NMLS-Approved Pre-License – Temporary Authority to Operate

A federally-registered mortgage loan originator (MLO) may seek state licensure, or a state-licensed MLO may seek licensure in another state. In these scenarios, a qualified MLO does not need to pass the SAFE MLO test* or meet pre-licensure education requirements to obtain Temporary Authority to Operate.

A new provision under the SAFE Act of 2008, known as Temporary Authority to Operate, was signed into law and took effect in November 2019. This allows the qualified MLO 120 days to permit MLOs to originate loans. Still, the MLO needs to complete federal and state education requirements within 120 days of their Temporary Authority start date.

Further details and eligibility for Temporary Authority and SMART Temporary Authority Deadlines are available on the NMLS website.

*It depends upon when the MLO originally passed the National Exam. If they’ve been licensed for a long time, it’s possible that they took the original exam back when every state had its own separate component exams. If they didn’t then take the standalone UST exam during the limited window of time it was offered, they would need to take the National exam with UST to get licensed in any state where they didn’t take and pass the original state component.

Articles in this section