An International CPA Candidate's Guide

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Did you know that the title of US CPA is sought worldwide?

It's true-over 8500 international candidates sat for the exam in 2014 alone. You don't have to live in the continental US to join the coveted club, but you do have to adhere to some specific rules and regulations to become licensed. Here's a high-level look at becoming a CPA when you're not in the US.

International Eligibility

Think you want to sit for the exam outside the US? Here are some things to consider before applying.

  • Meeting BOA Requirements Just like in the US, the international Administration of the exam uses the same Boards of Accountancy (BOA) licensure process. Currently, 54 of the 55 US BOA jurisdictions allow international candidates (sorry applicants in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands). As with everything concerning BOAs, residency and eligibility requirements vary dramatically, with states such as Illinois and Montana forgoing a residency requirement. This is big decision, so read up and choose wisely! You can compare state requirements with the AICPA’s handy chart here.
  • Confirming Citizenship If you're on a short-term tourist or transit visa, you won't be eligible to take the exam outside of the US, but citizens, permanent residents and even long-term residents are in the clear. Read up on NASBA's Candidate Bulletin for more information.
  • Speaking the Language Because the title of CPA is granted by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), candidates must be able to take the exam in English. It is not available in any other language, and the AICPA has not currently announced any plans to change that.

International Testing

The good news about taking the exam abroad is that you'll follow the same general process you would if you were testing in the US.

The exam has the same content and structure anywhere in the world that you take it!

  • Testing Locations In August 2011, the first Prometric testing centers to offer the exam opened in Bahrain, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates (a testing center in Brazil was added in 2012). To see the eligibility requirements for each country, visit NASBA's page on the international exam.
  • Informed Consent Agreement The primary difference for international exam candidates is the addition of an informed consent agreement before testing. Test-takers outside the US must make a commitment to seek CPA licensure upon passing the exam and agree to maintain their status as licensees. You can read the full text of the agreement here.
  • Fees Regardless of which BOA you use to establish exam eligibility, you’ll have to pay international testing fees in addition to domestic testing fees. Currently, the international fees are:
    Aud$307.97
    Bec$327.49
    Far$307.97
    Reg$327.49

Applying For IQEX

International Qualification Examination (IQEX) was designed to help accounting professionals from other countries become licensed as US CPAs. It's available to people in countries that have professional accountancy groups that hold mutual recognition agreements with the US accounting profession.

To learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply to take the IQEX, visit NASBA's IQEX info center.

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