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Washington State NLC Implementation Plan 

On April 21, 2023, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Substitute Senate Bill (SSB) 5499 Multistate Nurse Licensure Compact (PDF), the legislation that enacted the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), into law. Washington is the 40th jurisdiction to enact the NLC. 

The NLC increases access to nursing care while maintaining public protection at the state level. Under the NLC, nurses can practice in Washington state and other NLC states and territories, without getting additional licenses.

In addition to implementing the NLC, we've changed our name to Washington State Board of Nursing (WABON). 

NLC Implementation Phases

We implemented the NLC in Washington state in two phases. 

  • Phase 1: Allow nurses with an active RN or LPN multistate license (MSL) from another state to practice in Washington state. This began July 24, 2023.
  • Phase 2: Offer Washington state MSL. This began Jan. 31, 2024.  

Phase 1: Accept nurses with an active multistate license (MSL) from other states

As of July 24, 2023, nurses with an active MSL issued from another state can practice in Washington state. 

In accordance with the Interstate Commission of Nurse Licensure Compact Administrators (ICNLCA) rules:

  • A remote party state shall not issue a single-state license to a nurse who holds an MSL, Section 401(3).
  • A nurse who changes their primary state of residence (PSOR) from one party state to another party state may continue to practice under the existing MSL while the nurse’s application is processed and a MSL is issued in the new PSOR, Section 403(1). 

More Information

Phase 2: Issue Washington state multistate licenses

Starting Jan. 31, 2024, nurses whose primary state of residence (PSOR) is Washington can apply for a Washington MSL. 

This includes:

  • Nurses moving and changing their PSOR to Washington state.
  • Nurses who are getting their first Washington state license.
  • Nurses with a single-state Washington license.

More Information

Benefits of a WA multistate license:

  • Access to Care: Expands access to nursing services across the country, including underserved communities.
  • Telehealth: Provide telehealth services without having to get additional licenses.
  • Disaster & Pandemic Relief: Immediately cross state borders to provide vital services.
  • Military Families: Military spouses seamlessly continue working without having to get a new license.
  • Online Education: Reduces educators’ need for multiple licenses.
  • Cost Effective: Makes practicing across state borders affordable and convenient.
  • Flexibility: Choose a single or multistate license based on interests and eligibility.



For questions relating to Washington state’s implementation of the NLC, please email