Joan Adam, Secretary of Health
Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC)

South Dakota joined the NCL on January 1, 2001 and the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) on January 19, 2018.  A total of 39 states or territories have joined, for more information visit the NLC website.  

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 that the nurse practice according to the laws and regulations of the state in which the nurse practices nursing or provides care (i.e., the state in which the patient is located at the time care is rendered), either 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 the nurse who lives in a Non-compact State and practices in South Dakota still need to have a license to practice in South Dakota?

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 "the person’s 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.  Therefore, if the nurse’s home state license is Iowa, the nurse must meet the Iowa continuing education requirement for licensure renewal even if the nurse practices only in South Dakota.

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

A: The endorsement application process for licensure remains the same.  Note: A nurse changing primary state of residence from one Compact State to another Compact State may continue to practice under the former home state license and multi-state licensure privilege during processing of the nurse's licensure application in the new home state.  Upon receiving licensure in the new home state, the nursing license in the other (former state of residence) Compact State must be inactivated.

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

A: No, A temporary permit issued by a party state to an applicant for licensure shall not grant multistate licensure privileges.

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

A: The Compact authorizes the nurse licensing board of any Compact State (home or remote state) to investigate allegations of unsafe practice by any nurse practicing in that state.  Based upon the outcome of the investigation, a remote state licensing board may deny the nurse's privilege to practice in that state.  Only the nurse's home state licensing board may take action against the nurse's license.  However, Compact States will be allowed to share current significant investigative information with each other via the coordinated licensure information system, NURSYSPlease note: A licensee who is under a disciplinary order or agreement that limits practice or requires monitoring, as well as those licensees in alternative to discipline programs, 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: Access the National Council of State Boards of Nursing's (NCSBN) website at maintains a list of all states that have enacted the Compact as well as those with legislation or implementation pending.  In addition, NCSBN's website provides links to other state Boards of Nursing and their Nurse Practice Acts.