US, Australia, and New Zealand Establish Arrangement to Recognize Architect Credentials

January 4, 2017

A new arrangement enables NCARB certified architects to pursue work internationally.

Washington, DC—A new Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) between the architectural licensing authorities of the United States, Australia, and New Zealand enables U.S. architects to earn reciprocal licenses abroad, effective January 1.

Spearheaded by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the arrangement was signed by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) and the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB). To take advantage of the arrangement, eligible architects must hold a current NCARB Certificate—a credential that facilitates licensure across borders. 

To date, 29 U.S. licensing boards have accepted the arrangement: 

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Iowa
Kansas
Louisiana
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin 

“The arrangement is an exciting opportunity for architects seeking to expand their careers internationally,” said NCARB President Kristine Harding, NCARB, AIA. “NCARB Certificate holders have been able to pursue licensure in Canada and Mexico for some time, and this arrangement represents a significant step in providing additional benefits to these architects.” 

This decision is the result of over two years of research and negotiation by a special NCARB evaluation team. The group's analysis concluded that the path to licensure in Australia and New Zealand parallels U.S. requirements, with a strong emphasis on the three pillars of licensure: accredited education, structured experience, and comprehensive examination.

Inspired by a similar agreement with Canada, U.S. and foreign architects interested in earning a license in Australia or New Zealand must meet the following requirements:

Citizenship or lawful permanent residence in the home country

  • An active NCARB Certificate
  • A license to practice architecture from a U.S. jurisdiction that has signed the arrangement
  • 6,000 hours (approximately three years) of post-licensure experience in the home country
  • Validation of licensure in good standing from the home authority
  • Licensure in the home country not gained through foreign reciprocity

To learn more about earning a license to practice architecture abroad, visit www.ncarb.org/international.

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About NCARB

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.

NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration; and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States and Canada.

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