Skip to main content

We've changed our name!

We are now the Washington State Board of Nursing (WABON). Learn more about our name change...

Educated Outside the United States - RN & LPN

If you completed your RN or LPN education outside of the United States you need to complete a few steps before you can apply for your license. 

Before you apply

  • Make sure you meet all requirements.
  • Take an English proficiency exam or provide verification.
  • Complete any education or work verifications needed.

English Proficiency Exam

An English proficiency exam is required for all RN and LPN applicants who completed their nursing education outside of the United States unless one of the following conditions is met:

  • You can provide evidence of a high school diploma or college degree earned in the United States (official transcripts)
  • You can provide evidence of at least 1,000 hours of active nursing practice in another U.S. state. U.S. work verification must be completed by your current or previous employer on company letterhead and include:
    • Dates employed
    • Verification of hours
    • Verification that you practiced in the profession in which you are applying
  • Your nursing education was completed and degree earned in one of the following English speaking countries:
    • The United Kingdom
    • Ireland
    • Australia
    • New Zealand
    • Samoa
    • Guam
    • Mariana Islands
    • Virgin Islands
    • Canada (expect for Quebec)

English Proficiency Passing Scores

  • English Proficiency exam passing results are only valid for two years from your test date.
  • Please make sure this requirement is complete before you apply. 

A passing score is required from one of the following:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL, IBT) 
    • Passing LPN score: 79 with a speaking score of 26 (institution code: 7292)
    • Passing RN score: 84 with a speaking score of 26 (institution code: 7292)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS, academic version)
    • Passing LPN and RN scores:
      • 6.5 with a score of 6.0 in listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
  • The Occupational English Test (OET)
    • Passing LPN and RN scores:
      • Minimum score of 300 in listening, reading and writing.
      • Minimum score of 280 in speaking.
  • Michigan English Test (MET)
    • Passing LPN and RN scores:
      • Minimum score of 55 overall
      • Minimum score of 55 in speaking

Transcript Evaluation

Applying by Exam

If you were educated outside of the United States and you are applying for your first license in the United States, please have your transcripts evaluated by one of the following Commission approved education evaluation companies: 

  • Graduates of Foreign Trained Nursing Schools (CGFNS)
    • You must select the option for the CES Professional Report from CGFNS.
  • Education Records Evaluation Service (ERES)
  • Josef Silney & Associates, Inc., International Education Consultants

If we can’t determine equivalency, then you must submit the education verification form (PDF) completed by your nursing education program.

Applying by Endorsement

If you already have a license in another U.S. state, please have your nursing education transcripts sent directly from one of the following:

  • Your school
  • One of the Nursing Commission approved evaluation companies (listed under Applying by Exam)
  • Another U.S. board of nursing

Apply Online

After you have taken the English proficiency exam or provided verification, and completed any other verifications, you can apply for your Washington RN or LPN license. Apply by:

  • Exam (first RN or LPN license)
  • Endorsement (already have a RN or LPN license in another state)

Submitting forms and documents

  • You have 14 days after you submit your application to upload your documents online. 
  • After 14 days you won’t be able to access your application though SAW.  
  • If you have more documents to submit after 14 days, please email them to

Other Forms

These forms may or may not apply to your situation. We will contact you if we need any of these forms. 

More Information


We're available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.