What is a Nurse Compact License?

What is a Nurse Compact License?

The Nurse Compact License is very similar to your Drivers license.

Each state has its own licensing credentials and requirements to be considered but your driver’s license is recognized in all states.  The Nurse Compact license differs from your driver’s license only in the fact that not all states participate in the licensing compact.

Requirements for a nursing license are similar across states, but each state may determine and vary its own licensure requirements.  The states that participate in the compact have agreed that the licensing requirements in the individual states are compliant with their own licensing requirements and therefore are willing to allow you to work in their state without any additional licensing.

Currently the Compact license is available for LPN’s and RN’s.  There is current legislation attempting to provide a compact for Advance Practice Nurses.

Which States Participate in the Compact?  The following lists the NLC States:

nurse compact license

  • Arizona 7/1/2002
  • Arkansas  7/1/2000
  • Colorado  10/1/2007
  • Delaware 7/1/2000
  • Idaho  7/1/2001
  • Iowa  7/1/2000
  • Kentucky  6/1/2007
  • Maine  7/1/2001
  • Maryland  7/1/1999
  • Mississippi  7/1/2001
  • Missouri  6/1/2010
  • Nebraska  1/1/2001
  • New Hampshire  1/1/2006
  • New Mexico  1/1/2004
  • North Carolina  7/1/2000
  • North Dakota  1/1/2004
  • Rhode Island  7/1/2008
  • South Carolina  2/1/2006
  • South Dakota  1/1/2001
  • Tennessee  7/1/2003
  • Texas  1/1/2000
  • Utah  1/1/2000
  • Virginia  1/1/2005
  • Wisconsin  1/1/2000

Check the List of Nurse Board Websites to obtain contact information for individual Board of Nursing websites and contact information.

States Pending Legislation:

  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Illinois

According to NCSBN The following are necessary in order to qualify for a Compact License

  1. Legally reside in a NLC state.
  2. Hold an active RN or LPN/VN nursing license in good standing. Note: APRN’s are not included in this compact.
  3. Declare a NLC state as your primary state of residency.
  4. Meet the licensure requirements in your home state. When working in a remote state, you will also be held accountable to the Nurse Practice Act of the state where the patient is located or where practice occurs.


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As a travel nursing educator, Candy aka Gypsy Nurse, RN has worked in healthcare for nearly 20 years, working up the ranks from CNA to LPN to RN. For the past eleven years, she’s worked as a travel nurse, allowing her to practice and live in 15 states throughout the U.S. Candy still works occasionally as a travel nurse but spends most of her time providing a supportive information and resources through TheGypsyNurse.com and it's affiliated social networks.

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3 Responses to What is a Nurse Compact License?

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  2. […] States highlighted in yellow are ‘Compact’ states.  Walk-through states allow a nurse to obtain a temporary license issued in as little as one […]

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