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

* * *

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 the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites

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  • aditi says:

    I am from india. I would like to know whether one can give us cpa exam in canada?
    My uncle stays there so it wud be convinient for me.
    Thank you

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      No I am afraid there is no US CPA exam centers in Canada. Regards, Stephanie

      • Jks says:

        I just wrote the iqex in a prometric centre in Canada. Their are quite a few in our country. Not sure if they do the regular cpa exam, but they definitely do the iqex. I’ll also note that the iqex is a 4 hour exam, not a 3 hour exam

  • aditi says:

    Thanks Stephanie.

  • Amy Zhang says:

    I am from Canada, I am wondering if I can take the IQEX. I passed the UFE but not a CPA holder yet because i haven’t obtain the 3 years of working experience. Thanks

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Amy, I believe one needs to be a (legacy) CA member to get qualified for IQEX. I am not 100% sure so it is best for you to double check with NASBA. There is a phone number on the right side bar of NASBA’s page:

      • Jka says:

        If she wrote the UFE, then she will be a CPA, CA and would be eligible. The new CPA (without the “, CA” after the “CPA”) write an exam called the CFE

  • Sean says:

    Will the IQEX rules be changing any time soon for legacy CA members? Thinking of going for it in 2017. How often can we take the exam if we fail? Thanks!

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Sean, no idea to be honest. I would think the highest priority for CPA Canada is the integration and the new exam, and before they are all settled they will move on to the legacy MRAs. It’s now May 2016 and if nothing is announced to axe the previous agreement, my gut feeling that IQEX will still be around for legacy CA members in 2017. Based on current rule you can take the exam once in each testing window (i.e. quarterly). Regards, Stephanie

  • Rob says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I live in Canada and I am wondering what designation compliments a CMA?
    I work in banking currently but they have a million different certifications.
    CPA is an obvious option but in Canada the final test is not according to my strengths (3 day case exam). I am a good MCQ student and case exams for me are literally case by case.
    What do you think is a compliment to a CMA?

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Rob, if you live in Canada, the qualification to get is the CPA (Canada), really… there may be easier exams but I really think you should go for the most relevant and recognized one in your country. Good luck!

      • Rob says:

        Hi Stephanie,
        Thanks for the input.
        I would like to do the CPA here.
        its not for lack of interest… the exam style doesn’t fit me.
        this is the issue.
        from my experience, I am good at smaller cases but 30+ page cases in 1 sitting are another level.

  • Don O'Brien says:


    I am a CPA (Canada) from my CGA, CMA, and a CIA. I also have a Bachelors Degree in Economics and have my own accounting firm in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. I also prepare and file US taxes, do audits and other assurance files in Canada. What is the best way for me to get a US CPA and just practice in Canada with no intention of practicing in the US? Is it necessary to get a state license if I have no intention of living there?

  • Janette says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am a CPA (CA obtained through industry) from Canada and I’m a bit confused about the license requirement.

    I am planning to take the IQEX and if I am successful, do I still need to fulfill the education requirement/hours of accounting according to this website ( to become licensed in Illinois? (I’m not worried about the work experience requirement as I have more than 1 year from industry)

    Thank you!

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Janette, the IQEX has two benefits: you don’t need to go through the tedious application process faced by most international candidates. Second, you only need to take REG part of the exam. Other than that, it’s the same as other candidates.

      For Illinois, once you pass IQEX, the IL board of examiners issues a CPA certificate to you, but this is not a license (i.e. you can’t call yourself a CPA, yet). To get the license, you need to fulfill the licensing requirements.

      This means that you do need, in principle, to fulfill the licensing requirements including the part on education. But you may want to double check with IDFPR and see if the Canadian CA effectively waive some or all part of the education.

      Note that the certificate and license is handled by two separate organizations.
      More info on certificate (board of examiners):
      More info on license (IDFPR):

      Good luck! Stephanie

      • Janette says:

        Hi Stephanie,

        Thank you for the information, I really appreciate it!

        I have a few more questions if you don’t mind.

        Would you happen to know if New Jersey and New York also have separate organizations?

        I will actually be immigrating to the US (green card) shortly and was wondering if I need to be licensed in the same state that I will be living/working in (I plan on working in industry).

        Thank you for your time again!

