How Can Foreign Physicians Become U.S. Nurse Practitioners?

When Foreign Educated Physicians (FEPs) move to the United States, they face many barriers that make it extremely difficult to establish their practice as US-certified medical doctors. First, foreign-born physicians must reside in the US for two years before they are eligible to obtain the appropriate Visa needed to practice as an MD. They must also pass two parts of the US Medical Licensing Examination, and match with and complete a residency program – a highly competitive process, as many American-trained physicians can attest to. 

Because the process can become lengthy and expensive, many FEPs find themselves either accepting less qualified positions as CNAs or phlebotomists or leaving the medical field altogether in pursuit of other low-paying jobs in order to provide for their families.

In lieu of these obstacles, Florida International University offers the FEP to BSN/MSN Program, which trains foreign doctors to become nurse practitioners or registered nurses. While a handful of universities offer educational options for FEPs to train as registered nurses at the Associate and Bachelor’s level, FIU was the first on the scene to offer an MSN option. Graduates of its program are given the opportunity to reemerge as providers treating patients in specialties such as family, adult, pediatrics and mental health; in addition to earning a substantial salary.

Admission and Application Requirements

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Acceptance into the program is extremely competitive. On average, the school receives over 400 applications a year from candidates from more than thirty countries around the world, but only accepts 50 cohorts each fall. To be eligible for the program, applicants must be US citizens or residents and must also have a medical degree from an accredited non-US university, in addition to meeting other application requirements for entry into the program.

Before beginning the application process, candidates must have their transcripts evaluated by the National Association of Credential Evaluations Services (NACES) and schedule an advisement appointment with the FIU School of Nursing, at which time the school will review translated transcripts to determine the FEP’s eligibility and what prerequisites will be required.

After the FEP has completed the required prerequisites with a “C” or better, he or she must complete an undergraduate application with FIU and supply official transcripts. Candidates are also required take the FEP Nursing Entrance Exam, as well as an English language exam or complete two English language courses in order to show the capacity to communicate in English. Provided applicants can attain the required scores on both tests, they are then eligible to apply to the FEP BS/MSN Program through an online application and a two page essay. Qualified applicants are then invited participate in an interview with the admissions committee.

Program Length

Once accepted into the program, the accelerated curriculum allows students to earn their MSN degree and become nurse practitioners in as little as eight semesters over the course of three years (as opposed to traditional programs which can take up to six years). However, students do have the option to choose not to continue in the graduate track and only obtain a BSN degree after the first two years of the program.

Though the program is full time, the school takes into account that many of its students must continue working while completing the program; with this in mind, classes are offered in the evenings and online, with clinical instruction on the weekends.

Upon graduation and completion of the program, students are eligible to take the NCLEX through the Florida Board of Nursing.

Graduates of the program at FIU are highly marketable and coveted by hospitals and employers throughout Florida as well as United States, as they are essentially doctors and nurses rolled into one. In addition, many graduates are bilingual or speak as many as three to five languages; a great advantage that helps graduates provide better patient care to the United States’ diverse population. In addition, graduates of the program are able to help bridge the gap between the shortage in health care providers and the country’s increasing population.


17 thoughts on “How Can Foreign Physicians Become U.S. Nurse Practitioners?”

  1. Hi, I am a FEP & resident of Florida from couple of years. However, I am not citizen of US or green card holder. Can I still apply for this program ?

  2. Hi, I am a FEP, U.S. citizen, living in San Diego, California. Please let me know how I can apply for this program to become a Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner. Thank you.

  3. Leota Caballero Clary

    Hi, I am a FEP, U.S. citizen, living in Melbourne, Florida Please let me know how I can apply for this program to become a Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner. Thank you.

  4. Hello, I am a foreign medical graduate with masters in public health with equivalency from H.E.C USA through Spartan for both my degrees having experience of working as a medical doctor for six years internationally and now working in clinical research as a quality assurance associate since last 40 months in Tomball Tx . Want to be enrolled in accelerated family nurse practitioner program. Need information if I can complete the program this program living and working in Texas. Also need to know the cost of the program. My email is
    Best Regards

  5. Yolande Yugo Wouakam

    Hi, I am a US Permanent Resident living in New Jersey. I am a foreign Medical Doctor.
    Please how can I apply for this program to become a NP ? Best regard.

  6. Efrain Santiago

    Hi! I’m an international medical graduate also an American citizen , can someone help me through becoming a registered nurse . Thank you .

  7. Hi, i’m an international medical graduate . what is the process to become a NP? also to have my transcript evaluated, can i personally send it to one of NACES or it’s should be my last school to send it? Do i need to be a green holder?
    Thanks for your help.

  8. Hello Linda
    I don’t know about NACES but I know that for WES evaluation, your school need to send the transcripts

  9. Hi, I am a US Permanent Resident living in Los Angeles. I am a foreign Medical Doctor.
    Could you show me way how can I apply for this program to become a NP ? Best regard.

  10. Hi, I am a US Permanent Resident living in Los Angeles. I am a foreign Medical Doctor.
    Could you show me way how can I apply for this program to become RN? Thanks

  11. I have a friend who is interested to come to USA. He is a medical doctor.

    Can he take certification exam while he is in Ethiopia????

  12. hi I’m a medical doctor and green card holder i want to know how much does it take to become a BSN or RN
    best regard

  13. Hi, i am a foreign medical graduate and a permenent resident living in Maryland. How can i apply to this program to become an RN or NP? Curiously waiting to hear from you.

  14. Orbelina Isabel Alvarado

    I’m international medical graduate, citizen. I already finished all my USMLE exams. ECFMG certified. Unfortunately I have not been successfully with the match process. Can I apply to the program and ask the ECFMG office to send you all my credentials???

    Thank you

  15. I am a FEP, living in New York, USA citizen and I would like to know how can I apply for the MD to NP program at FIU.
    Thanks for your information,


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