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If you are a U.S. citizen, or a citizen of another country who lives outside the U.S., and you’d like to earn the American Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification, you are an international CPA candidate. As an international candidate, you can definitely qualify to sit for the CPA Exam, but can you take the CPA Exam outside of the U.S? Thankfully, the answer to that question is yes, you can. I’ll tell you how you can take the international CPA Exam. I’ll also tell you where by listing each CPA Exam international location.
Candidates living outside of the U.S. have 3 different ways to become a U.S. CPA:
I’ll explain these options in detail and reveal the CPA Exam locations for each so you can determine which is best for you.
Normally, CPA candidates must pass the CPA Exam. The CPA Exam has 4 sections and 16 hours of total testing time.
However, thanks to mutual reciprocal agreements (MRAs) between the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and certain non-U.S. professional associations, certified or chartered accountants living outside the U.S. and possessing membership with these associations can more easily obtain the U.S. CPA by taking the International Qualification Examination (IQEX). The IQEX is one exam that you have 4 hours to take.
You must be a member of the following associations to be eligible to take the IQEX instead of the CPA Exam:
Qualified candidates can take the IQEX at CPA testing centers around the world. Prometric operates all of the CPA Exam centers.
If you take the IQEX, you still need to apply to an American CPA jurisdiction to receive the CPA license. Doing so may involve meeting the CPA education requirements, the CPA experience requirements, and/or the CPA ethics exam requirement as well. If you believe you may qualify for this CPA Exam alternative, learn more about the IQEX so you can get started.
Not long ago, you could only sit for the CPA Exam in the United States. Then, in 2011, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and Prometric launched a number of new international CPA Exam testing centers around the world. Currently, international candidates can sit for the CPA Exam in these countries:
Citizens, permanent residents, and long-term residents of the following countries may sit for the exam in Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, and the UAE:
Additionally, citizens, permanent residents, and long-term residents of the following countries may sit for the exam in Brazil:
|Argentina||Cayman Islands||El Salvador||Jamaica||St. Lucia|
|Antigua/Barbuda||Chile||French Guiana||Mexico||St. Vincent/Grenadines|
|Barbados||Costa Rica||Grenada||Panama||Trinidad & Tobago|
|Bolivia||Dominican Republic||Haiti||Peru||United States|
Only citizens, permanent residents, and long-term residents of Japan may sit for the exam in Japan.
Recently, the AICPA and Prometric expanded the administration of the CPA Exam once again, this time to testing sites in Europe. Specifically, the countries with testing centers in some of their cities include:
Candidates who are eligible to take the CPA Exam may sit for their exam(s) in Europe. What’s more, there are no residency or citizenship requirements to take the CPA Exam in Europe.
The AICPA and Prometric allow for the international administration of the CPA Exam because many international candidates desire U.S. CPA licensure. Furthermore, international CPA Exam testing centers provide convenience to professional accountants abroad, especially those employed by public accounting firms operating in these regions.
The AICPA used the following criteria to select these countries:
If you are eligible to take the international CPA Exam, you must visit NASBA’s website and click “Apply Now”. Then, you should learn more about the international CPA Exam application process.
If you don’t qualify for the IQEX or the international CPA Exam, you must take the U.S. CPA Exam by traveling to the United States. Before 2011, this was the only way for international candidates to take the CPA Exam. Therefore, it’s the tried and true method that many candidates still use today.
If you completed your higher education in the U.S., your application process is the same as that of domestic CPA candidates. And therefore, you can apply to any of the state boards.
On the other hand, candidates who graduated and worked outside the U.S. must take a few extra steps to meet the CPA education and experience requirements. You can learn more about the process of applying for the CPA Exam for international students to discover exactly what you’ll have to do.
Alternatively, Guam is one of the 55 jurisdictions. So, if you live close to Guam, you can pay an extra $200 to take the exam there. I took the exam in Guam and spent a couple of days vacationing there afterward.
No matter where you take the CPA Exam, whether your CPA testing center is near or far, you’ll have a better chance of passing the exam if you use CPA review. All of the best CPA review courses available offer self-study online courses perfect for CPA international candidates. Furthermore, I have many great CPA review discounts that you can use to save big on these courses.
For even more help with the international CPA Exam, you can sign up for my free international e-course. This course will help you see if earning the CPA is a possibility for you, and if so, how to do it.
If you have any more questions about CPA Exam international locations, you can contact me.
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!