The Ultimate Guide to Nursing Compact States
- NLC State
- Partial Implementation
- Pending NLC legislation
- Non-NLC State
The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), now the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), allows a nurse to have one compact state license that gives them the ability to practice in any other compact state. This means nurses won’t need to be licensed in multiple states.
This also means nurses won’t have to pay licensing fees and have background checks in each state.
There are many things to consider when thinking about getting a compact nursing license. Let Incredible Health help you answer these questions:
- What is the status of nursing compact states?
- What does a nursing compact state mean for nurses?
- How do you apply for a nursing compact state license?
- What are the different moving scenarios?
Nursing compact states
At the time of this writing (August, 2022), these states have NLC legislation, or are pending implementation of legislation. These include:
Pending or non-compact states
Pending or awaiting NLC implementation or legislation:
- Guam (partial implementation now; full implementation in 2022)
- New York
- Ohio (NLC enacted, will be implemented January 1, 2023)
- Pennsylvania (NLC enacted, awaiting implementation date)
- Rhode Island
- Virgin Islands (awaiting implementation)
States and territories without legislation:
What does a nursing compact state mean for nurses?
As a nurse, holding a multi-state license gives increased career development opportunities and job flexibility. Nurses with these licenses may practice in as many as 39 states without having to apply for licensure in the other states in which they practice. This means there are fewer complications, extra application charges, or barriers.
Travel nurses (requirements) and military personnel are, without a doubt, the greatest beneficiaries of the compact state nursing legislation. There are no more worries about having to spend extra time and money applying for or renewing your nursing license across multiple states since it’s taken care of in the eNLC compact state .
For more information check out the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) website for an NLC Toolkit that includes videos and other resources.
Questions from the Incredible Health Nurse Community
- How do you renew your RN license for the first time? Is there any reminder via email or postal mail beforehand? Can you renew earlier ?
- Hi How can I start working as a nurse if I have license from another state in PA? No experience related.
How do you apply for a nursing compact state license?
If you are curious about whether your nursing license is compact or not, you can check on Nursys. This site is a database for nurses to verify their licensure. You can see if your license is current or out of date, and you get live notifications about updates to the compact status within your state.
To apply for healthcare workers’ compact licensure successfully you must meet the following 11 requirements:
- Live in one of the compact states and claim it as your primary state of legal residence
- Graduate from a board-approved education program OR graduate from an international education program (approved by the authorized accrediting body in the applicable country and verified by an independent credentials review agency)
- Pass an English proficiency exam (applies to graduates of an international education program not taught English or if English is not the individual’s native language)
- Pass an NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN examination or predecessor exam
- Be eligible for or hold an active, unencumbered license
- Submit to state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks
- Have no state or federal felony convictions
- Have no misdemeanor convictions related to the practice of nursing
- Not currently a participant in an alternative program
- Self-disclose current participation in an alternative program
- Have a valid United States Social Security number
*If you are in a state with pending legislation, you don’t have to do anything until the bills are passed. After your state joins the nursing compact, the state board will reach out to registered nurses in the state. You must make sure your permanent address is updated with the state board before they determine compact license eligibility.
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What are the different moving scenarios?
Many nurses move states at least once during their careers. The NCSBN requires the following for nurses moving states:
Noncompact to Compact
You must apply for licensure by endorsement in the new state of residence. The nurse can either apply before or after the move. You can receive a multistate license once you meet residency and eligibility requirements.
Compact to Noncompact
You have to apply for licensure by endorsement in the new state of residence. You can apply either before or after the move. Once you change legal residency, your multistate license changes to a single state license.
Compact to Compact
If you decide to move to another nursing compact state, you have to apply for licensure by endorsement. You must complete this by the time they move. You can practice with the old state license only until the new license is issued. Once the new multistate license is activated the old one is rendered inactive.
A nursing compact state allows a nurse to practice in any other compact state without getting relicensed. This is only true if the nurse currently holds a nursing compact license from state board of nursing where they live.
Go to Nursys.com and check your license.
No. The NCLEX is a national exam that is the same for each state.
No. At this time, they must hold a license in each state they wish to practice.