If you are licensed as an architect outside of the United States or Canada, you may be able to pursue an NCARB Certificate by verifying your license and completing two programs required for licensure in the United States: the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) and the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). After earning a Certificate, you can use your Certificate to apply for a license in a U.S. jurisdiction.

Qualifying for the Foreign Architect Path

To be eligible for this path, your foreign architecture license must meet certain requirements.

  1. Your license must be currently active, and remain active until you receive your NCARB Certificate
  2. Your license must allow unlimited practice—the design of all types and sizes of buildings
  3. Your country must have a system for tracking disciplinary action for architects
  4. You must have no record of disciplinary action

Other requirements are fully documented in the Certification Guidelines.

Applying for the Foreign Architect Path

Ready to get NCARB certified through the Foreign Architect Path? First, you will need an active NCARB Record and make sure you list your foreign registration and your foreign education in your Record. When you enter your foreign registration information, you should see a box prompting you to indicate interest in the Foreign Architect Path; check that box to indicate your interest. If you need help with this step, contact our customer service team.

Some jurisdictions do not accept NCARB Certificates earned through this path. To find out if your desired jurisdiction accepts a Certificate earned through the Foreign Architect Path, visit the Licensing Requirements Tool page and contact your board.

Submitting Paperwork

Once you’ve indicated your interest, you’ll need to submit official paperwork verifying your education and registration before you are accepted into the Foreign Architect Path.

  • Foreign Registration: Complete Part A of the Credential Verification Form, used to verify the architecture license issued by your country. Then, send the form to the registration/license/credentialing authority of your foreign architecture license.  They must complete Part B, and they must submit the final form to NCARB.  (Note: do NOT send the CVF Form to your university.)
  • University Transcripts: Have your university send your transcript to transcripts@ncarb.org through their electronic transcript request form, or download and complete items 1-12 on the Transcript Request Form. Provide this form to your university, and have your official transcripts sent directly from your academic institution to NCARB

Both the Credential Verification Form and official transcript must be completed/submitted in English. For a detailed outline of the application process, check out our Documentation Checklist.

Experience and Examination

After you’ve created your Record and submitted your supporting documents, NCARB will review your Record and contact you regarding your eligibility for the Foreign Architect Path.  (This process can take up to 60 days, depending on the volume of applications we receive) You will then need to satisfy NCARB’s experience and examination requirements for certification through the Foreign Architect Path.

  • Experience: Complete the AXP. Some of your foreign experience (up to 1,860 hours) may count toward the AXP requirement. Additional required hours working for an Architect outside the United States will only count if you are working under an architect who is licensed in the U.S. or Canada. As a Foreign Architect Path candidate, you can report qualified experience earned at any time in your professional career for 100% credit toward the program requirements.   
  • Examination: Pass the ARE. You can begin scheduling ARE divisions after NCARB has verified your transcript and foreign credential and you have paid your Certification application fee.


The Foreign Architect Path has a maximum fee of $1,100, depending on the cost of your initial NCARB Record application—this is the same as the cost of a standard Certificate application. Note: This does not include the cost of completing the exam, which costs $235 per division.

The application fee will not be billed to your account until after your required credentials are approved, and you will have one year to pay the fee. Learn more about the fees associated with establishing and maintaining an NCARB Certificate.

Once NCARB has confirmed you meet the requirements for certification through this path, and you have paid the fee, you will be issued a Certificate number. You will then be able to use your NCARB Certificate to apply for reciprocal licensure in a U.S. jurisdiction that accepts the Foreign Architect Path.

To learn more about applying for the NCARB Certificate, download the Certification Guidelines.  Also, be sure to reference the Foreign Architect Checklist.

If you have questions about earning a license to practice in the United States, contact us.