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New Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) — What you need to know!

by Anja Grimes

Updated on: Jan 11, 2020

The original Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) was established in 1998 and is an agreement that allows mutual recognition of a nursing license between 25 member states in the U.S. A new Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) was implemented on January 19, 2018, and applied to 29 states. As of January 2020, there are 32 member states.


What is the Nurse Licensure Compact?

Member (party) states allow a nurse with a residence and nursing license in one member state to practice physically, electronically, or via phone in any of the other member states. The requirement to apply for a nursing license in a nurse’s nonresident state is eliminated as long as the nurse does not relocate to that state. This regulation applies to Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN).
So long as a nurse lives and is licensed in any of the member states, he/she is eligible to apply for a multi-license to practice in any of the other member states.

What’s the general purpose of the compact?

  • Facilitate the states’ responsibility to protect the public’s health and safety.
  • Ensure and encourage the cooperation of party states in the areas of nurse licensure and regulation
  • Facilitate the exchange of information between party states in the areas of nurse regulation, investigation, and adverse actions.
  • Promote compliance with the laws governing the practice of nursing in each jurisdiction.
  • Invest all party states with the authority to hold a nurse accountable for meeting all state practice laws in the state in which the patient is located at the time care is rendered through the mutual recognition of party state licenses.

Which states are participating in the new eNLC as of April 2019?

The new Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) was implemented on January 19, 2018. The following states will honor the eNLC compact as of January 2020:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas (starting July 1, 2019)
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana (starting July 1, 2019)
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Ultimately, the goal is to have all 50 states join the compact.

If I already have a multi-state license, do I need to apply for a new one?

A nurse with an original NLC multi-state license issued prior to 7/20/17 will be automatically grandfathered in to the new compact if he/she meets the following requirements:

  • Is a resident of an original NLC state that has enacted the enhanced NLC.
  • Held an original NLC multi-state license on July 20, 2017.
  • Has not had a disqualifying event since July 20, 2017, that would nullify the grandfathering. Examples of disqualifying events include but are not limited to:
    • Changing primary state of residence to another state.
    • Allowing the license to lapse.
    • Being convicted of any felony.
    • Being convicted of a misdemeanor related to the practice of nursing whereby the conviction is determined to be a disqualifying event by the board of nursing.
    • Having a license disciplined and placed probation or with any practice restrictions.
    • Current enrollment in an alternative program.

Do I qualify for a new multi-state license?

In order to receive a new multi-state license, a nurse who lives in a compact state must:

  • Meet the requirements for licensure in the home state (state of residency).
  • Have graduated from a board-approved education program or have graduated from an international education program (approved by the authorized accrediting body in the applicable country and verified by an independent credentials review agency).
  • Have passed an English proficiency examination (applies to graduates of an international education program not taught in English or if English is not the individual’s native language).
  • Have passed an NCLEX-RN® or NCLEX-PN® examination or predecessor exam.
  • Be eligible for or hold an active, unencumbered license (i.e., without active discipline).
  • Have submitted to state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks.
  • Have no state or federal felony convictions.
  • Have no misdemeanor convictions related to the practice of nursing (determined on a case-by-case basis).
  • Not be a current participant in an alternative program.
  • Self-disclose current participation in an alternative program.
  • Have a valid United States Social Security number.


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Anja Grimes

Anja leads Wild Iris Medical Education's marketing team and is responsible for extending the company's promotional leadership, driving overall marketing operations and expanding the reach of our network while staying current with the latest industry trends and developments.

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