Nursing Compact States 2021/22

Note: this article was updated in October 2021 to include the latest developments.


Friendly nurseNursing Compact States, or eNLCs, are the states that have adopted the enhanced Nurse License Compact (eNLC) agreement, which allows nurses to own one multistate license and to practice legally not only in their home state, but also in other eNLC states. In other words, registered nurses or licensed practical nurses who have obtained their licensure in one eNLC state are allowed to practice via endorsement in another eNLC state. At the time being, there are 34 eNLC states in the US.

A Closer Look At Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement

The Nurse Compact Licensure Agreement was created back in 1997 by the NCSBN, or the National Council of the State Boards of Nursing.  Updated in 2018 as the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact or eNLC, as of October 2021 there are 34 states that have agreed to implement it. These states are as follow:

This particular agreement was designed with the sole purpose of allowing the mutual recognition of a nursing license between the member states of the USA. The agreement was enacted into law by half of these states, thus allowing licensed nurses to practice without obtaining any additional license in the eNLC-member states. Nonetheless, it must be mentioned that even though the license of the nurse may be multistate, those who want to relocate to another eNLC state must pursue a licensure in that state, given the fact that their residence has changed.

The number of eNLC state has grown constantly over the past years, and the implementation of the Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement has become particularly beneficial for travel nurses and other nursing processionals who do not work only in one state, thus allowing them to make the best of this new streamlined licensure process, which most nurses regard as very convenient and flexible. In addition to this enhanced flexibility, another notable advantage of Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement is the fact that it helps registered nurses and licensed practical nurses save a lot of time, money and hassles, as they no longer have to go through the demanding and time-consuming process of applying for a new license in a new state.

However, although the Nurse Compact Licensure Agreement benefit nursing professionals on many different levels, it must be said that under this agreement, registered and licensed practical nurses must follow all the practice regulations and laws of the state in which they currently practice.

There are many reasons why the Nursing Board has decided to create and to implement this particular agreement: not only have the nursing technologies and practices changed dramatically over the years, but so has the growing need for nursing across all the 50 states of the US. The NLC agreement aims to allow licensed practical nurses and registered nurses to work legally, without having to go through the hassles of applying for a new license, and this can address the shortage of nurses that is registered in some US states.

There are, however, several conditions that apply, and one of them is that the nurse’s first and main state of residence must be a member of the 34 compact states, in order to be able to work in another compact state – nonetheless, if the nurse plans to work in a non-compact state, then he or she may still obtain license in order to work there. It is entirely the responsibility of the nurse to comply with all the provisions of the NPA, or the Nurse Practice Agreement, in the states where they wish to practice – moreover, the compact agreement is only for licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses and registered nurses, and it does not include APNs or advanced practice nurses.

Who Is Eligible To Apply For A Multistate License?

group of nursesLPNs, LVNs and RNs are eligible for a compact license (also known as a multistate license) provided that they reside in an eNLC state and that they hold an active license to practice nursing in good standing. Moreover, in addition to all the eligibility requirements mentioned earlier, these health care providers must also meet all the requirements in order to obtain a license their home state (which, as mentioned above, must be an eNLC state). In addition to the 34 states that are already members of the eNLC agreement, the legislation has also been introduced into several other states, which means that the total number of the eNLC members is expected to grow in the near future.

It must also be mentioned that the cycles of licensure renewal may vary from one state to another, this is precisely why nurses are highly advised to declare a new residency state instead of waiting for the license for nursing to expire in their initial state of residence (their home state). If you are a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse who moves from a non-compact state in compact one, then it is important to apply for endorsement, in your new residency. The individual state license that is issued by your initial home non-compact state will remain active, provided that you renew it.

On the other hand, if you move from a compact state to non-compact state you will need to apply for a nursing endorsement licensure in your new residency state, and the compact license is automatically change to one single state license that is only valid in that particular state. Upon doing so, the licensed nurse must immediately inform the Nursing Board that you moved out of your home state.

Last, but not least, if you move from one eNLC state to another eNLC state, then you are granted the right to practice on the previous residency license for a period of up to 90 days, although this varies depending on the state, as each one individually implements its own rules. Having said that, you need to apply for an endorsement licensure, to pay all the applicable fees as well as to fill a declaration of your primary residency state.