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

Interested in pursuing this opportunity? 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.K.? Check out our FAQs for U.K. architects.


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

  • Hold a valid license/registration in good standing in a participating U.S. jurisdiction
  • Have lawful authorization to work in the U.K. (typically granted through a visa or other immigration route)
  • Have an active NCARB Certificate earned through the standard path, including holding a degree from a National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited program

If I am licensed in two states, one of which has signed on to the agreement but the other of which has not, can I still participate in the U.S./U.K. MRA?

Do I qualify for the U.S./U.K. MRA under alternative paths such as the AXP Portfolio, Foreign Architect Path, Education Alternative, or IPAL?
Foreign Architect Path and Education Alternative: Not at this time; applicants must complete a degree from a National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited program, complete the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®), and pass the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) in order to be eligible for the U.S./U.K. MRA.

AXP Portfolio: Because the AXP Portfolio is a valid method to meet the experience requirement, applicants who have completed the AXP Portfolio are eligible for the U.S./U.K. MRA.

IPAL (Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure): Because IPAL meets the standard U.S. licensure requirements, including earning a degree from a NAAB-accredited program, IPAL applicants are also eligible for the U.S./U.K. MRA.

Are there any short- or long-term plans to incorporate applicants who don’t hold a degree from a NAAB-accredited program into the U.S./U.K. MRA?
Yes—the U.S./U.K agreement includes a commitment to incorporate more inclusive eligibility requirements for licensure in the U.K. ARB will be making changes to the U.K.’s initial education and training requirements for U.K. licensure. Once these changes have been made, ARB and NCARB will reassess our Mutual Recognition Agreement criteria.


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 above and confirm you meet the eligibility requirements. You should also ensure that you are licensed in a participating U.S. jurisdiction
  2. Contact NCARB—Once you confirm you’re eligible for licensure through the MRA, contact NCARB online or at 202-879-0520. Our Customer Relations team will review your NCARB Record, double-check that you meet the eligibility requirements, and transmit your Record to ARB for their review—you will be charged NCARB's transmittal fee.
  3. Complete Application Process With ARB—After your NCARB Record has been shared with ARB, you will need to complete their application process. You should expect to submit a CV, complete a brief interview, and take an assessment. If you have questions while completing ARB’s application process, you should contact ARB for guidance. 

How does the U.K. Adaptation Assessment Process work?
After completing an initial application, applicants will receive a scenario with five related questions and be asked to provide a written response to each question. Assessors will then hold a virtual interview with the applicant based on their responses, as well as their Reflective Career Summary. Learn more about the U.K. Adaptation Assessment Process.

If you don’t pass your initial assessment attempt, can you retake the assessment?
Applicants can apply up to three times and must wait at least six months after their previous assessment attempt before re-applying. If applicants fail a third attempt, the Registrar would need to give exceptional permission based on evidence of material improvements since the last assessment.

Are there resources U.S. applicants can use for the U.K. Adaptation Assessment Process?
External study resources are available online, but ARB does not recommend specific resources.  ARB will publish additional guidance for the assessment in early 2024 on their website.

What are the fees for U.S. applicants seeking a U.K. license?
First, the applicant would need to apply for an NCARB Certificate if they don’t already have one (up to $1,280 plus a $270 annual renewal fee).

Then, they must pay a fee for the U.K. Adaptation Assessment process, which is $2,950. The applicant then makes a formal application for registration which is paid on a sliding scale depending on what time of the year they are registered (maximum $306.93).

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?
Processing your payment and transmitting your information to the U.K. will take 7-10 business days. Once ARB receives your NCARB Certificate, they will contact you and work with you to select a date for the U.K. Adaptation Assessment (candidates can select spots as little as two weeks after applying). After your assessment, your registration will take 8-10 weeks to complete.

Right to Work

Do I need a visa to practice in the U.K.? 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.K. government to understand the legal requirements for practicing business. Applicants do not need a visa to be granted a license in the U.K., but cannot legally perform work in the U.K. without the right to work.


Are there continuing education requirements in the U.K.?
Yes. ARB launched a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme in January 2024, which will fully go into effect in 2025. All applicants who join the U.K. Registrar will be subject to CPD requirements.

Is a U.S. architect eligible to be a sole proprietor after completing the U.S./U.K. MRA? Also, do you need to be physically present in the U.K. to work there as an architect?
There are no restrictions from ARB about practice in the U.K., but ARB cannot speak to legal requirements in the U.K.

Can you use your U.K. license to apply for architect licensure in the European Union?
No, the U.S./U.K. MRA does not allow for reciprocal licensure in other countries the U.K. may have an agreement with.