Real Estate License Reciprocity and Portability

Written by: Katie Begley

    You just got going with your exciting new real estate career and are connecting with clients, building a strong professional reputation, and networking with others in the real estate industry. Everything that will set you up for a successful career!

    Suddenly a change in plans means that you are planning your own move to another state. You are now the home buyer, looking for the best area to live in your new city. You worry that your path as a real estate agent has to come to a screeching halt. Don’t worry–the steps to transfer your real estate license to your new state are likely easier than you think.


    Do Real Estate Licenses Transfer to Other States?

    Yes, real estate licenses transfer to other states but you may still be required to complete paperwork, pass a real estate exam, or even retake real estate courses. The most important thing to learn is what the process is like in your new state.

    The two main options include:

    Reciprocity: A state allows a real estate licensee from another state to get a license in their new state as long as they meet all state requirements.

    Portability: A state allows a real estate licensee from another state to conduct business in their state without being licensed in that state. There can be limitations on the specific circumstances when license portability is allowed. These are denoted by the terms cooperative state, physical location state, and turf state.

    Because real estate licenses are given by each state, the steps to get a license when you move are determined by your new home state. Real estate license reciprocity and portability regulations can shorten or even eliminate some licensing requirements.


    For information about state real estate license requirements, StateRequirement recommends: Real Estate Licensing Simplified


    Real Estate License Reciprocity and Portability Guide

    Find out the reciprocity and portability options available in your state. You should look for the requirements in the state where you want to get a license, not the state where you currently hold a license. 

    Can I transfer my real estate license to another state? This real estate license reciprocity chart can give you all of the information you need for your state and guide you to additional resources when you are ready to apply.

    Reciprocity: States allow licensees from another state to apply for a license in their state with an expedited process.

    Portability: States allow licensees from another state to conduct business in their state with their out-of-state license following certain provisions.


    State Has Full, Partial, or Conditional Reciprocity With: Portability Category References
    Alabama All states Cooperative Alabama Real Estate Commission
    Alaska All states Physical Location Alaska Real Estate Commission
    Arizona No reciprocity Cooperative State of Arizona Dept. of Real Estate
    Arkansas Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Washington, West Virginia Physical Location Arkansas Real Estate Commission
    California No reciprocity Physical Location California Department of Real Estate
    Colorado All states Cooperative Colorado Dept. of Regulatory Agencies
    Connecticut Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island Cooperative Connecticut State Dept. of Consumer Protection
    Delaware All states Physical Location Delaware Division of Professional Regulation
    Florida Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Nebraska, Rhode Island Physical Location Florida Dept. of Business & Professional Regulation
    Georgia All states Cooperative Georgia Real Estate Commission & Appraisers Board
    Hawaii No reciprocity Physical Location Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
    Idaho No reciprocity Physical Location Idaho Real Estate Commission
    Illinois Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin,  Physical Location Illinois Dept. of Financial & Professional Regulation
    Indiana No reciprocity Cooperative Indiana Real Estate Commission
    Iowa Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota Physical Location Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau
    Kansas No reciprocity Cooperative Kansas Real Estate Commission
    Kentucky All states Cooperative Kentucky Real Estate Commission
    Louisiana Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania Cooperative Louisiana Real Estate Commission
    Maine All states Physical Location State of Maine Professional & Financial Regulation
    Maryland Pennsylvania, Oklahoma Cooperative Maryland Dept. of Labor
    Massachusetts Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, West Virginia, Oklahoma, New York, Maine, New Hampshire Cooperative Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure
    Michigan No reciprocity Physical Location Michigan Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
    Minnesota Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin Physical Location Minnesota Dept. of Commerce
    Mississippi All states Cooperative Mississippi Real Estate Commission
    Missouri No reciprocity Cooperative Missouri Real Estate Commission
    Montana No reciprocity Physical Location Montana Board of Realty Regulation
    Nebraska No reciprocity Turf State Nebraska Real Estate Commission
    Nevada Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia; Broker-only: California, Connecticut, Washington DC, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia Cooperative State of Nevada Dept. of Business and Industry, Real Estate Division
    New Hampshire Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Georgia Cooperative New Hampshire Real Estate Commission
    New Jersey No reciprocity Turf State State of New Jersey Dept. of Banking & Insurance
    New Mexico Massachusetts, Louisiana, Georgia Turf State New Mexico Real Estate Commission
    New York Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, West Virginia Physical Location New York State Dept. of State, Division of Licensing Services
    North Carolina No Reciprocity Cooperative North Carolina Real Estate Commission
    North Dakota Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota Cooperative North Dakota Real Estate Commission
    Ohio Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Wyoming Cooperative Ohio Dept. of Commerce
    Oklahoma Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia Cooperative Oklahoma Real Estate Commission
    Oregon Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, South Dakota Cooperative Oregon Real Estate Agency
    Pennsylvania Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York Turf State Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission
    Rhode Island Connecticut, Massachusetts Cooperative State of Rhode Island Dept. of Business Regulation, Division of Commercial Licensing
    South Carolina Georgia Cooperative South Carolina Real Estate Commission
    South Dakota No reciprocity Cooperative South Dakota Dept. of Labor & Regulation
    Tennessee No reciprocity Cooperative Tennessee Dept. of Commerce & Insurance
    Texas No reciprocity Cooperative Texas Real Estate Commission
    Utah Georgia, Mississippi Cooperative Utah Dept. of Commerce, Division of Real Estate
    Vermont No reciprocity Physical Location Vermont Office of Professional Regulation
    Virginia All states Physical Location Virginia Dept. of Professional and Occupational Regulation
    Washington No reciprocity Cooperative Washington State Dept. of Licensing
    West Virginia All states Physical Location West Virginia Real Estate Commission
    Wisconsin Illinois, Indiana Physical Location State of Wisconsin Dept. of Safety and Professional Services
    Wyoming No reciprocity Cooperative Wyoming Real Estate Commission


