In the United States, the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) lets nurses work across multiple states without the impediments of having to register and gain licensing in each state. This Licensure eradicates the need for renewal and fees in each state you wish to practice in.

If you are a registered nurse or an LVN/LPN, you might not want to stay in one place for work. If your state is a compact state you will be able to work in other states that have also enacted the compact state Licensure. However, when applying for a license in your home state you can acquire a multi – state license which gives you the benefits of working in compact states.

Have it in mind there are certain criteria you are expected to meet in order to apply for a multistate license. First, you have to be a resident in a multi – state license state with an NLC state as your primary residence. You will also need an active license as a registered nurse or LPN/LVN. Do not forget that you will have to meet any licensing requirements by your home state and when practicing in another compact state you need to adhere to the standards set out by that state.

In July 2018, the NLC was officially changed to eNLC and all states except Rhode Island joined the new program and adhered to the guidelines. One of the underlying reasons why the NLC was changed to eNLC was that there were provisions in the original compact that some states didn’t like or weren’t there that some states wanted. Most of the states in the NLC are expected to adopt the eNLC.

Also note that the ability to work across state lines only applies to RN’s and LPN’s or LVN’s. At present there are no guidelines or legislation in place for APRN’s. The NCSBN have been striving to get a compact agreement in place but presently only three states have signed up for this and for it to become a legislation there needs to be 10 states signed up.

Howbeit, if your state has pending legislation or has recently joined eNLC, your State Board of Nursing will get in contact with you. You will need to show proof of state residency for them to decide if you have compact state eligibility. In addition, if you are not due to renew your nursing license you don’t need to do anything as you will be issued with a new license if you meet the requirements for eNLC without any further cost to you.

The enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) has been in the news since its inception for so many reasons. However, what most people haven’t spent much time on are the reasons why the eNLC makes sense to some and is less than ideal for others. Here is a brief look at the Pros and Cons of having a National Nurse Licensing Compact.

Pros of Nursing Licensure Compact

State boards of nursing are known to issue nursing licenses in terms of state legislation, and a nurse may only provide nursing services to patients located within that state. Here are the Pros of the nurse licensure compact.

  1. Flexibility

Whether it is getting married or family circumstances that necessitate a move, the nurse licensure compact (eNLC) offers you the ability to speed up that process. A multi – state license afforded by the eNLC opens those doors. If the process turns out to be as seamless as it is supposed to be, having a multi – state license could become the unofficial standard.

  1. Streamlines licensure to employment

Note that before the nurse licensure compact was introduced, nurses were expected to apply for a license in each state where they wanted to work. This was also the case in non – compact states, which is costly and time – consuming. There are fees for the license application, license verification, and a criminal background check. Then weeks or even months could pass before the license is issued.

  1. Employers can fill positions quickly

Have it in mind that under the NLC agreement, nurses can start work in any compact state right away. Employers and nurses can leverage advantage of this NLC provision and can get the right qualifications to fill a vacant position quickly.

  1. Rapid deployment of nurses

Without doubt, the NLC has been particularly beneficial for travel nurses who no longer need to obtain multiple licenses. It also allows for the rapid deployment of additional health care providers in the event of a disaster.

  1. Addresses nursing shortage

Under the NLC, nurses can also work in areas right across the border from where they live without having to apply for another license in the neighbouring state. Ideally, this can contribute to improved service delivery, especially in community health services in rural areas where there is often a shortage of nurses.

  1. Greater earning potential

The increased flexibility coupled with the increase in options and opportunities can only mean good things for your wallet. You will have more ways to leverage yourself and your skill set.

Cons of Nursing Licensure Compact

Above we talked about how awesome the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is and how it could positively impact your career. The main concern among critics is that a national compact interferes with the oversight purposes of the state nursing boards regarding vetting licensees, tracking them, and coordinating disciplinary actions.

  1. It requires different state regulations and requirements

Have it in mind that every state has their board of Nursing. While the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) starts bridging that gap, it still doesn’t change the fact that there are some scopes of practices for nurses that can vary from state to state. Note that as the compact is currently constructed, you’re legally held accountable to the practice laws of the state you’re practicing within, not necessarily your home state.

  1. eNLC vs. NLC

Just like it was mention above, before the eNLC there was the nurse licensure compact (NLC) which was started in 2000. Most of the states from the original NLC have enacted legislation to adopt the new eNLC standards. At some point, three states Colorado, New Mexico and Rhode Island failed to do so. It simply entails that when the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) went live on January 19, 2018 nurses with a multi – state NLC license from those three states were expected to only practice within themselves and will be excluded from practicing in the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) States. While these aren’t necessarily deterrents from attaining a multi – state license it is something nurses should keep in mind.

