Kathleen Gaines, MSN, RN, BA, CBC
Kathleen Gaines, MSN, RN, BA, CBC
September 3, 2019 - 2 min read

Travel Nursing RN State Licensing Resource

Obtaining a nursing license, whether initial or through endorsement can be confusing and overwhelming, especially since each state has its own set of individual requirements and timeframes.

With the expansion of the Enhanced Nursing Compact License (eNLC), working in multiple states or accepting travel nursing assignments quickly is much easier. Nurses have the ability to obtain licensure in their state of residence, and also work in an additional 31 states with more pending legislation. 

Pro tip: Timeframes for license processing can change without notice. It’s best to apply as soon as possible to ensure your license is issued in plenty of time.

There are two different types of temporary nursing licenses.

The first is a traditional temporary license. These are issued in some states, but only if an individual has a confirmed job offer and needs to start before a permanent license is issued. These licenses are valid for roughly one year. To obtain a temporary license there are additional fees and required paperwork. Temporary licenses can be a good option for travel nurses if they plan on working in a state for a brief period of time and not returning. A temporary license will simply expire, while a permanent license requires renewal fees. 

The second type is a walkthrough temporary license and there are only a few states that issue this type of license. The state boards of nursing issue these licenses same-day, sometimes as quickly as an hour. Walkthrough temporary licenses are typically valid between 30 days and six months, depending on the issuing state. 

It’s important to discuss with your travel nurse recruiter the different licensing options and which are the best for your current travel nurse assignment. 

RNs can earn up to $2,300 a week as a travel nurse. Speak to a recruiter today!

StatePermanent License TurnaroundTemporary License TurnaroundCompactWalkthroughLicense by EndorsementLiveScan or fingerprint card required
AlabamaProcessed once all documents are received1 weekPending (Jan. 2020)NoYesNo
Alaska10 business daysVaries based on individualNoNoYesYes
Arizona1-2 months48 hours for walk-in / 30 days by mailYesYesNoYes
Arkansas3-5 business days4 weeksYesNoNoYes
California10-12 weeks3-4 weeksNoNoYesYes
Colorado6 weeks2-4 weeksYesNoNoYes
Connecticut5-7 days once all documents are received3 weeksNoNoYesFingerprint card required
Delaware4-6 weeks2-4 weeks YesNoNoFingerprint card required
District of Columbia3 weeks3 weeksNoNoYesYes
Florida30 daysNo temporary licenseYesNoNoYes
Georgia15 business daysNo temporary licenseYesNoNoYes
Hawaii15-20 business daysSame day to 48 hoursNoNoYesNo
IdahoProcessed once all documents are received3-5 daysYesNoNoYes
Illinois4-6 weeks2-4 weeksNoYesYesYes
Indiana2-4 weeks1 weekPending (Jan. 2020)NoYesYes
Iowa5-10 business days, but up to 8 weeks during high volumesSame as permanent license with low volumes, otherwise 1-2 weeksYessNoNoYes
Kansas6-8 weeks2 weeksYesNoNoYes
Kentucky2 weeks2-3 weeksYesNoNoYes
Louisiana4-6 weeksSame day for walk-inYesYesNoYes
Maine1-2 weeks2 weeksYesNoNoYes
Maryland4-6 weeks2-3 weeksYesNoNoYes
Massachusetts4-6 weeksNo temporary permitPendingNoYesNo
Michigan4-6 weeksNo temporary permitNoNoYesYes
MinnesotaVaries5 daysNoNoYesFingerprint card required
Mississippi7-15 business days5-7 daysYesNoNoYes
Missouri10-12 business days2 weeksYesYesNoYes
Montana30-60 days2 weeksYesNoNoFingerprint card required
Nebraska4-5 weeks2-3 weeksYesNoNoFingerprint card required
Nevada2-4 weeks2-3 weeksNoNoYesYes
New Hampshire4-6 weeks4-6 weeksYesNoNoYes
New JerseyProcessed once all documents are receivedNo temporary permitPendingNoYesYes
New MexicoProcessed once all documents are received3 weeksYesNoNoYes
New YorkProcessed once all documents are receivedNo temporary permitNoNoYesNo
North Carolina6-8 weeks2 weeksYesNoNoYes
North Dakota7-10 business days1-2 weeksYesNoNoYes
Ohio4-6 weeks2 weeksNoNoYesYes
OklahomaVaries3 weeksYesNoNoYes
Oregon3-6 weeksNo temporary permitNoNoYesFingerprint card required
Pennsylvania8-10 weeks5 weeksPendingNoYesFingerprint card required
Rhode Island1 week4 weeksNoNoNoFingerprint card required
South Carolina10-14 business daysSame day or up to 2 weeksYesYesNoYes
South Dakota4-6 weeks1-2 weeksYesYesNoFingerprint card required from Board of Nursing
Tennessee6 weeks4-6 weeksYesNoNoYes
Texas2 weeks2-3 weeksYesNoNoYes
Utah2-4 weeksNo temporary permitYesNoNoYes
Vermont3-5 business daysSame dayNoNoYesFingerprint card required
Virginia4-6 weeks3 weeksYesNoNoYes
Washington3 weeks3 weeksNoNoYesFingerprint card required
West Virginia7-10 business days2-3 weeksYesNoNoYes
Wisconsin10-15 business days2-4 weeksYesNoNoYes
WyomingUp to 90 days2-3 weeksYesNoNoFingerprint card required

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