eNLC Implementation FAQs
The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) have been compiled to help nurses, employers and nurse educators better understand the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). Additional FAQs are also available.
What is the eNLC implementation date?
January 19, 2018
When does the eNLC go into effect?
The enhanced eNLC went into effect July 20, 2017, when 26 states enacted the eNLC legislation. The significance of this date is that the compact was officially enacted and the eNLC commission can begin to meet, draft rules, policies and set an implementation date. The effective date is not the same as the implementation date, which is when nurses can practice in eNLC states that have started issuing eNLC multistate licenses. Learn more about the difference between the effective date and the implementation date.
What is the difference between the effective date and the implementation date?
Based on the legislation, the effective date of the eNLC was designated as “the earlier of the date of legislative enactment of this Compact into law by no less than twenty-six (26) states or December 31, 2018.” The eNLC was enacted in the 26th state on July 20, 2017, so, the effective date was set as July 20, 2017. On this date, the compact’s governing body, the Interstate Commission of Nurse Licensure Compact Administrators (“the Commission”) was formed and could begin meeting and performing the work of the compact. The Commission is charged with drafting rules and policies to govern the operations and implementation of the eNLC.
By contrast, the implementation date, is a date set by the Commission on which eNLC states begin issuing multistate licenses and when nurses holding multistate licenses may start to practice in eNLC states.
When will nurses have multistate licenses in eNLC states?
Nurses in the original NLC states that were grandfathered into the eNLC will be able to practice in eNLC states as of the implementation date, Jan. 19, 2018. Nurses in new states that joined the eNLC (Wyoming, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Georgia and Florida) will be able to practice in eNLC states upon issuance of a multistate license. Each eNLC state will notify its licensees by mail of the implementation date and the process by which a nurse can obtain a multistate license.
What happens to nurses in the original compact if their state does not pass the enhanced NLC legislation?
States that do not pass the eNLC will remain in the original NLC until: a) the state enacts the eNLC, b) the state withdraws from the original NLC or c) the original NLC ends due to having less than two states as members. As of now, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Mexico and Rhode Island are members of the original NLC that have not yet joined the eNLC. These states plan to introduce legislation in 2018 or sooner.
What happens to the original NLC after the enhanced NLC starts?
Once the eNLC is implemented, the original NLC will continue to operate until there are less than two states as members, at which time it will end. As of Jan. 19, 2018, the 21 states in the original NLC that enacted the eNLC will cease to be members of the original NLC. This means that a nurse in Wisconsin, Colorado, New Mexico and Rhode Island will then hold a multistate license valid in four states rather than 25 states, and will need to obtain additional licensure in order to practice in any of the eNLC states. Conversely, it also means that nurses in the eNLC will no longer have the authority to practice in those four states, and will need to obtain additional licensure in order to practice in the state.
Which nurses are grandfathered into the enhanced NLC and what does that mean?
Nurses in eNLC states that were members of the original NLC may be grandfathered into the eNLC. Nurses who held a multistate license prior to the eNLC effective date of July 20, 2017, in original NLC states, will not need to meet the requirements for an eNLC multistate license. They are automatically grandfathered. Nurses issued a multistate license after July 20, 2017, will be required to meet the eNLC multistate license requirements.
Why was there a change to the enhanced NLC from the original NLC?
The original NLC began in 2000 and grew to 24 member states by 2010. From 2010 to 2015, one more state joined. A primary reason identified for the slowed adoption of the NLC was the lack of uniform criminal background check (CBC) requirements among NLC states. As a result, the eNLC requires that all member states implement CBCs for all applicants upon initial licensure or licensure by endorsement. This revision, along with other significant updates, will remove barriers that kept other states from joining. The eNLC will make it possible to get closer to the goal of all states joining the eNLC.
How does the eNLC differ from the original NLC?
Primarily, the eNLC adopts 11 uniform licensure requirements (ULRs) in order for an applicant to obtain a multistate license. One of those requirements is submission to federal and state fingerprint-based criminal background checks (CBCs). A fact sheet identifies the key provisions of the eNLC legislation and highlights the differences between the two compacts.
Who are the primary proponents of a state’s decision to join the compact?
Most states that have joined the compact have done so by the supportive efforts of the state nurse association, the state hospital association or the state board of nursing. A number of other stakeholder organizations (e.g., AARP, AONE, National Military Family Association, etc.) have played significant roles in advancing the legislation.
Why are some states still not a member of the compact? What is the opposition?