    How to Transfer a Real Estate License

    If your new state offers reciprocity, they will provide the steps to transfer your real estate license through the reciprocity option as well as the documentation required. The most common supplemental materials that regulatory authorities ask for include:

    • A copy of your current real estate license
    • A notarized or official record of your real estate license history in all states where you have held a license
    • Passing the state portion of the real estate license exam
    • Course completion certificates from your initial real estate pre-licensing education


    To apply for reciprocity, complete each step of your state’s reciprocal application process, such as the below step-by-step guide.

    Step 1: Research your new state’s requirements. These requirements will dictate your follow-on steps, which often include the ones listed below.

    Step 2: Complete a reciprocal license application. You will need to provide information such as your full legal name, social security number, and residency information.

    Step 3: Submit all required supplemental documentation. Some states use an online portal, while others rely on mail-in or email applications.

    Step 4: Pay applicable fees. 

    Step 5: Take the state-specific portion of your real estate license exam, if required by your new state. Make sure that your scores are reported to your new state’s licensing authority.

    Step 6: Receive your reciprocal license in your new state and get to work as a real estate agent!


    Some states do not have standing reciprocal agreements with other states but do have a waiver application process. If your current real estate education and license credentials satisfy their state requirements, the state authority may agree to waive certain requirements for you to apply for a new license.

    You may also see the term “equivalent real estate license” or “license recognition.” In these cases, you can get a real estate license in your new state without retaking all of your pre-licensing education. You may need to take an abbreviated course, provide additional references, or pass an exam instead.


    Can I have a Real Estate License in Two States?

    Yes, you can use the states’ reciprocity agreement to do business in additional states and get a real estate license. Some agents choose to pursue licenses in multiple states, while others opt to specialize in their local area. In cities that span two states, such as Washington, DC (Maryland and Virginia) and Kansas City (Kansas and Missouri), it is more common for real estate agents to be licensed and do business in both states.

    Real estate is a customizable career, offering options to real estate agents who want to build their business and client list.


