CPA Exam for International Students: Meeting CPA Requirements as International Students

cpa application for international students

If you are an international candidate preparing to complete the CPA application or someone who lives outside of the U.S. planning to earn the CPA title, you’ve come to the right place. I was an international student myself who got my CPA while working in Hong Kong. So I’ve been there, done that, and I’d love to share my personal experience with you. Let me walk you through the process of applying for the CPA Exam for international students.

(Domestic U.S. candidates: Learn how to become a CPA in your situation.)

CPA Requirements for International Students

Good news: the CPA application process is the same regardless of where you are from.  To qualify for the CPA license, international CPA candidates need to fulfill the 3 E requirements:

  • Education
  • Examination
  • Experience

The 3 Es stands for:

  • Education: a 4-year bachelors degree from a regionally accredited institution and 150 total credit hours of general coursework with a minimum number of courses in accounting and business
  • Examination: completion of the 4-part Uniform CPA Examination
  • Experience: 1 to 2 years of relevant accounting experience verified by a U.S. CPA or equivalent

Some state boards have one more requirement that also starts with an “E”: the Ethics exam. This additional exam that you must pass is not as demanding as the CPA Exam, but it’s also not as standardized. It could be the AICPA’s Professional Ethics Exam or one administered by the state board.

In the U.S., the states and jurisdictions grant the CPA license, and each has slightly different rules. These variations can cause a lot of confusion, but they also create opportunities for candidates can’t exactly fulfill the 3 Es.

CPA Exam Application Challenges for CPA International Students

Compared to the 3 E requirements, the application process is fairly straightforward. But for many international candidates, completing the CPA application is still an uphill battle because their profiles do not exactly match that of typical accounting students in the U.S. Consequently, you may face similar challenges. For example, if you were educated outside the U.S., your school may not be regionally accredited, or you may not have a 4-year degree. Furthermore, you may not have a Social Security Number (SSN) or work under a U.S. CPA.

But don’t worry! We will find a way to work around these obstacles.

Applying for the CPA Exam for International Students

To start, please click on the situation most appropriate to your case:

(A) I live in the U.S. and I am…

  1. An international student in accounting / I have a working visa in the US
  2. An H-4 visa holder living in the US
  3. A non-accounting major

(B) I do not currently live in the U.S. and I…

  1. Obtained a master’s degree in accounting/taxation/finance/MBA outside the U.S.
  2. Have a bachelor’s degree in accounting from a 4-year university outside the U.S.
  3. Earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from a 2 or 3-year university
  4. Am a Chartered Accountant (CA), an ACCA holder, or equipped with other professional qualifications in another country

A1. International Students / Holders of a Working Visa in the U.S.

More good news! There is little to worry about if you got your education in the U.S.

If you completed 100% of your coursework in the U.S., your application is the same as that of other domestic U.S. applicants. If you did part of your coursework outside the U.S., you simply need to send your non-U.S. transcripts to a credential evaluation agency so the state boards can ensure that your education is comparable to that of a U.S. education.

Accounting Majors

If you are an accounting major studying in a US college, you should have fulfilled all the education requirements, and your school can provide everything you need to apply for the CPA Exam.

The only exceptions are North Carolina and Alabama, which grant the CPA license to U.S. citizens only. In this case, you can simply register in another state.

Relevant, Non-Accounting Majors (e.g., Business, Finance)

If you are a graduate with some coursework in accounting, then you will likely get only 120 credit hours instead of the required 150 hours. There are 2 ways to solve this issue:

  1. Take Courses To Get Those 30 Extra Credit Hours

My recommendation is to take additional courses to make up for what you are lacking. You should check with your preferred state for the details about their education requirements. In most cases, you can easily complete these extra classes through community colleges or online courses. I have several ideas for how to catch up on the accounting courses you need to complete the education requirements.

  1. Get an Inactive License from Guam

Guam issues an inactive license for those with only 120 credit hours and without experience. However, the candidate must be an accounting major. If the inactive license doesn’t bother you and still suits your needs, you can go this route, but it isn’t traditional, and I don’t often recommend it.

A2. H4 Visa Holders with an Accounting Background

Candidates in this category have

  • A bachelor’s of commerce (BCom),
  • A BCom and the Chartered Accountant designation (CA), or
  • A BCom and a master’s of commerce (MCom).

Additionally, they are now in the U.S. with their spouse holding an H4 visa.

General Requirements

If you graduated outside of the U.S., you need to go through a credential evaluation agency to get your transcripts/mark sheets converted into the equivalent of an American educational institution transcript. This process will cost you $150-250 and a bit of effort but is pretty simple otherwise.

Common Obstacles

Besides the extra step of credential evaluation, H4 visa holders may face these challenges:

Lack of Social Security Number

H4 holders generally don’t have an SSN. The lack of an SSN is a problem because all but 7 state boards require CPA candidates to have one. This requirement exists because the CPA is a regulated profession, and the SSN helps authorities track down CPAs who don’t comply with the rules.

However, not all of these state boards hold to this requirement. Some will actually waive it if you ask appropriately. To do so, you must write a letter explaining your situation. You also should fill out an SSN affidavit form.

Not Allowed to Work

Certain H4 visa holders are allowed to work. But if you are not one of them, you can work around this issue in one of 3 ways.

  1. Apply for a restricted license

You can pick a state that does not require working experience. For example, Guam grants inactive licenses, and Massachusetts permits non-reporting licenses. With a restricted license, you will have to make some career compromises. However, you can always apply for the full licenses once your visa status has changed (e.g., you get a green card).

  1. Register in a state with lower work experience supervision standards

You can also find a state (e.g., Illinois) that allows a non-CPA to supervise and verify your experience. With this provision, you will likely able to use your previous work experience in your home country.

  1. Volunteer for CPA-supervised work

Finally, you can meet the experience requirement by volunteering for an organization that allows you to work under a U.S. CPA. However, you will need to be careful with this venture. If you volunteer to not get paid for a job that is otherwise a paid opportunity, you’re breaking the law. Typically, volunteering at a religious or social organization is acceptable. Therefore, many H-4 visa holders fulfill the experience requirement in this way. But, you should probably consult an expert in this area just to be safe.

If you’re an H4 visa holder, you should learn more about the process of taking the CPA Exam and check out the list of state boards with flexible CPA experience requirements before you start your CPA journey.

A3. Non-Accounting Majors with Few Accounting Courses

Qualifying for the CPA certification without many accounting courses on your transcripts is getting harder to do. Pulling it off is still possible, but the process requires a lot of time, energy, and money.

As a non-accounting major, your options for earning the CPA consist of:

  1. Applying to a state that requires the fewest accounting courses
  2. Taking additional accounting courses to satisfy the 150-hour rule
  3. Fulfilling the experience requirements by working in corporate or governmental agencies or universities

To determine which option is best for you, learn more about the path to the CPA for non-accounting majors.

B1. Holder of a Master’s Degree in Relevant Subjects Obtained from Non-U.S. University

As mentioned, the majority of state boards expect CPA candidates to have 150 credit hours of education. Because 150 credit hours is equivalent to 5 years of tertiary education, you most likely have enough credit hours if you have a master’s degree in accounting, taxation, finance, or business administration (i.e., MBA).

Holder of a 2-year Bachelor’s Degree

When you combine a 2-year bachelor’s degree with a 2-year master’s degree, you have 4 years of coursework. That’s a great amount of education, but it’s still not 150 credit hours. However, you may still be able to qualify. To find out for sure, check with your state board or NASBA before you apply.

Extra Steps

When you have a master’s degree, you’re in pretty good shape for earning the CPA. Therefore, the only other thing you must do is send over your transcripts to a foreign credential evaluation agency. These agencies can translate your transcripts into  U.S. transcripts. Working with a foreign credential evaluation agency takes time but shouldn’t be complicated.

B2. Holder of a 4-Year Degree in Accounting Obtained Outside the U.S.

General Note

Like other international CPA candidates, you will need to have a foreign credential evaluation agency evaluate your transcripts. This procedure can last anywhere from a few days to 8 weeks, depending on the agency you go through.

Possible Issue

Once you’ve finished the transcript evaluation process, your educational record will probably only contain 120 credit hours instead of 150. At this point, you must take additional courses to make up for the credit hours you are lacking. You should check with your state board to determine which courses you need. Then, you can usually enroll in courses at a community college or in an online program.

B3. Holder of a 2/3-Year Degree in Accounting Obtained Outside the U.S.

In the past, it was possible to qualify for the CPA Exam with a 3-year degree. But now, that is no longer the case.

Therefore, if you have a 3-year degree and are extremely set on earning the CPA, I suggest you earn a master’s degree to meet the education requirements.

If a master’s degree sounds undesirable to you, you may consider earing the CMA, which has a much simpler application process and less demanding requirements. If you have other professional qualifications, such as the CA or ACCA, please read B4 below.

