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Travel assignments in 41 states on one nursing license: 2024 nurse licensure update

Last updated January 10, 2024, to add new rule about changing state of residency as a multistate licensee.

Being able to work in multiple states under one travel nurse license is expanding across the country. So far, 41 states and two territories have passed legislation and joined the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). This is an important development for travel nurses because it makes your nurse license a lot more portable.

What states can I work in with a Nurse Compact license?

These are the 41 states and two U.S. territories that have passed eNLC legislation and belong to the compact.

*Guam, Pennsylvania, and Washington have partial implementation. This means nurses with active multi-state NLC licenses can practice in these locations. However, it also means nurses with Guam, Pennsylvania, and Washington as their primary state of residency can’t apply for a multistate license until the NLC is fully implemented. The implementation date for Washington is Jan. 31, 2024, however the date NLC implementation in Guam and Pennsylvania will be complete is unknown at this time.

**The U.S.V.I. has entered the compact but is still awaiting implementation.

States/territories with pending eNLC legislation include:

  • Alaska
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New York

Important travel nurse license facts about the NLC

To help you understand how the Nurse Licensure Compact works, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing has put together an online list of frequently asked questions and answers. Several more states are considering joining the compact. Here’s how to stay informed as things develop:

  1. Visit the NCSBN website for important eNLC updates
  2. Contact your home state board for application specifics
  3. Get in touch with your RNnetwork recruiter for additional help

We’ve summarized a few answers to the most common questions here, and you can see the complete list on the NCSBN website.

Q: How can I get a compact multistate license if I live in a noncompact state?

A: Only nurses who declare a compact state as their primary state of residence are eligible for a multistate license. If you are a resident of a noncompact state, you can still apply for a license in a compact state. However, your eligibility will be limited to a single state license that is valid in that state only. Of course, you can have as many single-state licenses as you wish.

Q: What does primary state of residence mean?

A: For compact purposes, primary state of residence (PSOR) is not related to property ownership in a given state. It is about your legal residency status. If a nurse’s PSOR is a compact state, that nurse may be eligible for a multistate (compact) license. If a nurse cannot declare a compact state as his/her PSOR, that nurse is not eligible for a compact license.

New rule as of Jan. 2, 2024: A multistate licensee who changes their primary state of residence to another party state shall apply for a multistate license in the new party state within 60 days. For up-to-date information on the Compact, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) created Nursys e-Notify so you can receive automated license and discipline notifications for enrolled RNs, LPN/LVNs, and advanced practice nurses from participating boards of nursing. The license does not have to be issued; however, they will need to provide proof of application submitted to the board of nursing and residency documentation.

Q: I live in a compact state and have a license from that state. What do I need to do to get a multistate license?

A: When you applied for that license, if you declared that state as your primary state of residence and met the licensure requirements of that state, the license you were issued should already be a multistate license. A good way to check is to use the Quick Confirm tool at www.nursys.com. In the event your license is not designated as multistate, you will need to contact your primary state of residence’s board of nursing.

What does it all mean for me right now?

The short answer is that more than two-thirds of the country is in reach with one home state license. And as other states join the compact, getting a multistate license will open up even more travel possibilities. That doesn’t mean the bar will be lower — you still have to be great at what you do with the documentation to prove it. What it does mean is that once you clear your home state licensing hurdles, there’s a process in place to practice in multiple compact states.

Imagine the new people, places, and experiences that are waiting for you out there. Whether you crave fulfilling new patient care opportunities, new friendships, or the chance to make off-time memories in new places, this is an industry trend that’s great for you.

For additional licensing help, talk to your RNnetwork recruiter or for general assistance call 800.866.0407.

About the author

Tim McDonnell

Tim McDonnell is a content developer at RNnetwork and loves bringing people together with stories that make a difference. After hours, Tim is a book, movie, and music enthusiast and will seize just about any opportunity to travel.

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