Industry Insights Traveler Tips//January 05, 2023

The Complete Guide to Nursing Compact States 2023


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.

>>Get state-by-state licensing information

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.

Qualifications include:

  • 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, 37 states 2 U.S territories have enacted, implemented, or partially implemented a nursing license compact.


  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania*
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

U.S. Territories

  • Guam**
  • Virgin Islands*

*Has enacted Nurse Licensure Compact, but is still waiting to complete implementation.
**Allowing nurses to practice who hold active, unencumbered, multi-state licenses issued by Nurse Licensure Compact member states

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.

Have questions about nursing licenses or requirements? Complete the form on this page and a recruiter will contact you.

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 37 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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