B4. Holder of Other Accounting Related Professional Qualifications

Something else state boards did in the past: waive the education requirement for candidates with professional qualifications in other countries.

However, things have changed. Now, unless you are a CA from a country with a mutual reciprocal agreement with NASBA and you take the IQEX, your professional qualifications probably won’t help you earn the CPA.

Since about 2012, some state boards have considered these qualifications to be professional rather than educational credentials. Consequently, the state boards no longer count these qualifications toward the education requirements.

Both 3-year degree holders and candidates with other professional qualifications can learn more from the CPA process that Indian BCom candidates must follow.

More Help Taking the CPA in the USA for International Students

Becoming a CPA as an international candidate may sound complex, but navigating your way through is very possible. You can continue the process by learning more about the CPA education requirements, strategies for satisfying the 150-hour rule, and the best states for international CPA candidates to apply to.

And, if you’ve already investigated your specific scenario and still have a question, you can always contact me. I am more than happy to answer questions, but you may find the answer you need and save us both time with a bit of extra research. Lastly, you can sign up for my international candidate newsletter and enjoy a detailed guide to the CPA certification. I wish you the best in your CPA journey!

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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  • Marwan says:

    I am waiting for you to write a comparison between CPA vs CA

    and how make a reciprocity between them ?

    • Stephanie says:

      I am waiting for my friends who will give me their experiences as Chartered accountants. In terms of any “reciprocity” between them… Colorado used to allow CAs to automatically qualify (in terms of the educational requirement) to sit for their exam. But they took it away at the end of last year.

      Another reason to take the CPA exam ASAP — they keep changing the rules, and 9 out of 10 the rules are more restrictive.

  • Akef says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    thanks for the information provided in this article, i found it quite usefull.
    i wanted to ask you if you know whither is it obligatory to sit for the exame in the same state that you regestire for it in, or if any state will work?

    thanks in advance

    • Stephanie says:

      Hello Akef, I am glad you find the site useful.
      If you have solid plans to practice public accounting in your state, then yes, it’s better to register in your own state. Otherwise, you might find that it is easier to get qualified in some other states. You might still able to practice public accounting in your own state while registering in other states, but it will depend on whether that state is considered a substantially equivalent state.

      I hope I am not making things more confusing. If case you are an international candidates, you may find this best state for international candidates useful.

      Long story short, I guess the answer is, no, it is not obligatory to sit for the exam in your own state, but it has some advantages.

      cheers, Stephanie

  • Seth says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am a certificed CPA from CO with Indian CA credentials. Now I would like to move a different state ( Texas or Georgia) would this be possible with my education being graduation like Bachelor in Commerce and then did the CA in india. Your advice is greately appreciated. I want to mention that I am in inactive status now with CO.

    Thank you

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Seth,
    Since CO is not a substantially equivalent state, you cannot practice in other states *automatically* under the “Uniform Accountancy Act”. Having said that, you may still apply to Texas or Georgia State Boards if you don’t mind the paperwork and the fees. Whether they accept you or not largely depends on whether you have fulfilled the requirements equivalent in Texas and Georgia (which is tougher than CO), on both the educational and working experience.

    The fact that you have an inactive status shouldn’t matter too much as long as you reactivate it and pay the dues. Depends on the period of inactivity you might need to fill in those CPE courses as well.

    Hope this helps! Stephanie

  • Francis says:

    Hi Stephanie.

    I am from Brazil and I was transfered to Canada in 2007 to take on a controller possition in a IT company ( The parent company is Brazilian too).

    I am an economist with a MBA from a British school and I realise that I need an accounting designation either to perform better on this job or to be promoted to other business divisions ( some of them operate in the states).
    Should I go for the CPA designation?. Whereelse will I be able to work provided I only get only the CPA certificate in Canada and the States?. What can I do if I want to move out my current employe and work in accounting-related possitions only with my CPA designation in North America?

    Thanks your insights and comments.


  • siddharth says:

    Hi Stephenie,

    I am siddharth, from the past few days I have been accessing this website and I found a lot of helpful guiding information about cpa exam requirements of different states. I have done my bachelors and masters in commerce (, ( from India with three years of work experience and currently pursuing M.B.A course in London. I have decided to go for BEC section during the month of Nov 2010 and quite confused to select a state among Florida, Delaware,colorado, California and Massachussets. Can you please help me with your suggestion in which state I should apply for or should go for any other state.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Siddharth,
      It looks like you can probably fulfill the 150 semester hours with a M.comm, but knowing India has a 3-year university program it will be up to the foreign credential evaluation agencies to decide. you can check out the WES’ Indian policy for reference because apparently the decision also depends on which school and what grade you get from the B.comm. You can get the link from this page.

      Delaware has a easy CPA exam requirements but a pretty tough licensing requirements, so be careful (e.g. they only recognize work that is verified by the US CPA, not CPA anywhere).

      Not too familiar with Florida but I heard it’s a hassle to get a license there.

      For Colorado, if you don’t have 150 semester hours you’ll need to work in PUBLIC accounting. So have to be careful also.

      CA and MA should be more friendly so you can take a closer look.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • Claire says:

    Hi Stephenie,
    I just want to know which state I should register for exams? I am Canadian citizen and CGA.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Claire,
      Sorry, not too familiar with CGA… does it mean you are a chartered accountant in Canada? Anyway, if you have fufilled the 150 semester hours you can either go through Illinois or Colorado. Illinois is better because it is considered a substantially equivalent state.

      For IL, my site looks confusing because the state board has been changing rule back and forth. They used to allow those fulfilled 150 semester hour to automatically get the CPA certificate (not full license, but good enough for you to use the CPA title in your business card with some restrictions) without any working experience. Lots of Canadian CAs go through IL because of that.

      Then, earlier this year they announced that they are taking away the certificate so everyone needs to have at least one year of experience, to the dismay of many aspiring CPAs.

      Then, as recently as the end of last month, they are postponing this change until 2 years later.

      So in short, it should work for you. Please check out the Illinois CPA requirements and see if it works for you. Please make sure you read all the comments to get the full picture.


  • MAdhavi says:

    Hi Stephanie

    I go through this website often to get my doubts clarified.I too have a question.I did my B.Com Hons. and M.Com from India and I would like to pursue CPA in US.I am currently in Maryland.For education evaluation do we have to get the transcripts right from elementary school.Is it not enough if we have B.COm and M.Com transcripts?

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Madhavi,
    Yes if I remember correctly they did ask for elementary school information… (I went through FACS) but I am quite sure they didn’t ask for the proof of it.

    So, I shouldn’t be something that concerns you. If in doubt, you can send a quick email to the agency of your choice — for FACS they respond within one business day to all my emails.

    hope it helps! Stephanie

  • Madhavi says:

    Hi Stephanie

    Thank you very much for answering to my question.If you do not mind I have some doubts to clarify.I was going through the website FACS and also saw their application for education evaluation.In that, they say that they will be sending one copy of evaluation to the State Board of Accountancy.This means that before we apply for evaluation we have to apply for the state board?What if after evaluation I fall short of 150 hrs, requirement to sit for CPA exam? What to do to cover the fall short hours? It would be really helpful if you guide me and clarify all my doubts as I am very serious to pursue this course.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Madhavi,
      Yes, you are right usually people apply to the state board and the evaluation agency together. In any case, even if you don’t apply to the board first you have to at least decide on one.

      If you have a M.Com, my gut feeling is that you shouldn’t be too far off from the 150 semester hour requirement. If in case you do fall short of it, then what you can do is to simply take a few courses online from the accredited colleges to make it up (I also need to do some of these makeups myself). It is of course a hassle but is something doable, so you can think about whether you will be willing to put in the extra time, effort and money if it turns out that you fall short of the 150 semester hours.

      If you really don’t want to take further courses, then you can consider sitting for the exam in one of those states that require 120 hours, which I am quite sure you can get with your M.Com degree. There are various restrictions/ disadvantages of these states but you can check them out here.

      hope it helps! Stephanie

  • Madhavi says:

    Hello Stephanie

    In one of your answers you were mentioning that Indian Bachelor’s degree is recognized by WES.If I can produce all the transcripts that WES wants , is it better to go with WES or both WES and FACS evaluate the same.Can you please advice me to choose better evaluation organization.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Madhavi,
      Actually, what I meant is that WES has a more transparent Indian policy that you can view online… it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily more lenient to Indian students. I don’t have the data or enough sample to determine which is “better” per se, but you can check out the pros and cons of the two I have identified in this page on foreign credential evaluation agencies. hope it helps! Stephanie

  • Shirisha says:

    Hello Satephanie

    Thanks for creating this website and answering to CPA related doubts.After regularly visiting your site and reading the questions and answers I could gather lot of information about CPA and I sent my documents for education evaluation to FACS.I came to know that there are 4 papers in CPA.Can you please tell what are all the subjects are there in each paper?

