Universal License Recognition Signed into Law

Universal License Recognition Signed into Law

March 9, 2023

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Universal Licensing Recognition Will Fill In-Demand Jobs, Cut Consumer Costs 

RICHMOND – Governor Glenn Youngkin has signed into law legislation streamlining and reducing barriers for skilled professionals licensed in other states to enter Virginia’s workforce and fill critical in-demand jobs. The new measure allows the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) to create Universal Licensing Recognition (ULR) for 85 occupations including multiple personal care occupations, construction related trades such as plumbers and electricians, as well as waterworks operators responsible for the safe supply of municipal drinking water.  

“For the past year, DPOR has been committed to simplifying and speeding-up the licensing process and Universal License Recognition significantly advances this effort. We want to make clear to anyone considering moving to the Commonwealth, if you are licensed in one of these 85 occupations and you meet the simple minimum requirements, you are free to engage in your chosen occupation,” said DPOR Director Demetrios Melis. 

Universal Licensing Recognition will make it easier for qualified out-of-state applicants already holding a valid license in another state to more quickly get to work in Virginia while still ensuring the public’s safety. In the past, out-of-state applicants trying to obtain a license in Virginia were often required to take duplicate training and testing or have their experience extensively reviewed by regulatory boards, delaying, or outright stopping their ability to get to work. 

“Competent and experienced skilled professionals should not have to spend months repeating training or retaking tests just to prove they can do a job they have already been doing safely in another state,” said Melis. “Universal License Recognition provides an expedited pathway for getting needed workers back into Virginia’s workforce and is a win-win for businesses, workers and ultimately consumers who benefit from reduced costs of goods and services.” 

“Labor shortages have been a persistent challenge for the residential construction industry and Virginians have felt the affects of that labor scarcity through limited housing supply, rising costs, and delayed closings.  This legislation will have a positive impact on both the residential construction industry and the many Virginians who have struggled to find housing that aligns with their budget,” said Andrew Clark, Vice President of Government Relations for the Virginia Home Builders Association of Virginia. 

Under the new measure, DPOR licensing boards will recognize out-of-state licenses for people: 1) who have held an equivalent license in another state for at least three years, 2) are in good standing in all states where they were licensed, 3) were required to pass a competency exam and met training standards to obtain their original state license, and 4) pay all applicable Virginia fees. 

ULR will apply to all individual licenses regulated by DPOR except for architects, professional engineers, land surveyors, and landscape architects. ULR does not recognize other states’ occupational licenses automatically. Workers licensed in others states who move to Virginia still must apply for a license through the appropriate DPOR board before working in the Commonwealth. 

ULR becomes law July 1, 2023. DPOR is currently working on implementing the changes ULR will require in licensing processes. Applicants interested in applying for their Virginia license through ULR should contact the appropriate DPOR regulatory board for additional information. Visit www.dpor.virginia.gov for more information.

DPOR is an executive branch agency overseeing 18 regulatory boards and programs. DPOR issues professional licenses, certificates or registration in the least intrusive, least burdensome and most efficient way contributing to a strong economy, competent workforce, and protected public.