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How to Transfer an RN License to Another State

Each state issues its own registered nurse (RN) license. Just because you got your license from one state doesn’t mean that you cannot immediately begin working in another state. All you need to do is learn about transferring RN license before you apply and seek employment as an RN in a different state. Most states will recognize your license and do not require any additional tests – these are considered as reciprocal states. If they require you to undergo further tests, they’re called non-reciprocal states.

The good news is that all 50 states now practice reciprocity ever since NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) became standardized nationally. If your license is valid and you have clean disciplinary/legal record in your state, just apply and pay a fee to be granted another license in the state you desire. Of course, it would be your responsibility to study and familiarize yourself with the laws/regulations as well as the Nurse Practice Act (NPA) in your new state – this may be different from your current state. Typically, a copy of the NPA would be sent by the state to you together with the application materials when you apply.

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Take note that applying for reciprocity is not the same as applying for a license. You need to have an actual valid license in your current state before you apply for transfer to another state. Usually, they would issue a temporary permit right away pending investigation and background check; then, they will issue your permanent license.

To guide you specifically on the state you wish to transfer to, contact their local State Board of Nursing. Each state have different fees and requirements before they can transfer your license and they would be glad to accept you if you are a qualified RN. Here is the general process:

  • Submit your completed application with the fee and a 90-day work permit will be issued to you.
  • Provide your employer with this temporary permit and a copy of your current license from your original state.
  • Upon receipt of your new license in the new state where you applied for reciprocity, you need to provide a copy to your present employer. Non-receipt of license within 90 days would mean that you may not be eligible to work as an RN in the new state.