    Also can you please advice where I can get coaching for CPA?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Shirisha,
      Glad that you find the site useful! Wishing you a smooth evaluation process. FACS takes time but they are very professional and very responsive to queries.

      Back to your question, the 4 sections are FAR (financial accounting), AUD (auditing), REG (taxation) and BEC (basically business ethics, information system, business law and misc subject that an accountant should know). The CPA exam official website ( has an extensive description to each.

      For the CPA exam, I highly recommend that you take one of the CPA exam review courses for the preparation. This course is what I recommend but you should also check out other major ones in this comparison page.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • zarak says:

    hi Stephanie

    i am from pakistan and wish to go for CPA in 2011.i have done B.COM (2 years) and CA intermediate(2 years) ass well as i have 4 years of Experience in Ernst &Young under CPA from US.plz tell me which state is suitable for me to apply.thanx

  • Tariq says:

    Really amazed to see how you are going along helping others.
    I am CA (Inter) Pakistan
    CISA Exam passed and CIA
    Got my plus evaluation from FACS for Colorado but could not apply due to some personal problems. Now they have changed requirement and mad GAAS compulsory.
    Am i eligible based on my current education

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Tariq,
      Sure I am happy to help a little bit wherever I can! Let me see… so what is the result from FACS? What degree do they think you have that is equivalent to the US system, and how many credit hours do they give you? Please let me know and I’ll see what we can do. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Zarak,
    I understand that a 3-year B.Com degree (say from India) is typically equivalent to an associate degree. Not sure how 2-year degree is treated but I would think it is likely to be something similar to an associate degree.

    If this is the case, then Delaware will be your only choice. Delaware is very strict with respect to working experience requirement. They need4 years of experience for associate degree holders, but the greatest thing is that you are spot on. So looks like there shouldn’t be a problem.

    The next thing you can do is to get your transcript evaluated by FACS, the credential evaluation agency recognized by Delaware, and see how it stands in terms of fulfilling the requirements.

    For Delaware you might need to take the US taxation course but you can do that online. Here is a list of courses for your reference:

    By the way, if you get your results on the credential evaluation, I would really appreciate if you can let me know so next time when I come across a similar case from my other readers I will be able to help him/her out.


  • zarak says:

    hi stephanie
    one more thing i wish to know is that which course you prefer to study. as i ordered CPA excell but delivery is pending cuz i havent sent the cheque plz recommend me best self (home) study course in terms of cheep rates. now my two questions are outstanding on your part.


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Zarak,
      I personally recommend Yaeger CPA and you can click the link for a detailed evaluation.

      But since everyone’s background and study style is different, you may also be interested in checking out the pros and cons of the major CPA exam review courses here as well, which include my view on CPAExcel.


  • Tariq says:

    Thanks for reply
    I am B. Com (2 years)
    CA (Inter), CISA and CIA
    I was declared eligible by FACS for Colorado on Dec 14, 2009 but could not apply due to some domstic issues.
    Now Colorado has changed their requirement and added 3 hours GAAS which I do not have.
    I was rejected by Delaware because i did not have tax education.
    What should I do now in terms of State Selection.

  • Tariq says:

    It would be a relief if you may suggest “acceptable” online course on GAAS.


  • Madhavi says:

    “For most candidates, this is doable as long as you put in sufficient time and effort. As you may know, once you complete one section, you will only have 18 months to pass the rest of the exam or risk retaking the sections you have completed.”

    Dear Stephanie
    The above words were said by you.To be frank I did not get the point.Can you please explain that.Especially “risk of retaking the sections that have completed”.What does that mean?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Madhavi,
      Basically, you have to complete the 4 sections of the CPA exam in 18 month and it starts to count when you pass the first section of the exam.
      For example, if somone took the FAR exam in January 2010, failed it, then retook and passed it in February 2010, then the 18 month starts to count from Feb 2010, i.e. you have to finish everything by Aug 2011.

      If that candidate fails to pass all by Aug 2011, then for the first exam he took i.e. FAR he will need to retake it even though he passed it last time.

      Hope it is more clear this time.

  • Madhavi says:


    Thanks Stephanie.Yes now I understood…..Thanks for answering to all my questions….

  • Stephanie says:

    Excellent Madhavi! Just come back if you have further questions. You know you are welcome here… Stephanie

  • Julfikar says:


    My sister is a qualified ACCA professional from UK (Indian Citizen) and is planning to do a CPA as all our family members are here in Georgia US. Can she give an exam online from UK or apply for F1 (Student visa) and study here in states? Does she get any credit for completing ACCA ?


  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Julfikar,
    The CPA exam can only be taken in US jurisdiction in the US, but yes she may apply for a visa to come to US for this.

    Unfortunately the state boards no longer accept ACCA as an automatic qualified to sit for the exam, but your sister may have a degree / accounting courses that can be counted as part or all of the educational requirements.

    In order to get a student student visa I would think that she needs to be enrolled in a course provider first… but since you live in the US you should underestand the procedure.

    Hope things will work out for your family!


  • oj says:


    Your website is quite useful. It is simple and clear. Thanks.

    I have a question. I am studying for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan ACA qualification. I have completed the Foundation and Intermediate stages, and studying for the Final. See link:

    Also, I have a 1.5 years experience with KPMG here in Islamabad.

    I can obtain a BBA(Hons) Degree from the University of Punjab by just writing a thesis. It is a four year program. Please take at look at the link below:

    This will give me a 16 years education, but I am not sure what they mean by credit hours. Do you think the Foundation and Intermediate stages of the ICAP ACA and this BBA (Honrs.) fulfil the education requirements for say Illinios, Colarado?

    At least tell me whether in this situation I can hope that the evaluation service will grant me equivalancy? Do you think the 1.5 years experience with KPMG (in public accounting) will count towards experience or not?


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi oj,
      On the experience, if your work at KPMG is supervised by an active CPA (from US), then it can be counted in most state (not all, because a few states only count the years after passing of the CPA Exam, e.g. Georgia).

      On the school, it will depend on the professionals at the foreign credential evaluation agency to evaluate whether your degree is equivalent to one in the US. If yours can obtain solely by writing a thesis… it might not work, but you can call up the agency to see if they give you any indication.

      By the way, not sure what you mean by 16 years of education (I guess you include elementary school etc)? They only count tertiary education — how much would that be? By credit hours, in a typical univeristy in the US, 120 semester hours = 4 years; 150 hours = 5 years and so on.

      Hope it helps? Stephanie

  • Asad Mohiuddin says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    What should I do after my “A levels” which can make me eligible for CPA
    exams in the shortest possible time.
    Is there any way that I take any Online course/degree from any American
    University which can eligible me for CPA exam.
    If so, which University or Which couse can exactly meet the CPA

    Many thanks & regards

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Asad,
    I assume by A level you mean the one under the British system… if that’s the case, you’ll need to go to university first and complete a degree before you can sit for the exam. So gotta wait several years I am afraid 🙂

    I don’t think a correspondence degree work to fulfill the degree requirement, but it works if you are just trying to get extra credit to get to the 150 credit hour requirement.

    What you can do is simply get a degree (preferably 4-5 years) in your country and you can apply by getting your transcripts evaluated by the foreign credential evaluation agencies.

    Hope it helps to clarify a bit?


  • soumya says:

    Hi, I was going through your website and found it really informative. I have a question about the CPA exam. I have my BBA from India, it is a 3 yr course. I had my mark sheets evaluated and found out i had 99 semester hours. I want to take the exam from California board which requires 120 credits hours and 24 accounting and 24 business credits. I am also taking an accounting certificate program from UCSD and will get the remaining 24 credits by next month. I want to know if CA board will accept my application, or will reject it because i don’t have a “graduate degree” (a 4 yr degree) even if i have all the required credit hours? My degree is considered an associate degree right? If i take the exam from Delaware or Colorado board, is it hard to transfer those credits to CA board? What is the procedure to transfer CPA exam credits from one state to another?

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Soumya,
    Yes it depends if your degree is considered an “associate degree” or “bachelor degree” (in the US, 4-year degree is a typical bachelor, unlike India).

    Colorado board also requires 120 credit hours, so for associate degree holders and equivalent they have to go through Delaware. Just check the Delaware CPA exam requirements page for details – note they have strict working experience requirement to get the license.

    Yes there might still be some restrictions in transferring because of the associate degree not fulfilling the requirements on any states… but if you want to get the CPA for credentials only Delaware is good enough.

    Hope things will work out for you!

  • Sahar Hussein says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Would need your guidance here. I passed already my CPA exam in 2002 in addition to passing the ethics exam but I didn’t go further than that. I worked during my exam and till now in a multinational company. I worked in the Internal Control department since 1995 till date. I really want to move to Detroit in the main headquarters and wonder what is required to be an active CPA in Detroit, taking into consideration that no one in my office is a CPA but in the same time I had a part time job with some institutes and local audit firms teaching CPA and providing audit services. As a non US citizen what is required to become an active CPA and practice an internal Audit function in public held company in the US? IS too late for me to complete the requirements since I passed the exam in 2002?

