Will my license move with me?


Ok, so I am a military dependant, but I thought maybe someone here could help me...I'm in nursing school right now and next year (if all goes well) will have graduated and be getting ready to take my NCLEX. How will it work out when my husband and I PCS. Do I have to take another state exam, how long does it take to become licensed in another state, is there any "universal" license available ( I know with an additional test you can get this with a teaching license), can i practice with my license if we PCS overseas? If there is any information anyone could give me I'd so greatly appriciate it!!!



Specializes in med surg, homecare. Has 19 years experience. 8 Posts

Good question, I know the RN license travels throughout the fifty states. If you are overseas don't you have to apply for a greencard or something? I worked with a nurse from England, she came to the US and practiced here but I'm not sure about the process. Check with your state lisence board. Your nursing school should have all the information... that's where I learned our lisence travels with us throughout the USA. Kudos to the soldier too!


Jolie, BSN

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health. Has 36 years experience. 6,375 Posts

I'd like to clarify one point from the above post.

If you work in military and/or VA hospitals (in the U.S. or overseas), a license from any U.S. state or territory will be accepted.

If you work in the civilian world, you will need a license issued or accepted by the state in which you work. Most states require in-state licensure for RN practice. Some states participate in an inter-state compact, allowing nurses to work on a "travel" or "guest" basis, while maintaining their home in their own state.

As far as obtaining your initial license, you must graduate, pass NCLEX and meet the requirements set forth by the state in which you wish to be licensed. That may include a background check and fingerprinting. These requirements vary somewhat from state to state. Once you have an initial license, you will not need to repeat NCLEX. If you need a license in another state, you will apply to be licensed by endorsement, meaning that you ask that state to accept your credentials.

Confused? That's understandable.

Try this website:https://www.ncsbn.org/158.htm


14,633 Posts

I don't know what the previous poster means by "the RN license travels throughout the fifty states." In the US, each state licenses nurses within its own borders. You cannot move to another state and use your "old" license. You can apply for a license in the new state (without having to retake the NCLEX) based on your having a license in the old state, which is referred to as "endorsement," but you do have to apply for a new license in that state. There is no such thing (in the US) as a "universal" license.

A number of states belong to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which means that they have agreed to recognize each other's nursing licenses for working purposes -- if you live in one "compact state" and work in another "compact state" you can use the license from your home state to work in the other state, as long as you continue to live in your home state. If you move to another state, you have to apply for a license in your new state. The NLC mostly affects traveling nurses and people who live near state borders, and there's a lot of confusion about exactly how the NLC works.

The federal government is the one exception to this. You can work for the federal government (military hospitals, VAs, any type of federal employment) in any location with a valid nursing license from any state; doesn't have to be the state in which the facility is located.

Getting licensed in another state is usually not a big deal -- just a matter of submitting the paperwork and whatever outrageous fee the new state BON charges, and waiting. Some BONs move v. quickly, some take forever.

Working overseas is much more complicated. There is lots of information posted elsewhere on this site about the details for different countries. I don't know for sure (someone please correct me if I'm wrong! :)), but I assume that you could work in US military facilities abroad with a US license from any state, same as within the US. Otherwise, you would have to meet the licensure requirements for whichever country you were in, plus get whatever kind of legal authorization is required to be able to work.



100 Posts

Thank you so much! I'm trying to get a better idea of what the situation will be when we leave here after I graduate, we'll have about a year and a half before my husband could come up on orders, he's at the duty station on a three year comittment, so my plan is to work as long as I can here to get the experience before we leave, hopefully the job market wil pick up before then :) thanks everyone for ur input!

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