Nurse Licensure Compact

One license – 25 states and counting… The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows nurses to have one multistate license, with the ability to practice in both their home state and other compact states.

New Developments

The Nurse Licensure Compact has undergone significant revisions which has resulted in new model legislation to supersede the current enacted statute. Currently, 25 states have enacted the original NLC legislation; henceforth, states interested in passing NLC legislation will introduce the new version adopted May 4, 2015.

NLC Member States

In 2000, NCSBN launched an initiative to expand the mobility of nurses as part of our nation's health care delivery system.

Implementation Dates | Download Map

(select a state/territory for contact info)

Through the NLC

Nurses have the ability to practice across state lines.

Physically and/or electronically - through a streamlined process without additional applications or fees!

State boards of nursing reach new levels of cooperation and coordination.
The public enjoys access to safe nursing care…

…and are still protected through effective enforcement of licensure laws across state boundaries.

Eligible Nurses

You can obtain a compact (multistate) license if you…

  1. Legally reside in a NLC state. See map above.
  2. Hold an active RN or LPN/VN nursing license in good standing. Note: APRN's are not included in this compact.
  3. Declare a NLC state as your primary state of residency. *
  4. Meet the licensure requirements in your home state. When working in a remote state, you will also be held accountable to the nurse practice act of the state where the patient is located or where practice occurs.

*Licensure renewal cycles vary state to state. Nurses are required to promptly declare a new state of residency and not wait for their license to lapse or expire in the prior home state. State of residency changes when obtaining a new driver's license in another state or when changing the state in which registering to vote or filing federal taxes.

Examples of Moving to Different States

  • Party state: Any state that has adopted this compact.
  • Home state: The nurse's primary state of residence.
  • Remote state: Any party state other than the home state.

From noncompact to compact:

You must apply for licensure by endorsement in the new state of residency. Your individual state license issued by the noncompact state is not affected and will remain active if you maintain licensure and if so provided by the laws of the nonparty state.

From compact to noncompact:

You must apply for licensure by endorsement in the new state of residency. Your compact license is changed to a single-state license valid only in that state. You must notify the board of nursing (BON) that you have moved out of state.

From one compact state to another:

You can practice on the former residency license for up to 30 or 90 days (states are individually implementing the 90 day rule). You will be required to:

  • Apply for licensure by endorsement (It is recommended that nurses apply 1-2 months in advance of a move.)
  • Pay any applicable fees
  • Complete a declaration of primary state of residency in the new home state

You will be issued a new multistate license and the former is inactivated. You must notify the BON in the former residency state that you have moved out of state. Proof of residency may be required.

Example Scenario

Mary is a licensed RN who has primary residence in Colorado. However, she lives near the four corners (Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado). Since all of these states are participants, through the compact Mary can drive across these borders to practice, or practice electronically, without additional applications or fees.

Mary decides later to move and change her primary residence to New Mexico. She now has a 30-day grace period to practice on the same license. By the end of the 30 days, Mary will need to have received her new multistate license. Mary would be wise to apply in advance of the move.

International Nurses

If you are on a visa from another country applying for licensure in a party state you may declare either the country of origin or the party state as the primary state of residency. If the foreign country is declared the primary state of residency, a single-state license will be issued by the party state.