  1. eNLC raises questions about what defines practice location

In the United States, there is some confusion when it comes to telemedicine. If the patient and the nurse are in two different states, then what is the practice location? Depends on who you ask! The American Nurses Association (ANA) and others believe it is the state where the nurse has their primary license while the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) believes it is the state where the patient is.


For now the eNLC seems to be a step in the right direction, and as hesitant states express concerns, it is clear that additional changes will be implemented. Each of the states that are yet to take action regarding eNLC have their own reasons internal to their state legislatures. Presently, more than 2 million nurses in the US have multiple state licenses which allow them to practice in other NLC states. NLC staff is actively working with non-compact state boards of nursing to achieve the goal of one state-based license, enforced locally and recognized nationally, in all US states and territories.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is The Nurse Licensure Compact?

The Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) allows nurses to have one license to practice in multiple states. There are currently 34 states which have enacted NLC legislation, meaning they recognize the multi-state license or have such legislation pending.

  1. Is Indiana A Compact Nursing State?

Yes. On July 1, 2020, Indiana join 33 other states in implementing the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).

  1. Is DC A Compact State For Nursing?

DC is not part of the nurse licensure compact.

  1. What Is The Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact?

The enhanced NLC, or eNLC, which is an updated version of the current Nurse Licensure Compact, allows for registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs) to have one multistate license, with the ability to practice in both their home state and other eNLC states.

  1. What Is The Purpose Of The Nurse Licensure Compact?

The purpose of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is to allow a nurse to have one multistate license with the ability to practice in the home state and other compact states.

  1. What Are The Benefits Of Being A Nurse In A Compact State?

The Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) removes complications for nurses practicing in multiple states. Nurses from NLC states are able to work across state lines without having to worry about applying for licensure in each state or being burdened by multiple renewal requirements and fees.

  1. How Long Does It Take To Get A Compact Nursing License?

Obtaining a nursing license can be as quick as two days in states like Hawaii or as long as six months in California or Ohio. Travel nurses may have to take contracts in other states while they wait for their license to be approved.

  1. Is California A Compact Nursing State?

California is not a Nursing Licensure Compact state.

  1. When Did The Nurse Licensure Compact Take Effect?

The enhanced nurse licensure compact (eNLC) was implemented on January 19, 2018, which included 29 states.

  1. Is New York A Compact State?

New York is a non-compact state, meaning that if you are a nursing professional looking to get an additional license in NY, you must be granted a license “by endorsement” by the New York State Education Department.

  1. How Many States Are In The Nurse Licensure Compact?

There are currently 34 states which have enacted NLC legislation, meaning they recognize the multi-state license or have such legislation pending.

  1. Is Massachusetts Part Of The Nurse Licensure Compact?

Massachusetts does not issue temporary licenses and does not take part in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).

  1. What State Is The Easiest To Become A Nurse?
  • Maine: 1-2 weeks.
  • Maryland: 2-3 days.
  • Missouri: 2 weeks.
  • Nevada: 1-2 weeks.
  • North Carolina: 1-2 weeks.
  • North Dakota: 1-2 weeks.
  • Texas: 2 weeks.
  • Vermont: 3-5 business days.
  1. Who Is Eligible For A Compact Nursing License?

Every nurse with legal status – it is about your legal residency status. You need legal documents such as a driver’s license, voter’s card, federal income tax return, military form no. 2058, or W2 form from the primary state of residence (PSOR).

  1. Why Are Nursing Compact States Important?

The compact helps disaster victims by allowing nurses from around the country to cross state borders after disaster strikes, offering critical services such as kidney dialysis.

  1. How Long Does It Take To Get Nursing Reciprocity?

The short path is taking 4 to 6 weeks. Some people report they are receiving their license in 2 to 3 weeks on the short path.

  1. What States Are Part Of The Nursing Licensure Compact?

Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

  1. What Are The Eligibility For Multi-State License

In order to apply for a multi-state nursing license, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must reside in an NLC state, and you must declare an NLC state as your primary state of residency.
  • You must be actively licensed as a registered nurse (RN) or licensed professional nurse (LPN)/licensed vocational nurse (LVN).
  • You must meet any requirements for licensure held by your home state, though when practicing, you will also be held to the standards of the state where the patient or practice is located.
  1. Can You Be A Nurse With A Felony In New York?

