Architects licensed in the United Kingdom can now seek reciprocity in the United States, thanks to a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) between NCARB and the Architects Registration Board (ARB). The MRA creates a simplified process that allows U.K. architects to earn a license from a U.S. jurisdiction quickly and easily, using your pre-existing U.K. credentials!

Interested in pursuing this opportunity? Sign up for our emails to learn more, and find answers to common FAQs about the process below.


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Eligibility | Application Process | Right to Work | Miscellaneous

Looking for more information about the process for architects licensed in the U.S.? Check out our FAQs for U.S. architects.


Who is eligible to apply for a U.S./U.K. reciprocal license?
To apply for a reciprocal license in the U.S., U.K. architects must: 

  • Hold a valid license/registration in good standing from the United Kingdom. 
  • Have lawful authorization to work in the U.S. (typically granted through a visa or other immigration route).
  • Have completed Part 1, 2, and 3 education qualifications in the U.K. Only ARB-accredited qualifications issued by schools of architecture in the U.K. are currently allowed under this agreement.

Are ARB criteria for the prescriptions of qualifications Parts 1, 2, and 3 all required for the U.S./U.K. MRA?
Yes. Learn more about ARB’s criteria for the prescription of qualifications.

Does the U.S./U.K. MRA agreement apply to the full Commonwealth of Nations?
No, it only applies to the U.K. However, there is no nationality requirement for the Mutual Recognition Agreement. If you are a Commonwealth citizen who holds the relevant qualifications as a U.K. architect, you can apply for NCARB certification.


How do I pursue licensure through the MRA?
If you are a U.K. architect seeking licensure in the United States, please check with ARB. You will need to: 

  1. Confirm Eligibility—Review the requirements and confirm you meet the eligibility requirements. 
  2. Contact NCARB—Once you have determined whether you hold qualifications that are within scope, you will need to contact NCARB to set up an NCARB Record. You will need this NCARB Record before starting your full application. At this point, you will need to pay NCARB a fee to establish the Record. NCARB will then issue you with an NCARB Record number. 
  3. Complete Application Process With ARB—Once you've set up your NCARB Record, you can start your ARB application for an ARB certificate. Your application form should be returned by email to Once complete, ARB will send your certificate to NCARB, and ARB will contact you regarding next steps.  

Once NCARB receives an applicant from ARB, what are the next steps toward U.S. licensure?
After NCARB receives your ARB certificate, we will evaluate your qualifications to ensure you are eligible for certification. Then, NCARB will issue you an NCARB Certificate. You will then receive instructions on how to transmit your credentials to a U.S. jurisdiction for licensure, as well as other information about the benefits of the NCARB Certificate.

Each jurisdiction has a unique process to apply for licensure—check the requirements in your jurisdiction using the Licensing Requirements Tool. You are responsible for completing the application process with your jurisdiction.

ARB requires that U.S. architects complete a U.K. Adaptation Assessment. Is there an NCARB equivalent to the U.K. Adaptation Assessment Process?
No, NCARB does not have a national equivalent. However, individual jurisdictions may have their own requirements for U.S. licensure—check the requirements in your jurisdiction using the Licensing Requirements Tool.

What are NCARB’s fees for U.S. licensure?

Aside from any U.K. Certificate fees (£80.00), new applicants will need to establish an NCARB Record and pay a $3,500 USD application fee to NCARB. After becoming certified, you will also need to pay a $450 transmittal fee to have your Record sent to the jurisdiction where you are seeking licensure. Learn more about NCARB’s fees.

Do all U.S. jurisdictions accept the MRA?
No, not all U.S. jurisdictions participate in the U.S./U.K. MRA. To find out if the jurisdiction where you would like to be licensed participates, navigate to the Licensing Requirements Tool. In Explore View under Reciprocal Registration, select “NCARB Certificates granted to United Kingdom architects through the 2023 NCARB/ARB Mutual Recognition Agreement are accepted.”

How can applicants find out if any jurisdictions that are not currently U.S./U.K. MRA signatories may be in the process of becoming signatories?
Reach out to individual licensing boards for more information about their potential plans to join the U.S./U.K. MRA.

What is the general timeline for the U.K. or U.S. certification process?
It will take 10-15 business days to transmit your information to NCARB and complete the certification process. This process may take longer if your application is incomplete or requires more information.

Right to Work

Do I need a visa to practice in the U.S.? Does having an architecture license help with right-to-work?
Neither NCARB nor ARB engages with right-to-work, visas, or other immigration matters—check with the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services to understand the legal requirements for practicing business.

Applicants do not need a visa to be certified. However, some U.S. jurisdictions may require visas or other information in order to become licensed. Contact your jurisdiction to learn more about their requirements.


Are there continuing education (CE) requirements in the U.S.?
Yes—each jurisdiction has its own continuing education requirement. Through the MRA application process, you will become an NCARB Certificate holder and have access to NCARB’s free CE to meet your state’s requirements. Many jurisdictions also require a certain number of CE hours specific to health, safety, and welfare (HSW) topics. All NCARB courses offer HSW hours.

Do applicants need to maintain their Records with NCARB to renew their reciprocal licenses?
You will need to maintain your NCARB Record at least to the point of initial licensure in a U.S. jurisdiction. Once you’re licensed in the U.S., you do not need to maintain a license in the U.K. or your NCARB Certificate. However, you do need an active NCARB Certificate to pursue licensure in multiple U.S. jurisdictions. While there is an annual renewal fee, lapsed Certificate holder may owe up to $1,280 in back fees if they deactivate their Record. Learn more about the benefits of NCARB certification.

How long is the NCARB Certificate valid for?
Both NCARB and ARB Certificates are renewed annually. ARB Certificate renewals are due on December 31 of each year, whereas the NCARB Certificate renews annually on the first of the month when your Certificate was issued.