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The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is a mutual recognition model of nurse licensure that allows a nurse to have one license, issued by the state in which the nurse claims primary residence, and to practice in all states that have entered into the interstate compact (multistate licensure). The nurse is subject to each state's practice laws and discipline but does not have to meet separate licensure eligibility requirements for each state.
Continue reading for frequently asked questions regarding the NLC or visit the NLC website.
A: Your declared primary state of residency will determine your eligibility for licensure by examination and/or issuance of a multistate or single state license. If you declare your primary state of residence to be a compact state other than Colorado, you should not apply for licensure in Colorado. You must apply for licensure in your current primary state of residence.
All licenses issued to permanent Colorado residents will be compact licenses. If a nurse changes his or her primary state of residence to any other state or U.S. territory, he or she is required to notify the Colorado State Board of Nursing by completing a Declaration of Primary State of Residence Form.
A: Your declared primary state of residency will determine your eligibility for licensure by endorsement and/or issuance of a multistate or single state license. If you declare your primary state of residence to be a compact state other than Colorado, you should not apply for licensure in Colorado. You must apply for licensure in your current primary state of residence.
With a multistate license, registered or licensed practical nurses do not need to obtain an individual license to practice in other compact (remote) states unless the nurse changes his/her primary residency from Colorado to any other state or US territory.
A nurse is responsible for complying with the provisions of the Nurse Practice Act in the state(s) where he or she is practicing.
A: Yes. Per the NLC rules and regulations, a nurse changing primary state of residence from one compact state to another may continue to practice under the former state license for 30 or 90 days, depending on the new state’s rules (see Examples of Moving to Different States). After the 30/90-day period, a license issued by the new compact state is required and your Colorado compact license will be expired. Per the NLC Model Rules, the former home state license shall no longer be valid upon the issuance of a new home state license.
A: No. Nurses changing a primary residency address within the same state should update an address online at Online Services or submit a change of address in writing.
Nurses changing a primary residency address to another state must re-declare residency in the new state by submitting a Declaration of Primary State of Residence Form.
A: NLC rules and regulations require that each nurse attest to his/her primary state of residence upon initial application, reinstatement, or renewal of the nursing license. Sources of proof that may be requested to verify primary residence include, but are not limited to:
A: No. Owning property in a compact state is not sufficient to meet residency requirements. In order to be eligible for a compact multistate license in a compact state, your declared primary state of residency must be in the compact state where you hold the multistate license. You may be asked to provide proof of residency.
A: The NLC includes registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical or vocational nurses (LPN/VNs), but does not incorporate the advanced practice, prescriptive, and IV authorities.
An RN holding an unencumbered license in Colorado who is also on the Advanced Practice Registry as a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), or Nurse Practitioner (NP) will be eligible to provide care as an RN in other compact states under the multistate license, but must obtain advanced practice authority in each state in which s/he practices as an advanced practice nurse.
RNs providing care in Colorado under a compact license from another state must apply to Colorado for recognition on the Advanced Practice Registry. Advanced Practice Nurses who wish to obtain prescriptive privileges in Colorado must apply for Prescriptive Authority in addition to recognition on the Advanced Practice Registry.
LPNs who wish to practice IV Therapy and/or Phlebotomy (blood draw) must apply for IV Authority.
PNs holding an unencumbered license in Colorado with IV authority will be eligible to provide care as a PN in other compact states under the multistate license, but must comply with each state’s practice laws and certification requirements regarding IV authority.
A: No. Certified Nurse Aides (CNA) and Medication Aides are not included in the NLC. A Colorado CNA license is valid only for practice in Colorado.
A: Your declared state of residency will determine your eligibility for reinstatement and/or issuance of a multistate or single state license. If your primary residence is in a compact state other than Colorado, do not reinstate your Colorado RN or PN license. You must apply for licensure in your current primary state of residence.
A: Your declared state of residency will determine your eligibility for licensure and/or issuance of a multistate or single state license. If your primary state of residence is in a compact state other than Colorado, do not renew your Colorado RN or PN license. You must apply for licensure in your current primary state of residence. If you pay your Colorado RN or PN renewal fee and it is determined that your primary state of residence is in another compact state (other than Colorado), your renewal fee will not be refunded.
A: The licensing board of any compact state (home or remote) is authorized by the NLC to investigate allegations of unsafe practice by any nurse practicing in that state. Dependent upon the outcome of the investigation, both the state of licensure (home state) and the remote state where the nurse is practicing on a privilege may take action. The nurse's home state may take disciplinary action against the nurse's license; the remote state may deny the nurse's privilege to practice in that state.
States will continue to apply the same administrative and due process procedures for imposing discipline as they always have. Current significant investigative information and disciplinary history will be available to states through Nursys.
A: An applicant is eligible for a multistate license only if his/her license is "in good standing." If a nurse has been disciplined and is working under an agreement with stipulations, the nurse is only eligible for a single-state license at the discretion of the licensing board in the state in which application is being made.
A: The status of an RN or PN license is changed from ‘active’ to ‘expired’ when a nurse moves from Colorado to another participating compact state, claims residency there, and obtains multistate licensure in the new primary (home) state. Per the NLC Model Rules, the former home state license shall no longer be valid upon the issuance of a new home state license. If you have questions regarding your expired or inactive Colorado license, you may contact the Nurse Compact Administrator at 303-894-2415.
A: No. The State Board of Nursing does not require that nurses or employers provide notification of Colorado employment. Employers are responsible for verifying licensure.
A: It is the responsibility of the employer to verify licensure of nurses they employ by either utilizing our online automated information system, License Lookup (for nurses licensed in Colorado), or by connecting to the national database at Nursys.com (for nurses licensed by another compact state).
A: Licensees enrolled in the PAS program as an alternative to discipline will be granted a single state license that allows practice only in Colorado.
All NLC states must require nurses who enter any alternative programs to agree not to practice in any other NLC state during the term of the alternative program without the prior authorization from that NLC state.
Licensees enrolled voluntarily in a confidential program will be granted licensure according to NLC policy and must comply with the terms and conditions of their PAS contract.