Do CPA Exam Credits Expire? Dates, Rules and Remedies

cpa exam credits expirePassing the US CPA exam is one of the great accomplishments for accountants. But then, the CPA journey is not over — you’ll have to fulfill the licensing requirements to claim the CPA title.

Almost all states require 1-2 years of relevant and verifiable experience. For some state boards that require additional educational requirement (e.g. the 150-hour rule), you’ll need to complete the courses as well.

Do CPA Exam Credits Expire?

For most states, the answer is no. This is great because you can take all the time you need to fulfill the licensing requirements.

A few states do set a time limit between the passing of the CPA exam and licensing application. Examples include:

  • Arkansas: 3 years
  • Colorado: 5 years
  • Delaware: 10 years
  • Florida: 3 years
  • New Hampshire: 5-6 years depending on whether you work in public or non-public accounting
  • Massachusetts: 3 years to complete the 150 credit hour requirement. There is no deadline for experience requirement.

Note: The rules may have changed without my knowledge. Also, this is not a complete list. Please double check with your state board for the most up-to-date information.

If you foresee difficulties completing the licensing requirements within 3 years, ask your state board whether such deadline exists in your state.

CPA Exam Credits Expire in 3 Years for These International Candidates?

If you take the CPA exam in any international testing locations, you are supposed to complete the licensing requirements within 3 years. I am not sure how strict each state adheres to this rule, but you should know that it exists.

Since it is often difficult to find supervisors and verifiers who are US CPA in these countries, candidates must plan ahead to make sure their exam credits don’t expire.

If you haven’t applied for the CPA exam, it is best to pick a state with flexible experience requirement.

If you have already passed the CPA exam and thinking of transferring your exam credit to a more “favorable” state, check out the information here.

For international candidates taking the exam within US jurisdictions, this 3-year limit does not apply to you.

Additional CPEs May be Required

Some states do not have expiry date on CPA exam credits, but candidates must take certain CPE (continuing professional education) courses if they do not apply for the license within a reasonable time frame.

This time frame is defined differently in different states. For example:

  • Iowa: 3 years
  • Minnesota: 4 years
  • Oklahoma: 5 years

Please check with your state board for the latest rules.

For Your Further Reading

Your question is always welcome in the comment section below. If you find this post helpful, consider signing up to my mini-course which is completely free. I have two versions designed for candidates with different background:

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About the Author Stephanie Ng

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites

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  • Omar says:

    Hello Stephanie,

    Regarding the international exam expiring in three years, I had a look over NASBA’s website, and the consent file in which this matter is pointed out.

    It says that the scores CAN be withdrawn if the license isn’t obtained within three years, it didn’t say that the scores WILL actually be withdrawn, and it also said that this is under the applicable state law, indicating that candidates from states that do not have an expiry rule won’t be affected. This is to me is a general rule that we need to be aware of, and I think they pointed “three years” there because there de facto is no state that withdraws scores after 1 or 2. In other words, I believe it is another way of saying: “be aware, there are states that withdraw scores after three years”.

    Question: Do you have a source, other than that consent file, that says international scores expire after 3 years in case no license is obtained?

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Omar, thanks for the note. To me, if the score “can be withdrawn”, that is a pretty big risk because it is something out of my control. Most state boards don’t have an expiry date. If this implies that the 3-year rule doesn’t apply, it won’t apply to the vast majority of states. It would be good news but it doesn’t make too much sense to me.

      Anyway, it is hard to generalize so candidates can always check with their state boards and see how they interpret this rule. Regards, Stephanie

  • Deepak says:

    Hi there,
    I have passed all the exams back in 2008 from Colorado, I’m an Indian CA with BCom.

    Is there any chance for me to apply for license now, at that time I didn’t feel the need but now I’m in Vancouver,Canada and feel this designation will help.

    I would be able to get experience verified from CAnadian CA.

  • viral shah says:

    Hi, Any idea about Arizona State Board of Accountancy? Any Rules for Lapse of Score within 3 Years for International candidates? Thanks

  • Viral Shah says:

    Hi Stephanie, Can you provide some Authoritative Source where it is mentioned about the expiry of Score if someone appeared for the exam from International location. Do you have any idea about the provisions of AZ State for this 3 Years expiry of Grades Rule? Thanks

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