    Getting a Real Estate License in a State without Reciprocity

    Most states offer a version of reciprocity or an abbreviated application process for those with a valid real estate license from another state. A few states, however, require all new licensees to pass their state real estate exam and complete their real estate pre-licensing education. For example, Texas real estate license reciprocity is not offered. Instead, all applicants “must satisfy all current Texas licensing requirements,” according to the Texas Real Estate Commission

    Whether you just need to take the state portion of the real estate exam or complete all licensing steps, you likely already have a lot of the required knowledge to be an outstanding agent in your new state. It can be helpful to spend additional time preparing for the state portion of the real estate exam, however, since local and state laws can vary.

    Recommended Course

    For real estate exam prep, StateRequirement recommends: The CE Shop

    If your state does require that you retake certain courses or you need to take additional courses, you can use your practical experience to get the most from your required classes. You will be able to ask in-depth questions from experienced instructors and apply your new knowledge to your real estate career right away.

    Recommended Course

    For real estate pre-licensing education, StateRequirement recommends: The CE Shop


    What Does Reciprocity Mean in Real Estate?

    Reciprocity applies to those currently holding a real estate license in one state who want to get a new real estate license from another state. Reciprocal states will recognize the licenses granted by another state. The license holder may need to take some additional steps to get licensed, such as filing paperwork, paying state fees, or taking a state exam. In a few cases, they need to take shortened versions of the state real estate courses.

    Not all states offer reciprocity. Among the states that do, most offer partial reciprocity or only offer reciprocity to licensees from certain states. A few do have reciprocity agreements with all states. These are often states that are nearby or states that have similar licensing requirements.


    Military spouses may qualify for a temporary license in some states that offer reciprocity or for a fast-tracked reciprocity application. Check with your new state to see if these relief measures for military spouses applies to your situation.

    Reciprocity is most often pursued by those moving to a new state permanently. For example, Realtor Joe Smith lives in the Washington D.C. metro area. He is considering a move from Bethesda, Maryland to nearby Fairfax, Virginia. As a real estate agent, he is worried that he will need to complete extensive coursework to get his license in his new home state of Virginia.

    Virginia offers reciprocity with all states. All Joe needs to do to become a licensed real estate agent in his new home state is pass the state portion of the Virginia real estate license exam, provide course completion certificates documenting his 60 hours in his “Principles of Real Estate” course that he took to get his license in Maryland, and provide a letter certifying his Maryland license.


    What Is Real Estate License Portability?

    For real estate agents interested in representing a client on one transaction in another state, getting a new state license may not make sense. It can be costly and take time, even in those states that do offer reciprocity. Another option is to use state’s license portability procedures.

    Portability allows real estate agents licensed in one state to conduct business in another state, as long as they follow specific provisions. The three types of portability setups are:

    Cooperative: The state allows out-of-state licensed real estate agents to represent a client in the state. Out-of-state agents usually need to have a written agreement with an agent licensed in that state.

    Physical Location: The state allows out-of-state licensed real estate agents to represent a client in their state as long as they remain remote and do not physically come to the state to conduct the transaction.

    Turf State: The state does not allow out-of-state licensed real estate agents to represent any clients in their state. Real estate agents can pursue a state license or refer clients to agents licensed in that state.

    The state real estate regulatory authority determines which type of portability is allowed in their state. Make sure that you research the real estate license requirements for the state where you would like to do business, not just the state where you currently hold a license.


    Some states have different regulations for commercial real estate and residential real estate. If you are working with clients to buy or sell commercial property, check the portability regulations for your specific situation.

    Portability is a great way for experienced agents to continue working with clients even when they move to another state. In our example, Real Estate Agent Joe Smith is now licensed in Virginia. He has worked with a couple to buy and sell multiple homes as he grew his business. They decide to move to nearby North Carolina, which does not have reciprocity with any state. Joe still wants to live and work in Virginia, but would also like to help his long-time clients find their next home. Under the portability regulations in North Carolina, Joe is able to work with his clients as long as he has a written agreement with a real estate agent licensed in North Carolina.


    How to Transfer Your Real Estate License to Another State

    Becoming a successful real estate agent takes time and skill. As your real estate business grows, you may find additional opportunities in nearby states or even across the country. Your know-how of real estate license reciprocity and portability regulations will ensure that you are ready to take the next step in your real estate career.

    Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources and was most recently updated on March 2021.

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