NYSED decides on a case by case basis whether your prior criminal conviction(s) will disqualify you from being licensed as a nurse in New York. Note: Courts often notify NYSED when nurses are convicted of a crime.

  1. Is South Carolina A Compact State?

Yes. South Carolina Enacts Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC).

  1. How Does The NLC Increase Access To Care?

Under the NLC, nurses are able to provide care to patients located across the country, without having to obtain additional licenses.

  1. Is Maine A Compact State?

Maine is a member of the nurse license compact.

  1. Who Is A Travel Nurse?

Travel nurses are registered nurses who work in short-term roles at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities around the world. Travel nurses help fill gaps in areas where there are nursing shortages. They are employed by an independent nursing staffing agency instead of a single hospital.

  1. What Is A Nurse’s Primary State Of Residence Called?

Primary state of residency does not pertain to owning property but rather it refers to your legal status of residency. Proof of residence includes obtaining a driver’s license, voting/registering to vote or filing federal taxes with an address in that state. These legal documents should be issued by the same state.

  1. Is Alaska A Compact State?

Alaska is not a nurse compact state. Wherever else a nurse may be licensed, that nurse still needs an Alaska nursing license to practice within the state.

  1. What Does Reciprocity Mean In Nursing?

Reciprocity is an agreement among a group of states to mutually recognize licenses from any state in the pact. Through this agreement, nurses from one state can apply for a license in another without having to satisfy additional licensing agreements, such as completing continuing education classes.

  1. Why Are Some States Reluctant To Adopt The Nurse Licensure Compact?

Many states have resisted licensure compacts like the NLC and eNLC in the past. The primary reasons stated are fear of lost revenue, diminished state authority, the logistics of disciplinary action, uncertainty over state requirements and standards, and concerns over public safety.

  1. How Do You Get A Compact Nursing License In Georgia?

If you are already licensed as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse in Georgia and Georgia is your state of residency, you may submit an online application to convert your single state license to a multistate license.

  1. How Do You Become A Traveling Nurse?
  • Earn a BSN Degree.
  • Pass the NCLEX Exam.
  • Obtain RN Licensure.
  • Gain Nursing Experience.
  • Find a Travel Nurse Staffing Agency for Employment.
  1. What Does The NLC Mean For Employers?

Nurses are now able to practice (in person or by telehealth) in other NLC states with just one license obtained in their state of residence. Faculty and military spouses will just need one license to teach or practice across states in the NLC.

  1. How Long Does It Take To Get A New York Nursing License By Endorsement?

The average wait time for a New York RN license by endorsement ranges from 6 to 8 weeks after all documentation is received. But the process can take longer, due to seasonal fluctuations and an increasing number of license applications every year.

  1. How Do I Verify A Multistate License?

To verify a multistate license, please visit and follow the onscreen instructions for QuickConfirm License Verification.

  1. What Are The Benefits Of Working In The Nursing Compact States

If you hold a compact nursing license, you have wonderful career flexibility; your license empowers you to practice across state lines in the member states with one multi-state license.

  1. Will Michigan Become A Compact State?

HB 4042 would declare Michigan to be an NLC participating state, allowing the mutual recognition of nursing licenses among the other member NLC states.

  1. Do Nurses Support Alaska Joining The NLC?

Yes! A December 2019 survey issued to all Alaska-licensed nurses by the Board of Nursing and National Council of State Boards of Nursing showed that 92% of Alaska-licensed nurses want Alaska to join the NLC, including 89% of nurses with primary residency in Alaska, and 87% of nurses that are members of a union.

  1. How Do You Transfer Your Nursing License To New York?

Form 1 – Application for Licensure along with the $143 fee;

Form 2 – Certification of Professional Education; and.

Form 3 – Verification of Other Professional Licensure/Certification or Nursys online verification of licensure for all other states where a license is held.

  1. Can Working In A Nurse Licensure Compact Location Help You Land More Travel Nurse Jobs?

If you’re a licensed RN with a primary residence in one of these states, you’ll have quick access to travel nursing jobs in other member states. You’ll love the freedom to practice without going through the standard cross-state licensure process.

  1. How Will Employers Verify Licensure Status Of Nurses?

Employers can confirm a nurse’s license and receive a Nursys QuickConfirm report at at no cost. The report will contain the nurse’s name, jurisdiction, license type, license number, compact status, license status, expiration date, discipline against license and discipline against privilege to practice.

