US CPA Exam for Canadians: IQEX vs Regular Application?

cpa exam for canadians

Helllo Canadians! Getting qualified for the CPA exam is an easy step if you are a Canadian CA, and even if you haven’t you can still follow the steps to become a US qualified certified public accountant.

Please click a link below so I can figure out the best way to help you:

US CPA Exam for Canadians (Legacy CA)

I understand that all of you are now CPA Canada, but if you were a Canadian CA before the unification, you are eligible for the “fast track” for US CPA licensing.

The US has a long-standing agreement with CICA which allow its members to take the IQEX exam instead of the standard Uniform CPA Exam.


IQEX is what I consider a mini-CPA exam which focuses on the Regulation (REG) part of the full version. In other words, you don’t need to deal with financial accounting and auditing questions this exam.

IQEX is offered two months out of each quarter, similar to that for the Uniform CPA Exam.

IQEX vs Uniform CPA Exam

What’s Great about IQEX

  • Simple application process with NASBA directly. NASBA stands for National Association of State Boards of Accountancy in the US.
  • Automatically qualified for the exam with Letter of Good Standing from CICA.
  • The exam itself is shorter: 3 hours covering Regulation and a bit of business concepts.
  • IQEX exam sites are available in US as well as in Canada.
  • Experience that is required for the CPA license can be verified by Canadian CAs in most states.

What to Do Instead without IQEX

  • Must pick a State Board to apply and fulfill the often complicated educational requirements.
  • Non-US candidates have to get their transcripts evaluated by third-party credential evaluation agencies.
  • The exam is much longer with 4 parts (covering financial accounting, audit, business concepts and regulation) totaling 14 hours.
  • Uniform CPA exam sites are not available in Canada.

Who is Eligible for IQEX in Canada?

Candidates who:

  • Passed the Uniform Final Examination (UFE)
  • Maintain membership (in good standing) with a Provincial CA Institute.

Note: Candidates who qualified as Canadian Chartered Accountants on the basis of recognition of credentials earned in other countries are NOT eligible to apply.

What If I am a Canadian but Not Eligible for IQEX?

Then you will have to go through the traditional way. Please click here.

9 Steps To Get Your US CPA License With IQEX

  1. Download the IQEX application form from NASBA during the application period from July to August.
  2. Obtain Letter of Good Standing from CICA
  3. Wait to receive your NTS (Notice to Schedule, i.e. your admission number) from NASBA
  4. Schedule the exam at a prometric center
  5. Study and take IQEX
  6. Wait for the results which is usually released around January in the following year
  7. Once you pass, pick a state that accepts IQEX candidates
  8. Fulfill the experience required by the state and get the experience verified by either US CPAs or Canadian CAs
  9. Apply for your wall certificate and AICPA membership. Done!

For Your Further Reading

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How to Become a US CPA for Other Canadians

The process is more complicated but no worries, it is not the end of the world. What you need to do is to register through a state in the US and go through the Uniform CPA exam.

10 Steps to Get US CPA License through the Uniform CPA Exam

  1. Pick a state that fits your educational background and working experience. Each state has slightly different rules on these requirements.
  2. Send your transcripts to one of the credential evaluation agencies for evaluation. It takes any time from 1 business day (super express) to 8 weeks.
  3. Fill in the application form from your chosen State at the same time.
  4. Wait to receive your NTS (Notice to Schedule, i.e. your admission number) from NASBA
  5. Schedule the exam at a prometric center
  6. Study and take the Uniform CPA Exam
  7. Wait for the results
  8. Depending on the state, you may need to take a CPA ethics exam after passing the Uniform CPA exam
  9. Fulfill the experience required by the state and get the experience verified by US CPA (some state may recognize Canadian CAs as valid verifier)
  10. Apply for your wall certificate and AICPA membership. Done!

I’ve Got More Questions. Can You Help Me?

Sure! All you need is to sign up for this free mini course written for international candidates like you.

 Feel free to learn about this mini-course before signing up.

* Photo courtesy of Paul Bica via creative commons

About the Author Stephanie Ng

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!

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