Melissa Magstadt, South Dakota Secretary of Health
FAQs: Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC)

South Dakota joined the NCL on January 1, 2001 and the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) on January 19, 2018.  Visit the NLC website for more information on states that have joined.

Q: What is the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC)?

A:  The NLC authorizes a nurse licensed and residing in a Compact State (home state) to practice in other Compact (remote) States without obtaining additional licensure. The NLC facilitates nursing practice among the Compact States by requiring the nurse to maintain active licensure only in the nurse's "primary state of residence," and granting "multi-state privilege" to practice in other Compact States.

This privilege requires the nurse to practice according to the laws and regulations of the state where the nurse practices or provides care. Practice occurs where the patient is located at the time care is provided, physically or electronically. Nursing practice is not limited to patient care, and includes all nursing practice as defined by each Compact State's practice laws.

Q: How will the NLC affect nurses who live in Compact states?

A:  A nurse who resides in South Dakota and holds an unencumbered nursing license is granted a "multi-state privilege" to practice in any of the other Compact States.  Likewise, a nurse who resides in and is licensed by another Compact State has a "multi-state privilege" to practice in South Dakota. The NLC only affects nursing licensure and practice among those states that have joined the Compact (party states).  The nurse must continue to hold a nursing license in any Non-compact State in order to practice in that state, even if the nurse resides in a Compact State.  A license issued by a Compact State with the multi-state privilege to practice is only valid in other Compact States, and is not recognized by Non-compact States.

Q: Will a nurse who lives in a Non-compact State and practices in SD need  A SD license?

A: Yes.  A nurse who practices in South Dakota but lives in a Non-compact State, such as Minnesota, must continue to hold a license issued by South Dakota Board of Nursing.  The NLC does not change how the nurse obtains or renews a South Dakota license.  However, because the license holder's primary state of residence is not included within the Compact, that South Dakota license will be issued as a single-state license, and will not include a multi-state privilege to practice in other Compact States.

Q: How will employers verify licensure status of nurses?

A:  Employers may access the national coordinated licensure information system called NURSYS, which provides basic licensure information as well as disciplinary history for a licensee. 

Q: How will I know when new states have joined the NLC?

A: Current information is available on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website.

Q: How will the NLC affect licensure renewals?

A: Nurses must meet requirements for licensure renewal in their "primary state of residence," also called the "home state". This is defined by the Compact as "fixed permanent and principal home for legal purposes" and is generally evidenced by where you hold a driver's license, pay taxes, and/or vote.  For example, if a nurse’s home state license is Iowa, the nurse must meet Iowa's renewal requirements.

Q: How will the NLC affect endorsement of licenses into South Dakota?

A: The endorsement application process for licensure remains the same. 

A nurse changing primary state of residence from one Compact State to another Compact State may continue to practice on their multi-state license privilege on the former home state license while pending licensure in the new home state. Upon receiving a license in the new home state, the nursing license in the other (former state of residence) must be inactivated.

Q: Will the multi-state privilege be applied to Temporary Permits?

A: No, compact multistate licensure privileges do not apply to temporary permits.

Q: How will complaints and disciplinary action against licensed nurses be handled?

A: The Compact authorizes a licensing board of a NLC State to investigate allegations of unsafe practice by a nurse practicing in their state. Based on the outcome of the investigation, a remote state licensing board may deny a nurse's privilege to practice in their state. Only the nurse's home state licensing board may take action against the nurse's license.  However, Compact States are allowed to share current significant investigative information with other NLC states via the coordinated licensure information system, NURSYS

A licensee who is under a disciplinary order or agreement that limits practice or requires monitoring or who is enrolled in an alternative to discipline program may not work in a remote state on a privilege without prior written authority of both the home state and the remote state.

Q: How do I get more information about the Nurse Licensure Compact?

A: Visit