Multistate License Upgrade FAQs

Washington state active status registered nurses and licensed practical nurses whose primary state of residence is Washington can now apply to upgrade to a multistate license.

Wabon multistate

Washington state active status registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs), whose primary state of residence (PSOR) is Washington, can now apply to upgrade to a multistate license (MSL).

Want to upgrade to a multistate license?

  • If you have a Washington single-state license, your license number won't change when upgrading to an MSL. If you want a multistate license, you must apply for the MSL upgrade. This process is not the same as renewing your license.
  • MSL upgrade fee: $65.
  • You must meet all Uniform Multistate License Requirements.
  • You must complete an FBI background check as part of the application process. This process may take 2-3 weeks. (We will email you instructions after you apply. Please reference your current active Washington state license when completing the FBI background check process.)
  • You must still pay your annual renewal fee to maintain an active license in Washington state.

Frequently asked questions

How do I submit the MSL upgrade application?

You will need to complete an online application through the Department of Health’s Online Application Portal. Please be sure to add a new service within your Secure Access Washington (SAW) Account and select the “Online Application Portal” under the “Department of Health”. This is not the same service code used for online renewal. If you do not see an option to apply for an RN or LPN multistate license, please remove the service code and manually add again.

Can I apply for the MSL upgrade if I am not currently due for renewal?

Yes. You may apply online to upgrade your single-state Washington license to a Washington MSL if your license is currently in active status. You do not need to wait for your renewal cycle since these processes are separate. If your license is expired or inactive, you will need to reactivate your license first.

Can I apply for the MSL if I do not currently have a Washington state RN or LPN license?

Yes. You may apply for a Washington state MSL if your PSOR is in Washington state. However, you will be required to complete the full application process since you are applying for your first Washington state license. For more information about the requirements, please visit RN or LPN License | Washington State Board of Nursing

Can I apply for the MSL upgrade if my PSOR is in another compact state?

No. Your MSL must be in the same state as your PSOR. You may practice in Washington state under your MSL from another state and do not need to renew your Washington state RN or LPN license, unless you change your PSOR.

If moving to Washington state, please note that under the Interstate Commission of Nurse Licensure Compact Administrators rules section 403 (1), a nurse who changes his or her primary state of residence from one party state to another party state may continue to practice under the existing multistate license while the nurse's application is processed, and a multistate license is issued in the new primary state of residence.

Under section 402 (2) of the NLC rules, a multistate licensee who changes primary state of residence to another party state shall apply for a multistate license in the new party state within 60 days. Note, a change in primary state of residency does not include travelers living in a state temporarily and plan to return to another state of residence.

Have questions about applying for or upgrading to a multistate license?

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