If you are a cosmetologist in another country moving to Florida, you are probably excited about the warm weather and endless opportunities that draw people to the Sunshine State. But, you probably are not excited about the stress and paperwork of getting or “transferring” an out-of-country cosmetology license to Florida. That is why I am here today – to help you with this international move.
If you are moving to Florida but licensed in another U.S state, this isn’t your article, but you can get yours here – How to Transfer a Cosmetology License to Florida.
Today, I am going to help you get started with the process and answer the questions you’re probably having about getting licensed as a cosmetologist, nail specialist (esthetician), or nail specialist (nail technician).
Does this sound like you?
I have been a hairstylist in
Again, Florida is an excellent choice. It has fantastic winter weather and many business opportunities. The state draws in people, not only from the United States, but from all over the world. It is a popular destination for vacations and retirement. There is no shortage of people that need cosmetology (hair, nail, or skincare) services there. However, getting through the licensing process can be challenging when you are not familiar with the process.
Over the years, I have assisted thousands of cosmetologists, facial specialists, estheticians, nail specialists, nail technicians obtain their licenses in Florida. Most of the time, I work with those who are transferring from one U.S. state to Florida. But, I often work with those moving from other countries to Florida too.
Getting a Florida cosmetology license with an out-of-country cosmetology license, international education, or non-U.S.-based education is different from transferring from another U.S. state. It is a different license application and a different process.
Here are some of the most common questions I field from International transfers moving to Florida. If you stick around to the end, I have a checklist to help you get started on the process.
Will Florida accept my out-of-country education or license?
Let’s find out! Every country has different license cosmetology requirements. And it is nearly impossible for me to keep track of all of them. So, the next step is something you will need to do to meet Florida’s eligibility requirement.
It doesn’t matter if you are licensed to do hair in Germany, Australia, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Canada, if you are not currently licensed in another U.S. state, you most likely cannot apply by endorsement according to the COSMO 2 application. You need to look at the application for out-of-country applicants, COSMO 2.
COSMO 2 states:
“Applicants meeting this eligibility requirement must provide proof of licensure by submitting a current license copy that contains an issuance date of one year earlier or a certification from the applicable U. S. Territory or country verifying licensure or authority to practice with this application.”
Here is a link to COSMO 2.
Please look it over and see if you think you currently have Florida’s minimum requirements above. Have you been a licensed cosmetologist for over a year?
Will I have to take an exam?
The COSMO 2 application does indicate that out-of-country cosmetologists must take the Florida state cosmetology exam, which is computer-based. During the COVID pandemic, this exam was allowed to be taken remotely and not at Pearson Testing Centers. I am not sure if that is still the case and whether you’re able to take it in your home country or must wait to take it once you move to the U.S.
The exam is given in English or Spanish. Unfortunately, I do not know of a study guide for this exam yet.
More on the Florida Cosmetology Exam
Do I have to take a 4-Hour HIV course for the COSMO 2 application?
Yes. All applicants must take a Florida Cosmetology Board-approved HIV course. It can be completed online. Here is a link to our Board-approved HIV course for initial applications.
I’m a barber in my country. Can I transfer my out-of-country barber license to Florida?
In Florida, Barbers have their own board and separate application process. Essentially, it is similar to the cosmetology board application process. However, Florida Barber applicants must take a 2-hour HIV course approved by the Barber Board.
Here is the Florida Barbers’ Board website.
I am trained to do microblading, laser hair removal treatments, or dermablading. Can I do those services with my license from the cosmetology board?
Laws are different in different countries. There are some services you will no longer be able to perform in Florida with just a cosmetology license. If you plan to offer microblading, you probably need to look into getting a tattoo license in Florida. If you perform laser hair removal techniques or electrolysis, you’ll most likely need to apply for an electrolysis license. Here’s an article to help you with one of those questions.
The Board’s FAQ page has lots of questions about the scope of practice and what services you can provide with certain licenses. I highly suggest looking this over.
Do I need any other licenses?
If you plan to open a salon, you will need a Florida Salon License. There are likely other local permits or occupational licenses you will need for opening a business. Contact the local city or country government if you have questions about these licenses.
I’m a nail technician or esthetician in another country. I do not see an application for out-of-country estheticians or nail specialists. What should I do?
Excellent question. I have looked over all of the applications and at this time, it does not appear there is a process for nail and facial specialists, estheticians, skincare specialists, nail technicians, manicurists, or whatever you are licensed in another country to do – to obtain a license with an out-of-country license.
Please contact the board for guidance if this situation applies to you. They should have some guidance for you.
I went to school in Puerto Rico or other U.S Territories. Am I considered out of the country?
COSMO 4, which is the endorsement application uses the term “states” only. And COSMO 2’s title is “Cosmetologist License by Current Licensure in Another Country or U.S. Territory”.
I am a hairstylist from out of the country moving to the United States, but I am not moving to Florida. Do you have any advice for me moving to another U.S state?
There are 49 other states. That means we have 50 different cosmetology boards, EACH with their own rules, regulations, applications and licensing processes. Click on the link to find out how you can transfer a cosmetology license to the United States.
Back to Florida, now.
Remember, I am not the Board of Cosmetology, the Florida Cosmetology Board office, and I am not a lawyer. I do not get to make any decisions. This is only my experience as a continuing education provider.
If you want to ask the Florida Board of Cosmetology Office or the DBPR questions, you can contact them using the link below.
I hope that this information helps you get started with the next steps of your move.
Before you go, here is that checklist I promised!
- Look at COSMO 2 application
- See you meet the minimum requirements for a license – COSMO 2 Details
- Complete 4 hour HIV course
- Here is a link to our board-approved 4 hour HIV course
- Complete the COSMO 2 application
- Links to the online and printable version – COSMO 2 Application
- Take the Florida Cosmetology Board Exam
- Wait for the Florida Cosmetology Board to issue your Florida Cosmetology License
- It will be emailed to you to print
- If you do not here anything after a few weeks, contact the DBPR to check on your application status and see if there are any deficiencies or if you need to appear at a board meeting
Welcome to the Sunshine State! I wish you continued success and happiness in Florida!