  1. How Do You Get A DC Nursing License?
  • Complete an application for Licensure by Endorsement online.
  • Pay the associated fees.
  • Verification of original state of licensure.
  • Verification of all other licenses.
  • Fingerprint and Complete Background Check.
  1. How Long Can You Practice With A Compact License?

There is no time limit. As long as you maintain legal residency in the state that issued your multistate license and you remain in good standing, you may practice in other compact states.

  1. How Do You Get A New York Nursing License?

You may apply for a limited permit either at the same time as or after submitting an Application for Licensure (Form 1) and the licensure fee of $143. If you have not yet filed a Form 1 and the licensure fee, you must submit them with the Form 5 and the limited permit fee of $35.

  1. What Can I Do With My MSN Degree?
  • Family Nurse Practitioner.
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
  • Nursing Informatics Specialist.
  • Geriatric or Gerontological Nurse Practitioner.
  • Clinical Nurse Researcher.
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.
  • Forensic Nurse Consultant or SANE Specialist. …
  • Nurse Ethicist.
  1. How Much Do New Nurses Make In Florida?

80% of Florida RNs earn between $50,220 and $93,500. On average, RNs in Florida earn about 14% less than the national average salary for nurses, at $80,010 (or $38.47 per hour).

  1. How Do You Change Your Last Name On Your Registered Nurse License?

Login to online services by selecting your profession from the dropdown menu and entering your information. Find the “Manage My License” menu. Select “Request Name Change” and submit your request along with legible supporting documents. Once you have entered your new information, click on “Submit”

  1. What Action Is Considered A Nursing Responsibility When Participating In A Nurse Licensure Compact?

When participating in a nurse licensure compact, the nurse is held responsible for complying with the nursing practice laws in the state where practicing at the time care is rendered.

  1. How Long Does It Take To Get A Nursing License?

In general, the time it takes to become a licensed nurse ranges from two to five years, depending on the path you choose, your prior education, and your state’s procedures.

  1. Can You Transfer Your RN License To California?

Yes, you can but to qualify for endorsement (reciprocity) into California as an RN, you must hold a current and active RN license in another state, U.S. territory, or Canada, have completed an educational program meeting all California requirements, and have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®).

  1. How Do You Transfer Your Nursing License To Massachusetts?

Log into the Professional Credential Services, Inc online application portal to process your RN or LPN license application by reciprocity. Credit card is the only accepted form of payment. You can contact Professional Credential Services, Inc. toll-free at (877) 887-9727.

  1. How Long Does It Take To Get Florida Nursing License By Endorsement?

After the state board has received all required documentation and fees, most nurses receive their Florida RN or LPN license within 4-5 weeks. Timing varies by seasonal demand. The state does not issue temporary licenses.

  1. How Do You Get A Michigan Nursing License By Endorsement?
  • Submit an application for Licensure by Endorsement online.
  • Pay the associated fees.
  • Fingerprint report and criminal background check. Fingerprints must be taken using the instructions and ID numbers that are sent to you after the license application and fee are received.
  • Verification of license
  1. If I Apply For Licensure Through VALOR Will I Receive A Multistate License?

VALOR applications are only reviewed for single state licensure.

  1. Does An RN License Transfer From State To State?

Although each state has its own licensure process, it is getting easier for nurses to transfer active licenses to other states through the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC).

  1. What Is A DNP Degree?

A DNP is Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is a post-BSN medical practice degree that is one of two possible doctorate degrees in the nursing field. A DNP degree is a practicing degree – meaning it includes advanced training in specific nursing skills and disciplines for use in the field.

  1. How Do You Transfer Your Nursing License To Florida?

To get your license transfer to Florida, you must follow a procedure which is named as an endorsement. Every board has its own private rules regarding the endorsement. This would mean bigger pay scale and more working experiences. This transferring is allowed through the NLC (Nurse Licensure Compact).

55. How Do You Apply For The Multistate Upgrade?

In order to upgrade your current RN/PN license to a multistate license, be sure to meet the following uniform licensure requirements.

  • Graduate from a board-approved education program
  • Hold an active, unencumbered license
  • Undergo a state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background check
  • Pass an NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN Exam
  • Meet the requirements for licensure in their original state of residency
  • Pass an English proficiency exam (for international graduates)
  • Have a valid United States social security number
  • Disclose current participation in an alternative program (applicants are unable to participate in an alternative program)
  • Not have any state or federal felony convictions, nor misdemeanor convictions related to the practice of nursing

Please note that upgrading your current state license in a qualified state to a multistate license does not happen automatically. Luckily the process is pretty straightforward.

Joy Nwokoro