    Your response is highly appreciated


    • Stephanie says:

      Hello Sahar,
      Which state did you register for the exam? Different state boards have different CPA licensing requirement.

      Also, what education requirements do you have? If your state doesn’t work there is a chance that you can transfer your exam credit to other states, as long as their CPA exam requirements are fulfilled.

      Just let me know and we’ll start from there. Stephanie

  • Sahar Hussein says:

    Thanks Stephanie for the rapid response.

    I registered and passed my exam in state of California, by that time my bachelor degree (obtained from a government university in Cairo) qualified me for the required credit hours. I took in 2010 another certificate (Certified Financial Consultant) from the US and I am collecting all the CPE points that I could through several accounting courses. My concern that how I can be an active CPA while I do not have a direct reporting to any active CPA in my company? Is this requirement essential in all states and if yes, Can I fulfill this requirement in the future after moving to the states or it will be too late.



  • Mrinali says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am interested in giving the CPA Exam asap, but I have a B.Com degree from India, which I know is not equivalent to the CPA requirements as I don’t want give it from Delaware because of the 4 year work requirement. So I’m thinking of doing a CMA from Canada. But will that help mereach the 150 hr requirement ?



    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Mrinali,
      I think CMA *may* help you accumulate the 150 credit hours (but it depends on which state you are applying to), but it will not help to make your degree from say 3 years to 4 years… so probably doesn’t work I am afraid.

  • Yueyang says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    You mentioned that California is one of the 5 best states for international applicants. However, you also said that California does not give license to somebody who does not have the SSN. In this case, does it mean that it’s meaningless to sit the exam in California. I’m a Chinese who got my diploma degree in an Irish college (Business and Finance), and Bachelor degree in UK (accounting and finance) and Master degree in UK (Finance). After coming back to China, I work in a Chinese company that is public in the US for almost 3 years, and I’m currently working in an accounting firm that especially provide services to companies who are public in the US, and I’ve been working there for almost 2 years. According to my situation, could you recommend me which state is easier for me to be accepted to take the exams and are easier to get the license afterwards. I’m also currenly applying for immigration to Canada, I’m planning to get AICPA license first, and then get certain exemption for CICA exams. Please Advise, thanks a lot!


    • Stephanie says:

      Hello Yue Yang,
      Yes, if you don’t have social security number, it doesn’t make sense to go through California. But many international students who study in the State or those who have H1B visa for example do have SSN.
      It does sound like you have never lived in the US… if this is the case, could you check out Illinois? Since you have a master’s degree maybe it’ll work (can’t say for sure because your degrees are not from the US). Illinois will let you sit for the exam with 150 credit hours and will grant you a CPA certificate (not full license, but ok if you are working at corporate) without any working experience.

      Please let me know if this works for you. Cheers, Stephanie

  • Kaleem says:

    Hi stephanie

    I m doing MBA finance and i want to do CPA after doing MBA finance but i want to know is there any possibility of exemption of my courses for CPA program

    • Stephanie says:

      hi Kaleem,
      If you have a MBA, you are probably able to fulfill the 150 credit hours so you won’t need any exemptions… unless you don’t get the minimum accounting courses. There are no exemptions as far as I know but you can choose a state that has fewer accounting course requirements.

      Hope it helps? STephanie

  • Priyanka says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    You have done a wonderful job with this website.Even though it answers all questions, i have one more to ask. I have done my B.Com from India, and got it evaluated from IERF and they gave me 90 semester credits. I applied to California Board so got rejected . Now my question is- to make up for short credits can i take up online courses from accredited colleges or do i need to take a one year masters program ?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Priyanka,
      Thanks for your note!
      Yes California requires at least 120 credit hours. May I ask whether they specify your degree — whether it is deemed equivalent to an associate degree or a bachelor degree? Most likely the former. If this is the case, yes you’ll need to get at least a bachelor or preferably a master’s degree from accredited colleges to get qualified. Not sure if you are still in India, but please note that correspondence courses from India do not count.


  • Shakil says:

    I have passed CPA in 2007 from colorado state. I am a India CA. I need to either register or get license. Please let me know which state is best keeping in mind i am not aUS citizen nor hold Social Secuirity number. I am residence of U.A.E.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Shakil,
      Did you have 150 credit hours fulfilled before or during the CPA exam? If so you can try Illinois – no experience necessary and no SSN required.

  • Priyanka says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for your reply. Well the review of the california board is –
    that i have an educational deficiency ” Baccalaureate or
    higher degree not conferred or posted on the official transcript”.
    Also it says i have completed 22.5 of the 24 semester units of
    accounting subjects required. I am in Washington DC. Earlier my plan was to shift to the West coast. But now i guess i will be in DC for long.

    So can you suggest based on the review received the best way to become eligible to any board in US as my primary goal is to just get the credentials.

    Thanks again!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Priyanka,
      Yes this is what I suspected. Let me see… you have 2 choices:
      1. Register through Delaware – this is the only state that still allows Associate degree (i.e. 3-year degree) to sit for the CPA exam
      2. Get another bachelor (or preferably master’s) degree to get qualified.

      For Delaware, they do have strict working requirements so please make sure you are fine with that before proceeding. Please click the link for details.

      By the way, if you plan to get the CPA title for credentials only, the state in which you are registering does not matter.


  • MAdhavi says:

    Hello Stephanie

    I am from MD and I got my education evaluation done.I got 150 credit hours and FACS said that I qualify to sit for CPA exam.But MD has one more requirement to sit for CPA exam.It says that we should have 3 semester hrs in U.S. Business Law and U.S. Federal Income tax.

    Virginia has 120 to sit for CPA exam and 150 to get the license.

    I have two options here:

    1) Either I have to do CPA in MD by satisfying its requirements that costs me additional $1200.00 OR
    2) Write CPA from VA as I satisfy their requirements.Me and my husband already decided not to take license as we are not interested in practice right away.I would like to finish CPA and work in companies.

    Can you please advice me which one I have to follow?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Madhavi,
      If you are just getting the CPA for credentails only, why not get it from Illinois? I think their requirement is more “general” without specific course requirement like Maryland (please call them up to make sure though). Also, you don’t need to fulfill working requirements to get the CPA license which is good for you to get the wall certificate and become a member of AICPA.
      If you decide to get a full license, you can also do it in Illinois by fulfilling one year of working experience.

      Regards, Stephanie

  • Mrinali says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for the spontanious reply.

    But I have a few more question (I’m too confused 😐 )

    How do I get my 3 yr degree to be equivalent to a 4 yr degree requirement ? Do I need to go back to University (since I’ve moved to Canada now and can’t go for the masters option anymore as they require a 4 yr degree as well, for masteres over here)?

    Also, I’m a little confused, am I even eligible to give the exam from Delaware?

    If I am, does that mean that I have to live there and give the exams in Delaware only (as in can’t give the exams in some other state) ?

    And do I have to work there only ? Or working under a CPA anywhere is applicable?

    I know it’s a lot of questions, n some silly ones too, but I’ve just started looking into the CPA option so wanted to get my facts right

    Thanks a lot


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Mrinali,
      For WES at least, if you go to a certain school and achieve certain grades, they actually will evaluate your degree to be a 4-year equivalent. So it depends at least on the school and the grades you get.

      For Delaware, all you need is a 3-year degree so no problem, but you’ll have to see whether you can actually work for 4 years under a CPA US. This is very restrictive and could be difficult for international students to achieve.

      And no, you dont need to live, work or travel to Delaware for the exam. You just need to apply to the Delware State Board. I know it’s confusing but it’s because the granting of CPA license is done by individual state, and not at the federal level. Having said that they have improved the situation such that CPAs are generally allow to practice anywhere across the country with an out-of-state license. (Certain restriction applies – please check out this page for details).

      As long as you work under a CPA (with active license in the US) you are fine. Please note that some states allow “CPA equivalent” i.e. CA from Canada but Delaware does not allow that.

      Hope it helps? If not clear just come back with more questions. You are always welcome here! Stephanie

  • Piyush says:

    Hi Stephenie,
    Good Morning!
    I just wanted to know one thing, as on Delaware website they have mentioned regarding the CPA CERTIFICATE and LISENSE, seperately, does this mean, it is two tier syatem or it is something else which I am not able to understand.
    Many Thanks!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Piyush,
      For Delaware now, you’ll have to get both Certificate and License together, so in reality it means it is now a one-tier system… hope it clarifies? Stephanie

  • Madhavi says:

    Hello Stephenie

    The one year experience you are mentioning should be in that particular state or can be anywhere else?

    After getting CPA certificate can we choose to work in firms and companies or we must work under CPA to get license?

