I've been a RN since August 2016 and I have step-down experience and also currently work ICU. I want to pursue travel nursing but I would like some advise on things to consider beforehand so I am best prepared for this endeavor. Specifically, how does getting and maintaining licensure work if I don't really have a permanent residence? I am just wondering about the logistics of traveling and hoping someone with experience in this field can give me some good info. Any input is appreciated, thanks!
Where is your tax home base, primary residence and license currently? If you do not have a primary residence, you do not qualify for travel nursing. I hope this answers the question.
You have to have an address of record, even a MailboxesUSA one to have a nursing license. Such an address might as well be a relative or friend though.
A large part of travel nursing compensation depends on a higher order of residence, termed a tax home by the IRS. This is residence that you can return to at any time and you pay to keep it. This can be as minimal as a shared apartment or house. In return, travel assignments are now working away from home and eligible for tax free housing, meals and incidentals, and travel expenses - all common benefits of (almost) every agency. These benefits mean a minimum of $10,000 more per year of bankable compensation less the cost of maintaining your tax home. So if your residence costs less than that annually, you are ahead!
Not so hard to do in area with low cost of living. There are some other considerations, such as establishing a home in a compact license state. Then you can practice in multiple states with no more license hassles - I think it is around 30 states right now.
The easiest transition to a tax home is to establish it in the area you live now. Anywhere else, I'd suggest consulting a travel tax specialist first as it can be tricky. TravelTax is the best known, with free phone advice. Such a tax person is worth having a professional relationship with as tax implications can also be tricky to do multiple state returns by yourself or a even ordinary tax preparers.
You don't need a tax home to be a traveler, but it usually works out better. Have fun either way! (It is fun)