International candidates are eligible to qualify as U.S. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) as long as they meet Board of Accountancy eligibility requirements in one of 54 U.S jurisdictions - the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. (The 55th jurisdiction, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, is not yet ready to accept CPA applicants).
Candidates must be able to take the CPA Examination in English. (It is not available in any other language).
Qualifying through a board of accountancy is the ONLY route to the CPA designation. There is NO central professional body in the U.S. through which candidates may qualify as CPAs.
Applying for the Uniform CPA Examination
The application process is basically the same for U.S. and international candidates alike. Prospective candidates must select the U.S. jurisdiction to which they will apply, contact the Board of Accountancy (or its agent) in that jurisdiction to obtain application materials, submit completed applications and required fees as instructed, and once deemed qualified, schedule the examination. Any special requirements that international applicants must meet (such as arranging for an evaluation of their educational credentials by an agency approved by the board) are explained in accountancy board application instructions.
Prospective candidates who are undecided about the jurisdiction to which they should apply may wish to review the requirements of several Boards of Accountancy before making their decisions. Contact information for all boards is available at www.nasba.org.
Testing in International Locations
As of August 1, 2011, eligible candidates have the opportunity to take the CPA Examination at Prometric test centers in Bahrain, Kuwait, Japan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Brazil, starting February 2012 . In order to qualify to take the CPA Examination outside the U.S., candidates will have to first establish their eligibility through application to a state board participating in the International CPA Examination Administration Program.
For specific instructions on how to apply to take the CPA Examination, please visit the CPA Exam section of the NASBA website.
Common questions regarding the International CPA Examination Administration Program are answered in the International CPA Exam FAQs.
Applying for the U.S. CPA International Qualification Examination (IQEX)
The purpose of the International Qualification Examination (IQEX Exam) is to facilitate the U.S. CPA qualification process for those accounting professionals from other countries whose professional bodies have entered into mutual recognition agreements with the U.S. accounting profession. It also provides reasonable assurance to boards of accountancy that those who pass the examination possess the level of technical knowledge and skills necessary for licensure to protect the public interest.
Since 2012, mutual recognition agreements were in effect with the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA), the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA), the Instituto Mexicano De Contadores Públicos (IMCP) in Mexico, New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, and Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI). This was the first administration to include candidates from HKICPA.
The intent of the IQEX Exam is to test the differences between the Federal Taxation Business Laws and Ethics practices of the United States and the relevant accounting and auditing practices of other countries. The assumption is that accounting professionals from other countries have already demonstrated competence in all of the areas that are identical in both the candidate’s home country and the United States.
- Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA)
- Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA)
- Instituto Mexicano De Contadores Publicos (IMCP)
- New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA)
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI)
The International Topics: Frequently Asked Questions may address many of your questions.
Candidates in Japan and the Middle East may find helpful information by viewing the most recent webinars.
Japanese Candidate Webinar (April 2016)
Middle Eastern Candidate Webinar (April 2016)
Detailed information about eligibility requirements and the IQEX Exam application materials are available from NASBA at www.nasba.org.
In November 2012, the IQEX Exam transitioned to a new format that uses an administration of the Uniform CPA Examination's Regulation section. As part of the transition, the IQEX Exam no longer has a dedicated content specification outline (CSO) and instead assumes the content outlined in the Regulation section of the Uniform CPA Examination CSOs. For more information, please read the November 2012 IQEX Exam Transition Information announcement.