    As I am too young to establish a private practice I would like to work in companies, hence I am not in hurry to get the license.Can we do this or we must get the license though we do not opt for private practice right now?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Madhavi,
      The one year of experience can count as long as you work under a CPA who has an active license. Some states e.g. Delaware only recognizes the CPA title from US but many others are ok with “CPA equivalent” i.e. the CAs from Canada and CA/CPAs from Australia. Note that CAs from Indians don’t count.

      For the experience, it depends on states whether it has to be public accounting (i.e.g CPA firm) or non-public accounting is also ok. I would say about half allow both while the others half don’t.

      Many states have some sort of “deadline” when it comes to getting your license after the CPA exam. Typically it is 10 years but some e.g. Colorado is 5 years. So again, please check your state to make sure.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • zarak says:

    Hi Stephanie

    i must appreciate u regarding your dedication and support for international students.
    i have a query that is i got 103 credit hour from FASC and i waana aplly for colorado state.i have 2 years of bacholrs and 2 years of post graduate chartered accountancy and through 4 years i got only 103 plz let me know what can i do to sit in next 4 months.can i apply to delaware state based on this evaluation.?? i heard delaware required us federal taxation course so whether i can apply for CPA first or Tax Course first. Kindly advice.

  • zarak says:

    hi Stephanie
    is there is the possibility that Delaware state accept my application before US Taxation course. please tell me as i have 103 credit hours and 4 years of experience under CPA then whether i ll be able to get certificate and license after passing the exams. i hope you will answer all my questions.
    thanks a lot.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Zarak,
      Hmmm… as far as I know, Delaware will only review your application once they receive everything including the transcripts re taxation courses from you.
      Yes if you do have 4 years of experience (supervised by CPA in US — has to be US) then sure you shouldn’t have no problem.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • Alice says:

    I am Canadian and I have my CGA (Certified General Accountant) designation (from Canada) in addition to my Canadian bachelor’s degree.

    Which States in the U.S. will:

    a) Count my CGA courses towards the 120-150 hr requirement


    b) Allow me to write the Reciprocity exam (i.e. 1 exam vs. 4)

    I did some research and it looks like Vermont may have a reciprocity agreement with the CGA Association.

    Thanks for your insight Stephanie.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Alice,
      I am not too familiar with how Canadians can best get their CPA title in the US, but I know that many if not most of the Canadians go for Illinois. Why don’t you take a look at the IL CPA exam requirements as well as their official website and see if it fits your criteria?

      By the way, if they do, I’d really appreciate if you can let me know so next time I can be more helpful to other Canadian candidates.

      Cheers, Stephanie

  • Priyanka says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    One more query from my side :)..I just saw your reply to one of the query put forth wherein you mentioned “For WES at least, if you go to a certain school and achieve certain grades, they actually will evaluate your degree to be a 4-year equivalent. So it depends at least on the school and the grades you get”.

    Can you let me know which school they accept? My educational background again FYI – I got my credentials evaluated with 90 sem credits and the report mentioned -Baccalaureate or higher degree not conferred or posted on the official transcript.Also it says i have completed 22.5 of the 24 semester units of accounting subjects required.

    So if you could let me know the name of the school which WES prefers, it would be of immense help to convert my Bcom into a 4 year equivalent.

    Thanks again Stephanie!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Priyanka,
      I actually have no idea which school WES “prefers”… in fact, I don’t think they prefer any schools but if your school and your own grades fall into the “upper” category then you may get qualified. They have an indian policy and you can find the link here, under the description on WES.

      Hope it helps! Stephanie

  • ziead says:

    dear Stephanie,

    i am ziead from egypt
    i hope u can remeber me

    i bought the cpaexcel-2011
    but till now i did not decide for which state i must apply

    cpaexcel advice me to choose colorado
    but i am looking for the cpa certifcate only , so i prefer illinois

    what you think???

    one mroe thing , my transcripts show that i take 4 hours / week per subject
    and i take 5 subject per semester
    how i can calculate the semester hours ?
    because as you know , illinois require 150 hours

    thanks and i appreciate all the work you doing for us

    many many thanks

    • Stephanie says:

      Hello Ziead,

      Nice to hear from you again! So you have been talking to Leslie-Ann at CPAexcel? She is a nice lady and she occasionally helps answer questions on CPA applications in this site.

      Yes, for Illinois, as long as you can fulfill the 150 credit hours I personally think it is a “better” state. Also, do you have a social security number? If not, then may need to think twice on Colorado because while they allow you to take the exam they won’t give out licenses to you.

      Anyway, for semester hour calculations, one course (assuming in a semester system, i.e. 2 semesters per year) equals 3-4 credit hours. Whether it is 3 or 4 will depend on the length or complexity of the course. So you can have a rough idea but it will likely be up to the evaluation agency to determine the number of hours you have. A rough estimate would be: 3-year degree: 90 hours; 4-year degree: 120 hours; 5-year degree: 150 hours for US colleges. Things can be quite different for non-US universities.

      Hope it helps? Stephanie

  • Kenneth says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have 4 years working experience(audit) of public accounting in Hong Kong, will they recognize experiences gained in Hong Kong?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Chek says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Your story is so inspiring. I am a Canadian living in the US under H4 visa. I am in the process of completing my 30-accounting credit hours. I currently reside in Massachusetts. I have a degree in Journalism (no non-accounting business courses) and no background in accounting related job/s. My work experience revolved around HR consulting and payroll and HR system administration. As you can see, I am stepping into a totally new, different plate. I’m nearing my 40s… sometimes, I’m doubting myself if I could still get my CPA. Please advise.

  • Muhammad Zubair Sarwar says:

    Hello Sir,
    Good Day,
    My name is Muhammad Zuabir Sarwar & have done Master in Accounts & Finance nationality by Pakistani. Currently i am working in Saudi Arabia (KSA). Due to the market competition i have come to know i should enhance my studies in the field of Accounts and Finance. I am interested to do CPA. Can you please advise me how i can start my process and what is your admission fee & study material fee for preparation CPA. Furthermore what are the requirement to get the admission in your college as currently i am living in Saudi Arabia (KSA).
    Thanks in advance for your time consideration.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Muhammad,
      Thanks for your note. First of all, I am running the CPA exam at all — I am just the person who gives tips on how to apply for one because the process is quite complicated. Anyway, I wonder if you find the above helpeful — not it is not very clear, you can also check out this page which is a more comprehensive way on the process.

      So what you can do now is to pick a state among the 50-ish states that you think you can get qualified (see CPA exam requirements for state here). For a start you can check out these states for international candidates. Then, get your transcript evaluated via the foreign credential evaluation agencies.

  • Addy says:

    First of all, thanks so much for creating such a resourceful website.
    I have a questions to ask you, i completed my bachelor degree (Accountancy) and MBA from Australia. Last year, i did have both of my qualifications assessed by CPA Australia and got a letter from them stating that my earned degree and knowledge criteria are elgibible for admission to Associate Membership of CPA Australia. However, i did not end up enroll and study in a program in Australia. Now, i live in USA and want to pursue CPA here. I am interested in two tiers pathway because i am not sure if i want to work in CPA firm so the states that require work experience are not of my interest. From reading from your website, i discovered that Massachusett, Colorado and Illinois seem to be the most appealing states for me to get just my CPA certificate first and/or full license (if i want to pursue it).
    My questions are:
    1. How do i find out if my bachelor in accounting and MBA from Australia meet 150 credit hours? i dont understand how do they get to 150, it is different that they way you do it in Australia.
    2. Do i need to get my qualification evaluated by Foreign Credential Evaluation?
    3. According to my situation, could you please give me advice of what i should first do?
    Thanks so much,

  • CF LI says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for this helpful site, I learn a lot from here.

    I have a BA Finance degree from China, worked for CPA firm for 4 years in China where I passed my Chinese CPA exam.

    After I moved to US, I took some incomes taxes in a local college and got an income tax preparer license, been doing personal tax returns and working for a financial institution as an accountant for over 10 years.

    I got an evaluation done by FACS that shows I have 150 and enough accounting and business hours.

    I am working full time, now I want to try for the US CPA exam (hope it is not too late), I need your advices:

    1. What order should I take these exams? First , Last?
    2. How many exams I should try at one time?

    Thanks in advance, any advice will be greatly appreciated!!

  • James K says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Just a quick question for you, I passed my Colorado Uniform CPA exams about 5 years ago. Having checkde just now on the latest Rules published in September by the Colorado State Accountancy Board, yous hould apply for a license withing10 years of passing the exams.
    However, I have a CA qualification from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales and a 3 year BA degree from a UK university in Accounting & Finance. My question is, for the purpose of meeting the requirements of education, is my CA, or my CA + BA together, considered to be equivalent to a US bachelors or masters qualification?

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi James,
      Thanks for your note. I thought the “allowance” is 5 years, but if you have just checked it to be 10 years then that’s good (I will double check later).
      Actually I am not too sure about CA from England, but my readers told me for CA from India they are given ~40 credits. Assuming it’s the same, 40+90 credits (for 3 year degree) > 120 credits so it should be fine. Please note that you’ll need to fulfill the 1 year working requirement unless you take more courses and make it to 150 credit hours and go through the “education in lieu of experience” route.

