Nurse Licensure Compact

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The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is an agreement that allows mutual recognition (reciprocity) of a nursing license between member U.S. states ("compact states"). Enacted into law by the participating states, the NLC allows a nurse who is a legal resident of and possesses a nursing license in a compact state (their "home state") to practice in any of the other compact states (the "remote states") without obtaining additional licensure in the remote states. It applies to both registered and practical nurses and is also referred to as a multi-state license.[1]

Per the NLC rules, nurses who are licensed in and legal residents of a compact state may not hold licenses from other compact states – that is, they can only hold one compact state license at a time, which must be from their home state, and a nurse temporarily practicing in a remote state retains their license in their home state. However, if a nurse changes their primary state of residence from one compact state to another compact state, they must transfer their license by applying for licensure by endorsement in the new home state; upon issuance of the new home state license, the license from the former home state is inactivated.

A license obtained in a compact state that is not one's state of legal residency is not recognized by the other compact members, so nurses who are legal residents of non-compact states must obtain licenses for each compact state in which they wish to practice.[2][3]

Participating states[edit]

Map of Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) members
  Pending legislation
  Partial implementation

As of September 2021, the 37 NLC states are:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey (partial implementation)
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio (implementation date: 1/1/23)
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania (awaiting implementation)
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont (implementation date: 2/1/22)
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
  • Guam (partial implementation)

Six other states and one US territory all have active NLC bills. They are: Alaska, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, and the US Virgin Islands.


  1. ^ "Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC)". National Council of State Boards of Nursing. 2009-11-30. Retrieved 2009-11-30.
  2. ^ "NLC FAQs". National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Moving Scenarios Factsheet" (PDF). National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. Retrieved 22 September 2020.

External links[edit]