How to Get a Compact Nursing License

If you reside in a compact nursing state – and do not have a compact nursing license– what you may not know is how easy it is to get!

compact license

Back in 2017, the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) was implemented and now encompasses 34 states, making it incredibly easy for nurses to practice in states they do not reside in without having to obtain additional licenses.

The qualifications for a compact license are super simple: your permanent home must be in one of the 34 compact states and you must have an active nursing license in that state. You’ll want to visit your state’s board of nursing website for the particulars on how to apply for a compact license in your state, as they can vary, but below we give you the general outline specifying how you qualify and how you apply for a compact license.

Qualifications for a Compact Nursing License

  1. You must be able to prove that the state you reside in is your permanent state of residence. This can be done with an active driver’s license, a voter’s registration card, or a federal income tax return.
  2. You must meet the uniform requirements for a multistate license which include:
    1. Graduated from a board-certified education program
    2. Passed the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN exam
    3. Holds an active nursing license
    4. Submitted state and federal fingerprint-based background check
    5. Not convicted or found guilty of a felony with no misdemeanors or convictions related to the practice of nursing
    6. Has a valid United States Social Security number

How to Apply for a Compact Nursing License

From your state board of nursing website, you’ll want to find and click on “apply for new license”. From there you’ll be given a set of options that will include “eNLC Upgrade Application” or “apply for multistate license.” The application will include a request to provide a mailing address in your residential state and/or proof of residency such a copy of your driver’s license (with current address), last year’s federal income tax return or a voter registration card.

Along with the application you’ll need to submit a fingerprint and background check, which can be done at an approved center in your residential state.

Over the next several days (sometimes weeks) your application will be reviewed and once approved a compact license/multistate license (essentially the same thing) will be mailed to your address of permanent residence.

And that’s it! Once you have the eNLC license you will be able to practice nursing in all 34 states that are part of the compact licensing agreement.

It’s also a good idea (as recommended by the eNLC) to join the Nursys e-Notify system which will notify you, in real time, of any changes to the system, such as new states entering into the compact agreement.  Super helpful for all you travelers out there!

Interested in what nursing opportunities may be available to you? Check out our full job board today! 

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