Nursing Compact States: Defined
The Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) formally known as the Nursing License Compact (NLC) was set-up to allow Registered Nurses (RNs) to obtain one license to work in multiple states. Commonly referred to as a multi-state license, RNs can work in any state that is a part of the compact without having to obtain licenses in the states in which they wish to work.
Nursing Compact License: Qualifications
If you are a Registered Nurse (RN) with an active license, residing in any of the locations that are a part of the eNLC, it is likely you qualify for a compact license.
- Has an active nursing license in the state in which they reside
- Has obtained their associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing
- Passed the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN
- Has completed a state & federal criminal background check
- Has never been convicted of a felony charge
- Has never received any convictions related to the practice of nursing
- Is a citizen or resident of the U.S. with a valid social security number.
Don’t qualify for a compact license, but still want to travel nurse? Travel nurse close to home with our Local RN contracts! Click here to learn more!
What states are part of the eNLC?
As of this writing, 33 states have enacted & implemented a nursing license compact. They include:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
How do you obtain a compact nursing license?
First & foremost you must reside and be able to prove that you live in a compact nursing state. This can be done with a driver’s license, federal income tax return, or voter registration. Secondly you must have a valid & active nursing license in the state in which you reside. See above for additional qualifications.
If you meet all these qualifications (and if you’re a practicing RN, it is very likely you do) then all you need to do is essentially upgrade your current state license to a multi-state license via your state board of nursing website.
Steps to obtaining your compact nursing license:
- Log into your state board of nursing website.
- Search for “eNLC Upgrade Application”
- Click “Apply for a multi-state license”
And that’s it! Once your applications is reviewed & approved you’ll receive your eNLC license in the mail. This process usually takes less than 30 days, and often three to seven business days.
To read more about how to get a Compact Nursing License, click here.
Additional Compact Nursing License Considerations
It is highly recommended that you join the Nursys e-Notify system for any updates (in real time) to the eNLC system (such as new states being added).
If you’re wondering about your Continuing Education (CE) contact hours, you only have to follow the requirements of your home state – and are not beholden to any other state within the nursing license compact. Yay!
To read more about Nursing Compact States, click here.
Nursing Compact States: FAQ
Question: If I hold a compact license that was part of the NLC do I need to reapply for a compact license as a part of the eNLC?
Answer: Absolutely not. Anyone that holds a compact license as part of the original NLC was grandfathered into the new eNLC. The only caveat to that is if your state decided to leave the eNLC – then your compact license would no longer be valid.
Question: If I hold a valid state nursing license in a compact state, does it automatically equal a multi-state license.
Answer: Unfortunately, no. You do need to apply to “upgrade” your state license to a multi-state license.
Question: If I hold a compact license, can I practice nursing in another compact state that I do not live in?
Answer: Yes! That is the beauty of a compact license. You are free to practice in any of the 33 states that are part of a eNLC.
Question: I own a home in a compact state, but I live in a non-compact state. Do I qualify for a compact license?
Answer: You’d think so, right? But no. Unless you physically reside in a compact state, regardless of where you own property, you would not qualify for a compact license.
Question: I currently don’t live in a compact state – but have plans to move to a compact state this year. Can I apply for a compact license?
Answer: Yes. But first you will need to apply for a state license in your new home state, after you legally change your primary state of residence. You cannot apply for a multi-state license – until you hold that state license. It is recommended you start that process ASAP because acquiring an individual state license takes a lot more time than a compact license.
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