01.29.2014 Back to News

Reminder for Nurses: Compact Licenses


Nurses: Is Your Principal Residence Information Current? 


Do you know that if you move to another state you have to change your nursing license to that state within 30 days? (The 30 days starts with your first day of work.)
The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows a registered nurse (RN) and a licensed practical/vocational nurse (LPN/VN) to have one multi-state license in the primary state of residency (the home state) and to practice in other compact states (remote states), while subject to each state’s practice laws and discipline.
The “primary state of residence” is defined as the state in which a nurse declares a principal residence for legal purposes.
A nurse must legally reside in an NLC state to be eligible for issuance of a multi-state license. Nebraska and Iowa are NLC states. See National Council for the State Boards of Nursing for other NLC states by clicking here


To obtain a compact license, a nurse must declare a compact state as the primary state of residency and hold a nursing license in good standing.  All Nebraska and Iowa licenses are issued as compact licenses.
When a nurse changes primary state of residency by moving from one compact state to another compact state, the nurse can practice on the former residency license for up to 30 days from his/her first day of work. The nurse is required to apply for licensure by endorsement (already licensed in another state and meet continuing education and other requirements), pay any applicable fees and complete a declaration of primary state of residency in the new home state, whereby a new multi-state license is issued and the former license is inactivated.  Proof of residency may be required.

An Example to Illustrate

Jane Doe, RN, lives in Omaha and has a Nebraska nursing license. Jane moves to Council Bluffs on January 26.  Her first day of work with this new residency in Iowa is January 28.  She can practice on her former residency license (Nebraska) for up to 30 days from her first day of work (through February 28). Jane is required to apply for licensure in Iowa and have the Iowa nursing license in place before February 28.

Check & Update Your Residence Info

Be sure your principal residence information is current in Employee Self Service (ESS), which is accessible through the mhsintranet.


In the event you move to a different state, please be sure to apply for licensure immediately due to the limited time frame in which you can practice under the previous state’s license. It is recommended to start the application process one to two months prior to the move.

For More Information

If you have questions, call your respective board of licensure:

  • Nebraska Board of Nursing -  (402) 471-4376
  • Iowa Board of Nursing - (515) 281-3255