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

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

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.

The California Architects Board, and 28 other licensing bodies, has accepted the arrangement.  “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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