NCSBN / Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC)

NCSBN stands for National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is an interstate agreement that allows nurses (RNs and LPNs/VNs) to practice with one multistate license in all states that are part of the NLC. The nurse is required to hold the compact license in their primary state of residence.

Kentucky is a member of the NLC. There is no additional fee or application for a compact license in Kentucky. If a Kentucky licensed nurse is eligible for a compact license and declares KY as their primary state of residence, it will automatically be multi-state.

To see if your Kentucky license has multi-state privileges, please validate your license on our website. ​

Licensure requirements are aligned in NLC states, so all nurses applying for a multistate license are required to meet those same standards, including submission to federal and state fingerprint-based criminal background checks.

Kentucky is a compact state; however, not all Kentucky licenses are multi-state, compact licenses. To validate if a KY license has multi-state privileges, conduct a search through the KBN online validation

To be eligible for a multi-state, compact license an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  1. Meets the requirements for licensure in the home state (state of residency);
  2. Has graduated from a board-approved education program; or b. Has graduated from an international education program (approved by the authorized accrediting body in the applicable country and verified by an independent credentials review agency);
  3. Has passed an English proficiency examination (applies to graduates of an international education program not taught in English or if English is not the individual’s native language);
  4. Has passed an NCLEX-RN® or NCLEX-PN® Examination or predecessor exam;
  5. Is eligible for or holds an active, unencumbered license (i.e., without active discipline);
  6. Has submitted to state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks;
  7. Has not been convicted or found guilty, or has entered into an agreed disposition, of a felony offense under applicable state or federal criminal law;
  8. Has no misdemeanor convictions related to the practice of nursing (determined on a case-by-case basis);
  9. Is not currently a participant in an alternative program;
  10. Is required to self-disclose current participation in an alternative program; and
  11. Has a valid United States Social Security number.

A nurse may hold a multistate license, issued by the home state/primary state of residence, in only one party state at a time.

For compact purposes, primary state of residence is not related to property ownership in a given state. It is about one’s legal residency status. Everyone has legal documents such as a driver’s license, voter registration, federal income tax return, military form no. 2058, vehicle registration, bank accounts, library card, etc.

Compact state nurses who have multiple residences may designate only one state as their primary state of residence, and should evidence that choice in the foregoing types of records. Verification of these types of records may be required.

If a nurse changes primary state of residence by moving between two (2) party states, the nurse must apply for licensure in the new home state, and the multistate license issued by the prior home state will be deactivated in accordance with applicable rules adopted by the Commission.

For additional information, review the NCSBN NLC Fact Sheet regarding Moving to Another State.

Currently, Kentucky is not a member of the APRN compact. The APRN Compact, adopted August 12, 2020, allows an advanced practice registered nurse to hold one multistate license with a privilege to practice in other compact states. The APRN Compact will be implemented when seven states have enacted the legislation.

Visit the NCSBN/NLC website for additional information, including information on the following topics:

Information regarding the military

Information for new graduates

Information for employers

Information for travel nurses

Frequently Asked Questions about the Nurse Licensure Compact