      Also, you’ll need to go through one of the credential evaluation agencies to make sure 🙂 Best of luck to you! Stephanie

  • cristina says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I have a 4 year Bachelor degree in Finance from Romania and currently I am attending a Us University for my second Bachelor in Accounting to get my extra accounting credit hours. I had my degree evaluated by J Silny and Associates and it was considered a equivalent of a US BBA in Finance.
    I am planning to sit for the CPA and I was wondering if my 4 year degree in Finance from Romania is considered enough to be eligible o sit for the CPA in Florida.
    Thank you.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Cristina,
      Since Josef Silny & Associates is one of the recognized agencies in Florida, I think there shouldn’t be a problem but you’ll have to get first complete the extra ~30 credits from your 2nd bachelor. You can also double check with FL state board whether they let you sit for the exam before you are about to but not yet complete the extra credits… for some states you are allowed to do that as long as you have the proof.
      Hope it helps? Stephanie

  • Suresh says:

    Hi stephanie,
    I hope u remember me coz I had a query regarding CPA and I have posted some questions on your site and ur answers did help me. I really thank u so much.I also wanted to ask u one more thing. Before that I would have to take u through my educational background I have done my from a good university in the year 2009 which helped me to consider my credentials to be qualified to attend the exam from New Hampshire board. Now I just wanted to know should I schedule all my exams in a single attempt. Is that possible. Attempting all the 4 exams in a single attempt is tough or is it something possible.Coz frankly speaking I am in India now in order for me to write the exam I should Keep expenses in consideration. So what should be my plan and how should I schedule everything.

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Suresh,
      Nice to hear from you again! I am more than happy to offer help if I can be useful.
      I think taking them all in one go is doable because this is what I did back then — when I stationed in Hong Kong. Expense and time is the major consideration as you mentioned. I took it in Guam though so jet lag/time difference was not a problem.

      While it is doable it is understandably more risky — and if I have to do it now (with family + 2 young kids + work) I don’t think it is possible for me. So it does take into account your commitment to this project.

      Hope it helps! Just come back if you have more questions. I always love to hear from my loyal readers 🙂 Stephanie

  • Mag says:

    Hi stephanie,

    I am an international as well and planning to sit for the CPA exam in 2011. If I passed all the 4 parts, can I get the working experience requirement outside the USA, like in Hong Kong and be certified as US CPA?


    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Mag,
      You can certainly get your experience outside of US, but you’ll need to be supervised by a CPA US licensee. I understand that it might not be easy in places such as HK. But many states accept CPA equivalents, i.e. Canadian CAs and Australian CA/CPAs (But I don’t think CPA from HK is ok). Please check with your state board on the details.

      Alternatively, you can pick a state what doesn’t require working experience e.g. Illinois. Please check with the restrictions that may apply.
      Cheers, Stephanie

  • jaison says:

    hi stephanie,
    thank you so much for giving all the information
    i am still confused if can take the exam if dont have semester hours in accounting?
    i have a btech-engineering degree( 4-years) from india and i finished my masters in computer science from new mexico, usa
    currently, i am pursuing my phd in business administration(management)
    i dont have any work experience.
    please let me know which state best suites my profile.
    i can take courses in accounting if it is a must for all states.
    please let me know, thanks , jaison

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Jaison,
      Yeah… given this is an accounting qualification it’s pretty tough not to have any accounting courses taken, you know.
      The least no. of accounting required is New Hampshire (12 semester hours), but they require public accounting experience after you pass the exam to get the license. Will that work? Stephanie

  • Ajoke says:

    Hi, i reside in Dublin, the Republic of Ireland and i am currentlty studying the CPA (PROFESSIONAL 1) If i want to relocate to the state after my qualifying as a CPA, What is my benefit in the state. Pls enlighten me more on this pls and do forward it to my email address. Thanks

  • addy says:


    I posted my questiong on 10.22.10, now it has been more than a month i have not gotten my answer from you. Yet, you answered many other questions who posted after me. I am really disappointed. I dun know why you didnt not answer mine. Is it not good enough or what..Sigh

  • Tarek Rana says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have extracted some information below from NASBA website regarding CO requirement for exam and licence. Please note that In both cases foreign applicants, who are not living in US, could provide SSN Affidavit instead of SSN. I thought this might be helpful for other and you could confirm this for all of us.
    “The Division will accept a sworn SSN Affidavit in lieu of a social security number from foreign nationals not physically present in the US.”


    All first-time applicants must be:
    Have a social security number if they are physically present in the US. and
    Complete the Affidavit of Eligibility. and
    If the applicant is not physically present in the US, they must also complete the SSN Affidavit. and
    Meet ONE of the following educational requirements:

    1. Received baccalaureate degree before July 1, 1993 and who apply for certification after July 31, 1991 by one of the six (6) U.S. regional accrediting bodies, are required to complete;
    • At least twenty-seven (27) semester (or 40.5 quarter) hours in accounting, of which three (3) semester hours must be in auditing. No more than 3 semester hours in accounting-related computer and information systems;
    • At least twenty-one (21) semester (or 31.5 quarter) hours in other business administration courses such as business law, management, marketing, statistics, business communication, economics and finance. However, no more than six (6) semester hours in any one of these areas can be applied towards the twenty-one (21) semester hour total;
    • All 3 semester hours of auditing must address the generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS).

    2. Received baccalaureate degree after June 30, 1993 by one of the six (6) U.S. regional accrediting bodies, are required to complete;
    • At least twenty-seven (27) semester (or 40.5 quarter) hours in accounting, of which twenty-one (21) semester (or 31.5 quarter) hours must be cost accounting, tax, intermediate accounting, accounting theory and advanced accounting. At least three (3) of the 27 semester hours must be in auditing;
    • At least twenty-one (21) semester (or 31.5 quarter) hours in other business administration courses such as business law, management, marketing, statistics, business communication, economics and finance. No more than six (6) semester hours in any single category can be applied towards the twenty-one (21) semester hour total;
    • All 3 semester hours of auditing must address the generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS).

    3. Applicants who have earned degrees or course credit at institutions without regional accreditation may be considered under the stipulations of Colorado Rules 2.2B or C, and 2.3B.)
    2 | P a g e
    All educational transcripts, Affidavit of Eligibility, SSN Affidavit, Certificate of Enrollments, and/or foreign evaluations are required to be submitted at the time of application. Official school transcripts, Certificate of Enrollments and/or foreign evaluations are required to be mailed directly to CPA Examination Services from the academic institution or evaluation service.

    Applicants are advised that all education must be completed at the time of licensure.
    Applicants are required to pass an open-book examination on professional ethics. The examination is a home-study course prepared by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It is available from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) by calling (888) 777-7077 or visit their web site at
    Starting January 1, 2007, pursuant to H.B. 06S-1009, C.R.S 24-34-107, only persons lawfully present in the United States will be issued a license. Therefore, ALL applicants for original licensure or licensees renewing a current Colorado license after January 1, 2007 are required to complete and sign the Affidavit of Eligibility, and may also be required to provide valid identification when requested.

    Social Security Number is Required: Effective January 1, 2009, a Social Security Number is required for all licensees who are physically present in the United States. The Division of Registrations will deem an application to be incomplete when the applicant is a United States resident and fails to submit his/her social security number. The Division will accept sworn affidavits in lieu of social security numbers from foreign nationals not physically present in the United States.

    SSN Disclosure:

    Section 24-34-107(1) of the Colorado Revised Statutes requires that every application by an individual for a license issued pursuant to the authority set forth in title 12, C.R.S., by the Department of Regulatory Agencies, shall require the applicant’s social security number. Disclosure of your social security number is mandatory for purposes of establishing, modifying, or enforcing child support under § 14-14-113 and § 26-13-126, C.R.S.; and locating an individual who is under an obligation to pay child support as required by § 26-13-107(3) (a) (I) (A), C.R.S. Failure to provide your social security number for these mandatory purposes will result in the denial of your licensure application. It is the Colorado Board’s position that disclosure of your social security number is voluntary to other state regulatory agencies, testing and examination vendors, law enforcement agencies, and other private federations and associations involved in professional regulation for identification purposes only. Your social security number will not be released by the Colorado Board for any other purpose not provided for by law. The Colorado Board may contract with a private vendor to provide licensure examinations and examination administration services. That vendor might require that you provide your social security number in order to take your examination.

    Notice for Foreign Applicants Regarding a Social Security Number
    All applicants who reside in the United States must provide their social security number when applying for licensure. The Division will accept a sworn SSN Affidavit in lieu of a social security number from foreign nationals not physically present in the U.S.

