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Primary State of Residence


Navigating the intricacies of nursing licensure involves understanding various legal aspects, and one fundamental element in this realm is the concept of primary state of residence (PSOR). The primary state of residence refers to the state in which an individual has established their permanent and principal home for legal purposes. It is usually decided based on factors like where a person votes, pays taxes, holds a driver's license, and has other connections showing a fixed place of living.

In this blog, we'll delve into the significance of PSOR, its relationship with the NLC, and how it influences the licensing landscape for nurses in the United States. Whether you're a seasoned nurse or a nursing student aspiring to understand the nuances of licensure, this exploration will shed light on the vital role that your primary state of residence plays in your nursing career.

The Nurse Licensure Compact and How it Works

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is an interstate agreement designed to streamline and simplify the licensing process for nurses, both registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs). Under the NLC, nurses can maintain a single license in their primary state of residence (often referred to as the home state) while freely practicing in other compact states, eliminating the need for additional licenses.

This arrangement not only broadens your scope of practice across compact states but also saves you time and expenses associated with acquiring multiple licenses and meeting diverse continuing education requirements. For instance, if you're a resident of Arizona, you can seamlessly accept a job offer in Colorado since both states are part of the compact. It's crucial to note that a recent regulation requires nurses moving from one compact state to another to apply for licensure by endorsement in their new location within 60 days. Be prepared to furnish evidence of residence in your new primary state of residence during this process.

This evidence may include, but is not limited to, a current:

(a) driver’s license with a home address;

(b) voter registration card with a home address;

(c) federal income tax return with a primary state of residence declaration;

(d) military form no. 2058 (state of legal residence certificate); or

(e) W2 form from the United States government or any bureau, division, or agency thereof, indicating residence.

If you reside in a non-compact state and wish to work in a compact state, you must become licensed in your new primary state of residence before practicing. You may be issued a multi-state license by proving legal residency and applying for licensure by endorsement while maintaining a single-state license in your former state of residence.

In the scenario where you're moving from a compact state to a non-compact state, you must inform the non-compact state board of nursing of the change of address and apply for licensure. This process will change your multi-state license to a single-state license unless you specifically apply for single-state licenses.

To learn more about changes in regulations related to the nurse licensure compact, visiting the official NLC website is a reliable source of information.

How to apply for licensure?

RNs and LPN/VNs residing in compact states that fulfill the standardized licensure requirements can apply for a multi-state license. The application process for this license must be carried out through the individual's board of nursing (BON), and the BON's website provides the necessary multi-state licensure applications, covering a range of types, including:

  • License by exam (new graduates seeking to take NCLEX)
  • License by endorsement (when you need a license in another state; "transferring your license")
  • Renewal
  • Upgrading or converting a single-state license into a multistate or compact license
  • License for graduates of an international nursing program

Which states are compact nursing states?

The following is a comprehensive list of compact nursing states, each contributing to the collaborative effort that simplifies licensing processes and enhances the mobility of nursing professionals.

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. Colorado 
  5. Delaware 
  6. Florida 
  7. Georgia
  8. Guam 
  9. Idaho 
  10. Indiana  
  11. Iowa 
  12. Kansas  
  13. Kentucky 
  14. Louisiana 
  15. Maine 
  16. Maryland 
  17. Mississippi 
  18. Missouri
  19. Montana 
  20. Nebraska 
  21. New Hampshire  
  22. New Jersey 
  23. New Mexico 
  24. North Carolina 
  25. North Dakota
  26. Ohio
  27. Oklahoma 
  28. Pennsylvania (Partial implementation) 
  29. Rhode Island (Partial implementation)
  30. South Carolina 
  31. South Dakota 
  32. Tennessee 
  33. Texas 
  34. Utah 
  35. Vermont
  36. Virginia 
  37. Virgin Islands (eNLC enacted, awaiting implementation) 
  38. Washington (Partial implementation)
  39. West Virginia (Registered Nurse and Practical Nurse) 
  40. Wisconsin  
  41. Wyoming 

The essence of the Primary State of Residence (PSOR) is pivotal in the realm of nursing licensure, standing as a fundamental pillar for legal and permanent residency considerations. The Nurse Licensure Compact serves as a catalyst, simplifying the licensing process for nurses. This innovative framework empowers nurses to practice seamlessly across various compact states while maintaining a consolidated license rooted in their PSOR, commonly known as their home state. Nurses are urged to embrace the profound significance of their state of residence, stay abreast of regulatory changes, and leverage the manifold benefits offered by the NLC to sculpt a thriving and fulfilling career in the dynamic healthcare landscape.

Whether you're a seasoned nurse seeking new challenges or a fresh graduate embarking on your nursing journey, Verovian Nursing Agency welcomes you. Our agency boasts an extensive array of roles available in both compact and non-compact states, dedicated to linking you with remarkable opportunities aligned with your professional aspirations.

Seize the chance to elevate your nursing career—connect with Verovian Nursing Agency today and embark on a journey toward fulfilling and rewarding roles that await your next career move!

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