Essentially, we have just met the minimum number of states (26) for the eNLC to become effective. This includes five states that were not in the original NLC. Additionally, more states plan to introduce eNLC legislation in 2018 and beyond. The eNLC removes barriers that prevented some states from joining.
Support for the NLC is overwhelming in the nursing community. According to 2014 NCSBN nurse and employer surveys, 80 to 90 percent of nurses and greater than 90 percent of employers want their state to be a member of the NLC.
The main opposition to the compact, seen in only a few states, has been from nurse union organizations.
Why would a nurse need a multistate license? What are the benefits for a nurse?
Nurses benefit from a multistate license for a variety of reasons. The foremost reason is that a nurse will not need individual licenses in each state where the nurse needs authority to practice. Obtaining individual licenses is a burdensome, costly and time-consuming process to achieve portability and mobility. Nurses are required to be licensed in the state where the recipient of nursing practice is located at the time service is provided. Any nurse who needs to practice in a variety of states benefits significantly from a multistate license. These nurses include military spouses, telehealth nurses, case managers, nurse executives, nurses living on borders, nurses engaged in remote patient monitoring, school nurses, travel nurses, call center nurses, online nursing faculty, home health nurses, nurses doing follow up care and countless more.
How can nurses stay well informed of the changes in the compact?
How will the transition from NLC to eNLC affect employers of nurses?
The transition will effect employers in several ways. The transition may impact employers in eNLC states that have nurses practicing in the four states that remain in the original NLC. As of the implementation date, those nurses with an eNLC multistate license will not have the authority to practice in those four states without applying for a single state license in those states.
The eNLC transition may also impact employers in original NLC states who have nurses practicing in the 21 former original NLC states that joined the eNLC. As of Jan. 19, 2018, those nurses with an original NLC multistate license will not have the authority to practice in eNLC states without applying for a single state license in those states.
Nurses residing in eNLC states who are not eligible to be grandfathered may not have a multistate license on the January 19, 2018 implementation date until they have completed an eligibility process. This process will determine if the licensee meets the licensure requirements for a multistate license. In some eNLC states, the nurse may need to proactively engage in this eligibility process. By October 2018, nurses in all eNLC states should receive a letter from the respective board of nursing with more information.
What is an alternative program?
An alternative program is a voluntary or involuntary non-disciplinary program approved by a licensing board. Eligible licensees typically have admitted to having substance use disorders, mental/physical health issues or are in need of practice remediation.
Where do I find the application for a multistate license? How do I get a multistate license? When can I apply?
Applications and the process to obtain multistate status will be available on the board of nursing website in compact states by Jan 19, 2018. Some states may post the application sooner. Fees will vary by state. To be eligible, an applicant must declare their primary state of residence in a compact state. You will not find an application on the NCSBN or NurseCompact.com websites.
Am I eligible for a multistate license? Do I meet the requirements?
We cannot confirm eligibility for licensure. The boards of nursing review applications that are submitted and can notify you of eligibility. You can review a list of the multistate license requirements.
Can I get a multistate license with a felony from many years ago?
A felony conviction, unless expunged, bars an individual from a multistate license. The individual may be eligible for a single state license.
How do I know if I am grandfathered into the eNLC?
Grandfathering means that the individual will not need to take steps to obtain an enhanced multistate license. It will be automatic on Jan 19, 2018.
An individual eligible for grandfathering meets the following criteria:
- Is a resident of an original NLC state that has enacted the enhanced NLC.
- Held an original NLC multistate license on July 20, 2017.
- Has not had a disqualifying event since July 20, 2017, which would nullify the grandfathering.
Examples of disqualifying events include but are not limited to:
- Changing primary state of residence to another state.
- Allowing the license to lapse.
- Being convicted of any felony.
- Being convicted of a misdemeanor related to the practice of nursing whereby the conviction is determined to be a disqualifying event by the board of nursing.
- Having a license disciplined and placed probation or with any practice restrictions.
- Current enrollment in an alternative program.
Does the enhanced NLC include advanced practice nurses?
No, the eNLC includes LPNs/LVNs and RNs. A nurse holding an APRN license may also hold a multistate RN license in a compact state. There is an APRN Compact, which will be implemented once 10 states have enacted the legislation. Presently three states are members. More information is available at aprncompact.com.
I did not take the NCLEX. I took the exam in Puerto Rico / Canada. Can I still get the enhanced NLC license?
No, eligibility for an eNLC multistate license requires that the applicant must have passed the NCLEX RN or NCLEX LPN or the predecessor exam known as the state board test pool exam (SBTPE).