    With thanks and regards,

    Tarek Rana

  • Mugdha says:

    Hello Stephanie!
    Here I’m again to seek your support. I got my evaluation done from FACS as I have done my B.Com & ICWA from India and I got positive report.
    I want to apply from Georgia State. I understand that my evaluation report is submitted directly to the state board by FACS. Do I have to submit any other document apart from application form & fees?
    And my next querry is..I understand that NTS is valid for 6 months ..but from which date? is it from the date of application or from the date on which NTS is received?
    Thanking you in anticipation.

    Best Regards

  • Mohamed Bitar says:

    Dear Stephanie

    I have passed the CPA examination from New Hamphsire. However, I want to obtain the license from another State which requires 150 semester hours. I have 132 semester hours and I’m CIA and CFE, will those two qualification satisfy my 18 hours defecit? Thank you for help


  • Sri says:

    Dear Mugdha,

    I am also a and doing ICWA final. It would be of great help if you could you advise how many credit hours you got for and how many for ICWA from FACS?

    Thanks for your help


  • Dharmin R Intwala says:

    Dear Stephanie,
    I am from India and I am moving US within some months. I completed my B. Com. from Mumbai University (3 years). I have cleared my CA Inter exam and I am also holding my Internship Completion Certificate. I wanted to know the full procedure for converting into a CPA student from the Indian CA course. Thanks in Advance.


  • Junaid says:

    hello stephanie

    I am an international student here in the US. I completed my bachelors degree here and now planing to sit for my CPA exam. but since this is not a degree programme and i will be out of status if i dont enroll in to any programme by March 2011… so my question to you is “Would enrolling for a CPA exam prevent me from going out of status or i have to get enrolled into a degree programme for that”

    your cooperation will be appreciated…..

  • Ravi says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I completed my exams from Colorado in 2006, but didn’t give the ethics exam. Now I want CPA certificate as I am an international student. My job requires that I have CPA Certificate. I am preparing for the Ethics exam at the moment, could you tell me what is further requirements to be completed to get a CPA Certificate from Colorado. I have been working as a Financial Accounting Manager in an MNC since last 3years and have worked on technically accounting issues relating to US GAAP in my organization. Appreciate your help in guiding me. Thanks

  • Egbase Jude says:


    Just a quick one, I am a Nigerian presently in the UK. I am interested in applying for the CPA exams in Nevada. I am not quite clear on the visa entry process or if one has to be in the US? Hw did you do yours?

  • arvind says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I have done my B.Com and MBA from India and wish to do my CPA . I got my credentials evaluated from WES and I am eligible to sit for the exam. I got to start preparing for the exam but I dont know which paper to take first. I completed my degree 3 rs back, and I am not sure if I remember whatever I studied. I was thinking of going through the basic accounting , tax ,business law subjects based on US syllabus before I started my preparation for the CPA exam. Please suggest some books to go through for the same purpose. Is there any pattern for preparing for the CPA exam? Can you please suggest some materials which i can refer for the same?

    Thank you,

  • fadi says:

    Hello Stephanie,
    first of all, I appreciate your huge efforts to help us passing the CPA exam.
    I’m thinking in applying for the CPA but Im confused:
    I have from a middle east university with Accounting specialization.
    I have MBA from an american accredited university.
    I have 1 year experience as general accountant in private trading firm 7 years as Accounting manager in private trading firm which is none of them is auditing firms or under CPA license supervision.
    I live outside the US , and never have been there.
    i’m attempting to take the exam in UAE or Lebanon.
    could you please which state is the best for me since I need the CPA certificate only for my resume.
    appreciating your prompt reply.
    thanks, regards

  • Imran says:

    Dear Stephani,

    Firstly i would like to appreciate the work you are doing !

    I wanted to ask that I have passed my ACCA ( Association of Certified Chartered Accountacts) exams. I don’t have any bachelors degree which is required for CPA. What can i do ?

    Thank you.

  • kumar says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    if i get a CA certificate of India then i receive a CA certificate of Australia as a result of MRA between ICAI and ICAA. i have read in AICPA reciprocal qualification CA Australia that such persons having CA certificate as a result MRA between countries like India are not eligible to do IQEX(to get CPA reciprocal certificate by passing 1 paper) .
    MY DOUBT IS THAT CAN I DO CPA by passing all 4 papers keeping my CA Australia certificate as my qualification to do CPA

  • Mansoor Khan says:

    Dear Stephenie,

    Kudos for your wonderful efforts in helping the CPA community. I am holding B.Com (3 yr) degree with Accountancy & Auditing as main subjects, from India and planning to register for CPA exam in Jul/Aug2011. Kindly please advise if I am eligible to sit in exam from University of Delaware. Moreover, what are the additional subject/course I have to undertake to meet Delaware requiremens? And after passing the CPA exam, will I get certificate even if I dont want to obtain license and practice.
    Kindly send in your advise, thanks a million.

  • Ramesh says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I did B.Com ( 3 yrs) M.Com ( 2 Yrs) from India, and Working as An Accountant in U.A.E since 4 years. I would like to apply for CPA.

    But confused to apply for which state and I would like to appear for exams in UAE ( Abu Dhabi is announced as new examination Center).

    Kindly Advise me the process and which state I need to apply.

  • Kunal says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am facing a peculiar problem. I have done a Bachelor of Business Studies from Delhi University ( It’s like a BBA only named differently in DU). I have studied Financial Accounting and Cost Accounting in my graduation but no Auditing. From what i have enquired, i cannot qualify from Delaware as they require Auditing. My second option is New Hampshire as i might get a WES evaluation which recognizes and indian 3 year degree as equivalent to 4 yr US degree. But as per WES india policy my university should be accredited by NAAC which Delhi University is not because for some reason Delhi University is not complying with NAAC rules. Can u pls suggest me something as i might be rejected even after doing my grads from the most recognized university in India. Ur help will be really appreciated.

  • Nicole says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    First of all, I’d like to commend you for sharing several useful information and for having a lot of patience in answering all the questions.

    I am a CPA from the philippines and currently working in a big 4 auditing firm in Indonesia. As I no longer have an apetite for public accounting, I’m hoping to concentrate on private practice and get a job in the US particularly in California. In order to this, should I get a CA certificate or getting US CPA certificate would prove to be better?

    Thanks for taking time to read this and I hope you’ll be able to give me some helpful insight.

  • Shally says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I had applied in CA recently. They replied ” baccalaureate or higher degree not conferred or posted on the official transcript” . Semester units – Accountancy: 28 and Business :24.
    I have been residing in CA since 2009 on H4 visa. I also applied for MA Economics- Fall 2011. I was willing to complete CPA before I started with college. Now, I am in a fix. I don’t know if there is any way to get CPA certification and license from any other state. I got my evaluation done from IERF for my bachelors and MBA degree from India. Kindly advise if I can still be hopeful.


  • Maamoun says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I am have Syrian and Canadian nationalites, can I sit for CPA exam in the middle east.

  • Susan says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for taking time to prepare all the information here which I considered very helpful for those who are aspiring to become a CPA. You are just an inspiration to everyone, and by sharing your experience, give us a deep thought on pursuing our dreams to become a CPA in this country.
    I want to share with you the side of my story. I am a CPA in the Philippines, but I took the CPA Licensure Examination in 1985 still, so 26years ago. I did not stop there, I did continue with my education and took and graduated my Master degree in 1996, Master in Business Management. I worked in government agency for almost 20years, a utility (electric) company, which is a fully owned government corporation.
    I am now in the U.S. since 2008; I work in a retail store, and can hardly find a job in line with my profession. That’s so frustrating! Sometimes I ended up waking up in the middle of the night, crying! Sorry, I am somewhat, “drama” here, but that’s true.
    While in the U.S., I did take some basic tax course through Liberty Tax, a leading international Tax preparer. It seems it did not work, because in the first year when I started working with them as “Tax Preparer”, that was also the time that I was offered by the store where I work for a full time job. I tried to weigh things and just practical that “Tax Season” is only up to April. So I accepted the offer for a full time job and did not report to Liberty Tax anymore. This tax season, Liberty Tax store owner, contacted me again and offered me a part time job as Tax Processor. I did report for a couple of months, but later when the trusted buddy of the Tax store owner reported regularly now in the store, which at first he thought, that his buddy will not be working with him anymore, so maybe that’s the reason he contacted and offered me the position as “Tax Processor”. So he did pressure me to give more time and more hours to work for him which I can’t. It’s a “Bummer” and SO FRUSTRATING experience. But this experience did not make me “LOSE HOPE”
    And I am just so happy as I browse online, I saw your site and your sharing just give me encouragement to pursue with my passion.
    I am now doing my first step. I did gather all my academic credentials for evaluation. I chose ECE, and I called them this morning. Hopefully I will submit it this week.
    Want to be honest with you, I have the fear of taking this CPA Exam, because I am almost 50years old, I cannot rely anymore on my memory, It is a big “Project” for me if I will pursue it. What’s your recommendation/suggestion? Actually I will be happy if I will land a job in line with my profession. I don’t have the ambition to work in a big Corporation. But for me, not getting a job in line with my profession, somewhat challenge me and that lead me to the idea of taking this CPA Exam. What do you think? I am somewhat confused. I would appreciate if I can hear a word from you. I am a resident of Colorado. I signed up the CPA Exam Secret Tactic mini-course.
    Thank you very much for all the information you shared, you are just an ENCOURAGEMENT TO US!.

