A Complete Guide: How to Get a Washington Compact Nursing License

Opportunity is growing for nurses living in Washington state! 

Washington officially joined the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) in 2023. However, the process of fully implementing this new status took several months. Throughout the second half of 2023, Washington's compact status was considered "partially implemented."

In July 2023, nurses who held an unencumbered compact license that lived outside of Washington could begin practicing there, either in-person or virtually. But Washington nurses had to wait another six months before they could apply for their multistate (MSL).

How many compact nursing states are there?

The majority of the country (over 80 percent) is part of this multi-state agreement that allows nurses to use a single license to practice in other compact states.

As of January 2024, 41 states are considered compact nursing states/territories, meaning they have either full implementation or partial implementation.

Which states joined the NLC in 2023?

Four states joined the Nurse Licensure Compact in 2023. Curious about those states and what their current status is? Take a look at the 2023 compact recap to see the status of each of these states

 📌 Want to keep track of the compact nursing states?  Download the map from Nursecompact.com

How do I apply for my Washington MSL?

Washington nurses that currently hold a single-state license can apply for their multistate license on or after January 31, 2024 at 3pm. This also applies to nurses who are moving to Washington state. Nurses will do this online via the Secure Access Washington (SAW) account, which requires each nurse to create a username and password. 

How long will it take for my Washington MSL application to be approved?

According to the Washington Board of Nursing (WABON), reviewing the MSL applications can take up to two or three weeks. 

FBI background check

The Washington Board of Nursing confirmed that Washington LPNs and RNs who want to convert their single-state license to a multi-state license will need to complete an FBI background check using LiveScan or on fingerprints obtained from a fingerprinting facility. as part of their compact application. Additional instructions will be emailed once the application is submitted. 

Looking for a travel nursing contract?
Blog CTA_General, Travel, Client (2)-1

Will there be a fee to convert my single state Washington nursing license to a compact license?

Yes. Washington nurses will be required to pay a one-time conversion fee of $65.

The compact conversion fee is separate from nurses' annual renewal fees. Washington nurses will still be required to pay their annual renewal fee to keep their active license in Washington state:

  • RN annual licensure renewal fee: $138
  • LPN annual licensure renewal fee: $93

Can I check the status of my MSL application

Yes! After January 31, 2024, Washington nurses can check the status of their compact nursing license by checking Nursys.

Washington Board of Nursing (WABON) Contact Info

If you have additional questions about obtaining a compact nursing license in Washington or in another state, please contact your Board of Nursing.

Blog CTA_General, Travel, Client (3)


Contact Us

LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.