United Arab Emirates (UAE), being one the most economically developed in the Middle East, has a world-class healthcare infrastructure and facilities. These infrastructures have expanded over the years. With the COVID-19 breakout, UAE is one of the countries to take preventive health measures and provide COVID-19 response quickly. The pandemic has led the UAE government to invest more in healthcare improvement.

With the rapid growth and betterment of UAE’s healthcare infrastructure, the government needs and demands more professional nurses to work in the country and respond to the nation’s healthcare issues. Increased demand for nurses has been projected for a couple of years in the UAE. The Emirati nationals that work in the Ministry of Health (MOH) as professional nurses are only about 3%, which shows that the UAE has a tremendous and significant dependency on foreign professional nurses.

The UAE nursing workforce is diverse, coming from different cultural, educational, economic, religious, clinical, and linguistic backgrounds. The number of nurses graduating in the UAE is still minimal; however, the UAE education and healthcare systems are trying their best to meet the educational needs of a diverse population. While UAE is still in the process of making the rate of its Emirati national graduates higher, it will continue to outsource foreign and international sources for its people.

To know more about the steps to become a nurse in the United Arab Emirates, please see the steps below.

Steps to Become a Nurse in United Arab Emirates

1. Obtain a Diploma in Nursing

A diploma in nursing is enough to become a nurse in the UAE. However, if you want to pursue a long-term career in the nursing profession, it is recommended that you acquire a higher-level education in this field.

Since the United Arab Emirates is a diverse community, most universities use the English language as their medium in undergraduate and postgraduate programs. A bachelor’s degree in nursing usually has three years of full-time duration.

2. For International Students, Prepare to Meet the Requirements of the Chosen University

To be able to apply as an international student, the majority of the UAE nursing schools require students to be at least 17 years old, with a 12-year school education (elementary, high school, and senior high school). Since the English Language is the academic language used in schools and universities, the student or applicant is required to prove his or her English proficiency through IELTS or TOEFL examination results to be able to study nursing in the UAE.

In addition, the applicant should be able to complete all three Science subjects, namely Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, in their 10th, 11th, and 12th Grade to be eligible to study nursing in the UAE.

3. Meet the Required Proficiency Level

Since most institutions deliver their programs and courses in English, the non-native English speakers must obtain an English proficiency certificate which shall be acknowledged by the university to be able to apply to the chosen university. In some universities, they will also require their applicants to meet their desired level of proficiency in Arabic.

Most universities in the UAE would require the students in undergraduate to obtain at least a score of 1250 in the Emirates Standardized Test (EmSAT) and 5.5 in IELTS. This is for them to be able to follow through the nursing program since English is the main academic language and to be able to communicate well with locals since Arabic is the official language of the UAE. For applicants who do not have any proof of English proficiency, they can just opt to take the English test administered by universities.

To know more about the EmSAT, please visit the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education. As for the IELTS, please visit the IELTS website to know more about the test and where you can take it.

4. Meet the Professional Qualification Requirements

The Unified Professional Qualification Requirements (PQR) is the standardized licensing document provided by the UAE healthcare authorities. The PQR stands as the stepping stone towards fulfilling the UAE strategic objectives of improving the healthcare system and service all around the country.

The nursing graduates applying for licensure must comply and fulfill the following requirements:

  • Must be graduate from a National or International recognized Nursing University or College
  • Acquired a diploma in bachelor’s degree in nursing
  • Certification or any proof of completion of clinical practice or practical training
  • Academic transcript of records must also be submitted for credentialing purposes

For the complete PQR issued by the Ministry of Health and the Department of Health, please see the Unified Professional Qualification Requirements.

5. For Registration of Foreign Nurses, Apply through Dataflow

For foreign or international nurses who wish to become a nurse in the UAE, they must apply through the Dataflow. The Dataflow provides an e-licensing system, providing the applicant’s username and password for their initial application. The system provides screening procedures to the applicant’s personal and professional background to check if he or she is eligible to work as a professional nurse in the country. To know more about Dataflow, please visit the Dataflow website.

6. Take the Nursing Licensure Examination

After the verification of the applicant’s requirements and background, he or she may already take the licensure examination conveniently from home through the OnVUE online proctoring. This is an important step to become a nurse in UAE. The Registered Nurse Examination is comprised of 150 questionnaires that must be completed in three hours. The questions are prepared to test the nurse’s fundamental knowledge about the nursing profession. A live proctor shall monitor the applicant through his or her webcam while taking the examination to provide a secure examination experience and to avoid any unethical practices. For other information regarding the examination, including exam requirements and tips, please visit the OnVUE website.

7. Get Ready to Work as a Professional Nurse

Once the applicant passes the nursing licensure examination, he or she is already eligible to practice the nursing profession in the country, be it Registered Nurse, Assistant Nurse, School Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Specialty Nurse, Registered Midwife, or Assistant Midwife depending on his or her qualifications.


I hope that you found this article on how to become a nurse in the United Arab Emirates informative and helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.