  • Rakesh Patel says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am currently in USA on H4 Status. I have my Bcom degree from India (Mumbai) and 12 years of Work Experience. I want to do my CPA here in USA.
    One way i was thinking of doing my CPA is to get my transcripts evaluated, complete my bachelors degree here in US and then go ahead and complete CPA. Is this the right way or is there any other way to complete CPA. Please let me know your thought

  • Susan says:

    Hi STephanie,

    I am waiting for your reply


  • Adrian says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I just stumbled upon your site in my search to complete the CPA, and I must say you’re doing an outstanding job helping us all out.

    I am an international student considering taking the CPA exam and like the few others above, I would like to know if the completion of the ACCA satisfies the 150 hour rule in any state. My main intention of doing the CPA is using it to reciprocate to the Canadian CA which unfortunately too has the 150 hour requirement.

    It would be quite disappointing to know the completion of the ACCA holds such minimal value. Hope you could let me know if there are any other states unlike Colorado that would consider it.
    p.s. would you happen to know any alternate routes to the Canadian CA?

    Thanks in advance

  • Iyer says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I have a Bachelor degree in Commerce (B.Com), ACA & ACWA from India. I live in MN, but have been working in IT for over 13 years. I have an opportunity to buy a practice in TX. I have been thinking of practice on my own. Given this situation, I would like to understand the following,
    1. If I write my CPA exam in MN and pass, is there a reciprocity between MN and TX so that I can transfer my qualification to TX and start practice?
    2. I noticed you did not have TX listed in the ‘Resident’ status requirement for writing the CPA exam. Does that mean I can write the CPA exam in TX if my credentials are evaluated and qualify me to take the exam?
    Thanks and appreciate your response.

  • Suneetha says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I have done my MBA finance in India and would like to do CPA. Currently I am residing in Mississippi. Can you please let me know where I can get my transcripts evaluated? I would like to know which state is good for MBA finance people to do CPA.
    Thank you so much for your help.

  • Suneetha says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I have done my MBA finance in India and would like to do CPA. Currently I am residing in Mississippi. Can you let me know more about Mississippi state for International people doing CPA

  • Syed Jaffer says:

    Hey Stephanie,
    I am an ACCA affiliate from Pakistan , i am planning to apply for CPA exams in California. I had my educational credentials evaluated by a board approved agency and i was awarded 130 semester credit hours.
    My question is that is my decision of opting for the california board the right one ?
    Secondly, given that i have been awarded 130 credit hours and my online application has been submitted to the CBA , do you think my application will be accepted ? Should i proceed to mail out the application fee check ?

  • SOumya says:

    HI Stephanie,
    I’m from India..
    I have done my 4 year graduation in Computer science engineering.. I have heard about CPA.. may i know if engineering graduates like me are eligible for doing CPA in US.. If so may i know how is the procedure to be followed in detail please??? I actualy have a good intrest in Finance and accounting and want to do CPA.. i hope u would help me with required information..
    Thanks& Regards,

  • Isam Khan says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I have completed my B.Com(Bachelors of Commerce) from India which is a 3 year degree course. I am interested in doing CPA program, I heard that i need to come to USA to write my exam , do i have to ?
    thanks ,
    Isam Khan

  • Prasun says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Let me first thank you for the wealth of info that you are presenting through your website. It is of tremendous help to all of the CPA aspirants.

    Now getting to my query. I have a 2 year MBA in Finance from India, A 3 year B.Com degree and I am a qualified CMA. I have 2 years industry experience as an Accountant with a Shipping company. Which state would accept my educational and working experience given that I dont intent to work in public accounting sphere nor in the US. My intention is to have a CPA designation.




  • Vinky says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    first thank you for the valuable information you are providing for candidates like us. I have bachelor degree in Accountants(B.Com) from India and reside in CA. I have completed CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) and have 3.8years of experience in KPMG. Initially thought of doing CPA and also got my certificates evaluated from agent. Credits are Baccalaureate 90..Accounts 27..Business 51. I have following queries:
    1. With this credits, if i register in Delaware, will i be eligible for CPA exam?
    2. I understand CA needs 120 credit hrs(and i have 90), usually how many months it takes to get 30 more credits?
    3. Will it be a major problem to get CA CPA license if i register in Delaware?
    4. Is Bcom degree(3 years) is considered as Bachelor or Associate degree in US?


  • Conrad says:


    I would recommend you to persue CPA from CO state since you have accounting background and certification in the Philippines. However age is 50% factor in regards to memorizing few principles and regulations but it is still doable at age 50 provided you work hard for at least few hours a day and try to complete the most difficult exam part first. This will allow you to complete remaings parts within 18 months. Have the evaluations done first and keep studiying while waiting for all the paperwork. Good luck…. (PS: I have several friends who completed CPA at age 50-55;)

  • Benny says:

    Hi Stephine,

    I’m Benny working in Kuwait. I would like to appear CPA examination. Basically I’m a Bachelor In commerce ( 3 years from India), Certified Internal Auditor and CISA. Moreover I have done one more course its called Federal Taxation ACCT 429 from Devry University. I have already sent for FACS evaluation, through Delaware state. As per NASBA”S earlier list Delaware was participating in International Location testing, but last week they withdrawn, and we are in “soup” now.
    So can you guide me which state I can apply, for international exam testing centres. (not yet recd facs evaluation)

  • Milind says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I must appreciate the way you are helping out CPA students.

    I am a B.Com Graduate (3 yrs)+ Chartered Accountant from India(residing in India).
    I sent all of my documents to FACS for evaluation to get registered under CO.
    But unfortunately i came to know that CO doesn’t recognize CA’s from India anymore.
    I intend to work in public accounting in US.
    So please suggest a state where i can get registered with minimal licensure requirements.

  • Mohammad Iqbal says:

    Dear Stephanie,

    Iam and ACCA qualified and willing to take US CPA exam. Iam currently working in PWC (one of big 4’s) as an external auditor and have around 2.5 years experience. However, i don’t have 3-4 years bachelor degree. It is likely that iam short of credit hours requirement to take the CPA exam so i’ve taken extra online courses with each course carrying 2 credits based on a 50 min. hour. Will this suffice?

  • safar says:

    iam a from india. i applied for cpa exam but iregistered in delware but it is not participating internationaly i can move to othr state

  • Benny says:

    The states which requires less than 120 hours, not participating internation exams, in those case all indian guys, with three years bachelors degree must travel to United States and give exam over there. Please note that Delaware state this facility provides until August 2012. If you are not able to pass CPA exam, before Aug 2012, Delaware state requires new evaluation based on 120 hours requirement. So take decision now, you have 15 months to pass the CPA examination, if you are doing Federal Taxation.

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Benny,
    I think the question is more likely whether you are qualified in other states. Is is totally impossible for you to travel to US for the exam?

    All the international candidates before the new rule had to do that… obviously it is a hassle and an extra cost but this is doable.

    Just let me know your thoughts and see if I can be helpful.


  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Milind,
    If you do plan to work in public accounting in the US, then Michigan can work because it still allows Indian CA cert holders to get qualified for the exam, but in order to get a license you have to get at least one audit experience in a CPA firm.

    If this is what you plan to do anyway, go ahead!

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Mohammad,
    I believe nowadays the CPA exam requires some sort of degree. I understand you don’t have a 3-4 bachelor degree but do you have something similar to a tertiary education?


  • Stephanie says:

    Benny is exactly right. Good luck! Stephanie

  • Stephanie says:

    Dear all,
    This comment section is getting too long to benefit other readers… so I am trying something new by using Facebook-powered comment box which is located right after each article.

    If you have a question, please go back up and drop a note there. Thank you! Stephanie

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Vinky,
    Answering your questions:
    1. With this credits, if i register in Delaware, will i be eligible for CPA exam?
    Yes, but you have to check whether you can fulfill the working requirements. Please find the link to Delaware above and find out.
    2. I understand CA needs 120 credit hrs(and i have 90), usually how many months it takes to get 30 more credits?
    Typically it takes a year to do that, but you can accelerate your study if you like. By the way CA doesn’t issue CPA license to people who don’t have social security number. Just a reminder for international candidates living abroad.
    3. Will it be a major problem to get CA CPA license if i register in Delaware?
    It depends whether you can fulfill the working experience requirement. Please check out the details on the Delaware page first.
    4. Is Bcom degree(3 years) is considered as Bachelor or Associate degree in US?
    Most likely associate degree, although there is a chance that it is evaluated (by WES for example) as a full 4-year bachelor depending on your school and grades.

    Please sign up for my mini course to get the details.


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