Moving to a New State? Here’s How to Transfer Your Nursing License

Nurse licensure can take time. Each state has a separate board tasked with determining the competency of the nurses who apply. Earning licensure from your home state is one thing but what if you’re considering a move? How can you transfer your RN to another state? Here’s what you need to know.

Steps to an RN License Transfer

The good news is that the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows nurses to have one license that transfers across state lines. So far, 25-states have joined the compact, and more will soon follow. This new coalition has greatly simplified the licensure process. You can obtain a multistate license if you:

  • Are currently a legal resident of a state that is part of the NLC.
  • Hold a current RN license that is in good standing.
  • Meet the licensure requirements in your home state.
  • Exhibit the competency requirements for practicing in your state.

If you’re considering transferring your license, there is an endorsement process that follows the passage of your NCLEX-RN designation and licensure with your state board of nursing. To start the endorsement process, you must:

  • Choose the state where you’d like to endorse your existing license.
  • Go online and fill out the endorsement application for the state board of nursing.
  • The state board of nursing will accept your application, perform background checks, and ensure your application details are correct.
  • Pay the fees for the RN endorsement for the state you are soliciting.

The process takes one to two months and you will receive a notification that your information has been approved, or a request for more information if there is an issue.

But what about the states that are not yet participating in the compact? If you’re attempting to practice in one of these states, you can transfer your license from a compact to a non-compact state by following these steps:

  • Apply for licensure by endorsement in the new state of residency.
  • Your compact license will be changed to a single state license that is valid only in the state you’re applying to.
  • To close the loop, you must notify the nursing board in the state you moved from to inactivate your license.

If you’re transferring from a compact state to a compact state, follow these steps:

  • First, currently, you can practice on the prior license for 30- or 90-days depending on the state you moved to. (Check with your licensure board to understand compliance rules.)
  • You can apply for a licensure endorsement in advance, up to two months before you move. There are fees, of course, and you must complete a declaration of your home state of residence (the state you’re moving to).
  • You will receive a new multistate license and your prior license will become inactive when you notify the board in your former state.

The NLC makes it much easier for per diems and traveling nurses to apply their skills. The organization is a relatively new initiative; so more states are expected to join soon. MAS Medical applauds the work of the NLC because it’s made it easier for nurses to apply their skills in the places where they’re needed the most. Contact us if you’d like to start your multi-state nursing adventure.


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