Frequently Asked Questions About the Nurse Licensure Compact
The Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) continues to grow. As such, it's important to know where a multistate license applies and, by default, where it doesn't. Keep reading for an updated list of member states and answers to frequently asked questions on all things eNLC.
What states are part of the nursing compact?
Current list of nursing compact member states (May 2023):
Am I eligible for a multistate nurse license?
You may be eligible for a compact nursing license if:
- You live in a compact member state
- You meet the uniform licensure requirements
What are the uniform licensure requirements for nurses?
According to the Nurse Licensure Compact, the uniform licensure requirements (ULR) are:
- "Meets the requirements for licensure in the home state (state of residency)
- a. Has graduated from a board-approved education program; or
- b. Has graduated from an international education program (approved by the authorized accrediting body in the applicable country and verified by an independent credentials review agency)
- Has passed an English proficiency examination (applies to graduates of an international education program not taught in English or if English is not the individual's native language)
- Has passed an NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN Examination or predecessor exam
- Is eligible for or holds an active, unencumbered license (i.e., without active discipline)
- Has submitted to state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks
- Has not been convicted or found guilty, or has entered into an agreed disposition, of a felony offense under applicable state or federal criminal law
- Has no misdemeanor convictions related to the practice of nursing (determined on a case-by-case basis)
- Is not currently a participant in an alternative program
- Is required to self-disclose current participation in an alternative program."
How do I apply for a compact state nursing license?
All applications for multistate licenses are received and processed by the applicant's resident state Board of Nursing (BON). This National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) site tool allows interested persons to select their state of residency, select the state(s) in which they want to practice, and then be guided to the appropriate license application.
I live in a noncompact state - can I get a multistate license another way?
No. Your primary state of residence must be a member state in order to be eligible for a multistate license. You can, however, work in another state by obtaining a single-state license in that other state. This is done by applying to the BON of the other state for a license by endorsement. There is no limit to the number of single-state licenses a nurse can hold.
Why would it benefit me to hold a multistate license?
As stated in the previous answer, you can hold multiple single-state licenses. The difference is that you must apply and therefore pay and wait for processing and approval for each license application in each state. This is a key benefit for nurses who are military spouses, travel, practice telehealth, or live near state lines and pick up PRN shifts across borders.
I live in a compact state, but I don't know if my license is a multistate or a single-state license.
You can use the Quick Confirm tool at nursys.com to verify if your license is a single-state or multistate.
Why haven't all states and territories joined the eNLC?
Some arguments against joining the eNLC include concerns that are financial in nature. Noncompact states earn revenue by issuing single-state licenses to nurses from other states, and if they joined the eNLC, this revenue would cease to exist. Other expressed concerns are that quality standards and training vary between states and questions of jurisdiction for disciplinary action. For more on the compact vs. noncompact, check out our review of the benefits for and arguments against in "Nurse Licensure Compact Part 2."