I did not take the NCLEX. I took the state board test pool exam many years ago. Am I eligible for an enhanced NLC multistate license?
Yes, successful passage of the state board test pool exam meets the eNLC uniform licensure requirement related to exams.
What is the difference between the original NLC and the eNLC?
The original NLC was enacted in 1999 and has different statutory and rule requirements. Under the eNLC, enacted July 20, 2017, nurses continue to be able to provide care to patients in other eNLC states, without having to obtain additional licenses. Nurses with an original NLC multistate license will be grandfathered into the eNLC. New applicants residing in compact states will need to meet 11 uniform licensure requirements. Those who do not meet the new licensure requirements may still be eligible for a single state license.
My primary state of residence is in an original NLC state that joined the enhanced NLC and I hold a license in FL. After Jan 19, 2018, do I still need to renew my FL license?
Before allowing the FL license to lapse, verify that you have an enhanced multistate license using the quick confirm feature at nursys.com. If you do have the enhanced multistate license, then you may retain the single state license in a party state until it lapses, expires, becomes inactive or you deactivate the license.
My primary state of residence is a member of the original NLC and it enacted the enhanced NLC. What do I need to do to get the eNLC multistate license?
You are likely grandfathered, in which case, there is nothing you need to do to obtain the enhanced NLC multistate license. See #4 under General Questions to see if you meet the criteria. Also, be sure to review the enhanced NLC map of member states to see if the states you need authority to practice in are members of the enhanced NLC. If not, then you may need to apply for a single state license in any such state.
If you are obtaining a license for the first time in this state and it is after July 20, 2017, then it is important to know if your application was reviewed according to the original NLC requirements or the enhanced NLC requirements. You can only hold an enhanced multistate license if you met the requirements for that license.
My primary state of residence is an original NLC state that enacted the enhanced NLC. I also practice in WI, CO, NM or RI that has not enacted the enhanced NLC yet. Do I need to apply for a single state license in WI, CO, NM or RI since I practice there?
The response depends on whether WI, CO, NM or RI (the state of practice ) enacts the enhanced NLC by Jan 19, 2018. If it does enact by the deadline, then your home state and state of practice are both in the enhanced NLC. For example, you are a resident of AZ and practice in CO. If CO enacts the enhanced NLC then CO and AZ are in the same compact and you can practice in any enhanced NLC state. This assumes that either you were grandfathered into enhanced NLC or if you applied after July 20, 2017, you were reviewed according to the enhanced NLC requirements and were issued the enhanced NLC multistate license.
In this example, if the state of practice does not enact the enhanced NLC, then you do need to apply for a single state license in that state. Bear in mind that although the state may accept applications, it is unable to make the license effective (active) until Jan 19, 2018.
My primary state of residence is one of the original NLC states that enacted the enhanced NLC. I also have a license in FL, GA, OK, WV or WY. Can I stop renewing my FL, GA, OK, WV, WY license after January 2018?
Not immediately. First, you need ensure that you hold an enhanced NLC multistate license. You can verify this status using the quick confirm feature at www.nursys.com. If you do, then you will not need to renew, for example, a FL license (or a license in any enhanced NLC state) which is due after Jan 19, 2018.
My primary state of residence is in the original NLC and it enacted the enhanced NLC. Is there anything I need to do to be able to practice in any of the five states (FL, GA, OK, WV, and WY) that are new to the eNLC on Jan 19, 2018?
If you hold an enhanced multistate license, verified by using the quick confirm feature of www.nursys.com, then there is nothing additional you need to do to practice in any of the new states or in any enhanced NLC state starting Jan 19, 2018.
My primary state of residence is a non-compact state. How do the changes impact me? What do I need to do?
Since you are a resident of a non-compact state, you do not hold a multistate license. Therefore, you are not impacted and there is nothing you need to do.
My primary state of residence is a non-compact state and I hold a single state license in a compact state. Am I grandfathered in?
No. As a resident of a non-compact state, you are not eligible for a multistate license. Grandfathering does not pertain to residents of a non-compact state. The license that you hold in a compact state is a single state license due to the fact you your primary state of residence is a non-compact state.
My primary state of residence is a non-compact state. Is there any way I can get a multistate license by applying in one of the enhanced NLC states?
No. As a resident of a non-compact state, you are not eligible for a multistate license. If you apply for a license in a compact state, your eligibility is limited to a single state license due to the fact you your primary state of residence is a non-compact state.