult the U.K. Border Agency website.

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About the Author

Charles Ezeani has been writing since 1998 after taking a literature-in-English class. He has been featured in various international poetry publications such as "Letters From The Soul" and "The Solace Of The Night." Ezeani is studying electrical and electronic engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University.