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Ralph Northam, Virginia governor, at a COVID-19 update, July 14.

Many Belvoir spouses will benefit from legislation signed by Ralph Northam, Virginia governor, July 16, that expedites the occupational and professional licensure process for military spouses, according to a release from the governor’s office.

Virginia’s existing expedited application process for military spouses requires licensing boards to determine if a spouse’s out-of-state license is equivalent within 20 days and issue an automatic one-year temporary license, affording the spouse the chance to begin finding employment immediately upon settling into their new communities. The legislation and process address the issue of portability of military spouses’ professional and occupational licenses.

“As an Army veteran and as a Virginian, I am committed to ensuring the Commonwealth continues to provide an environment where our veterans and military families can thrive,” Northam said. “Complex rules about license equivalence and the portability of certifications too often result in the unemployment or underemployment of military spouses. This legislation will enable the spouses of the men and women who serve our country to maintain their professional licenses and continue their careers in Virginia with a streamlined and simple process.”

The new rules improve Virginia’s expedited licensure process for the spouses of Service members assigned to installations and living in the commonwealth by:

• Expanding access and eligibility to spouses in all surrounding jurisdictions;

• Expanding access to the spouses of National Guardsmen who are active on federal orders to deploy overseas;

• Expanding eligibility to the spouses of recently transitioned Service members; and

• Granting the commonwealth’s licensing boards greater authority to determine a substantially equivalent license.

“This enhanced process will help our military spouses find employment opportunities quicker and without the stress of worrying if their credentials will carry over to Virginia,” said Carlos L. Hopkins, secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs. “Implementing innovative ways to support our military families is one of the reasons Virginia continually ranks as one of the best states for Service members, veterans and their families.”

Kari Sturim, Belvoir Spouses’ Club president, said this legislation lays the groundwork for future career opportunities while being stationed and/or living in Virginia.

“This is wonderful news for spouses who are teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers and for all professions represented in our spousal community needing professional licensure,” said Sturim. “We further encourage Belvoir Spouses’ Club members and fellow spouses who might benefit from this legislation to take advantage of the opportunity to pursue this expedited measure in the pursuit of achieving their career goals during their time here.”

According to the Department of Labor, more than 34 percent of all military spouses in the labor force require an occupational or professional license. The Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation and the Department of Health Professions administer the process of granting professional licenses for all professions. More info is available from https://bit.ly/Virginia_DPOR.