        • Stephanie Ng says:

          Hi Janette, not sure what you mean by separate organizations, but they do have different state board of accountancy (if this is what you mean) and have slightly different requirements. But the exam itself is the same throughout the US. You don’t necessarily need to have an in-state license depending on which job you take (e.g. whether it is public accounting or not), but from what I understand, NY prefers you to have in-state. Other states are likely more flexible. Regards, Stephanie

  • Aman says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am aspiring CPA as I am currently University student getting my Bachelors. What are the major differences between the CPA (Legacy) Canada and IQEX/AICPA? As after acquiring my CPA, I am planning to pursue CBV designation as I am highly interested in valuations. From your perspective and experience, which CPA designation is more resourceful for CVB?

    Thank you kindly.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Aman, I don’t really cover the Canadian designation, but if you live/work in Canada, it makes a lot more sense to get the Canadian version. But if you are interested in CBV, why don’t you go straight for that? You don’t need a designation to lead to another. Regards, Stephanie

  • Victor says:

    Hello Stephanie,

    My girlfriend recently received her CPA (Canada) after fulfilling the two year work requirement. She passed her last exam in September 2014 so she doesn’t meet the IQEX exemption. Would she have to retake the entire 14 hour test again in the US after meeting the 150 hours of education (an additional 30 units now) or since she’s practicing, is there any leeway in applying work experience to credit hours needed to satisfy the 150 hour requirement and not need to take the entire test again?

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Victor, I am afraid she needs to go through the standard process. To make her feel better, most accounting professionals with their local designation need to do that… Regards, Stephanie

  • Khalid Rahman says:

    Hi Stephanie, hope you are doing good. I have US Cpa but I do not reside in US, I gave US CPA from dubai and I am from India. Is it possible that the Canadian Cpa will recognize my US CPA credentials or do I have to start the Canadian Cpa from scratch when I go there. Us cpa is from Montana state

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Khalid,
      The Canadian CPA designation is brand new and I am not sure whether they have started signing MRAs yet… it is best if you can ask them directly. Regards, Stephanie

  • Catherine says:

    Hi, is the USA CPA recognized in Canada

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Catherine, it is best to get the Canadian CPA, of course, but for some reason it is not possible, the US CPA is the next best option. It also depends on which type of companies you work for. If it is US based or if they need to prepare US GAAP accounts, then great, they’d love to have you. Did I answer your question?

  • Rob says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I don’t know if this is posted anywhere… but does anyone know the pass rates for the final exam for the Canadian CPA?

  • Anna says:

    If someone wants to get a US CPA because they’re unsuccessful in getting the Canadian one how does one do that?

  • nazir says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have cleared CFE examination recently. I am Indian CA and got exemption due to MOU between CICA and ICAI. However, I had to appear for CFE examination. Now I am interested in CPA (USA) using IQEX method. Am I eligible for this?

    Note my registration for CFE was under legacy CA route of MOU between ICAI and CICA and I have obtained designation called CPA,CA

    Thank you for all your help

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Nazir, if your CA is obtained from a mutual agreement, then you can’t use this mutual agreement to get the qualification of another agreement (otherwise one can get all qualifications in the world with one linking to another). At least this is my understanding. Feel free to check with the authorities. Regards,Stephanie

  • nazir says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Just a clarification that exemption itself doesn’t provide me CPA, CA designation in Canada. It’s a basic exemption wherein you don’t have to fulfill your credit requirement to appear for Final CFE examination (similar to 150 hrs credit you receive if you have completed 4 years of bachelors for US CPA). I did appear for CFE final examination to obtain CPA, CA designation.
    Considering above scenario do you still believe that I wont be eligible for IQEX?
    Thank you and appreciate your help

  • Usama says:

    Hi Stephaine,

    Are you aware if as a CGA you are eligible to get US CPA? I know that CA’s can however are they re-working anything with the CPA merger in Canada?


    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Usama, I am afraid only legacy CA is qualified for IQEX at this stage. Having said that, you can still apply for the CPA exam using the standard route.

  • Khurram says:

    HI Stephanie,
    I am a Canadian citizen, i have finished the academic component for Canadian CGA legacy program, working towards practical experience requirement. In my CGA, i got 15 exemptions out of 21 courses based on my accounting designation from Pakistan more than 10 years ago. Now i would like to get US CPA designation, please advise me which state is the best in my case.
    Thanks for your time.

  • Seva says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I’m currently taking 1.5 year long accounting diploma courses (have bachelor degree in marketing) in Canada. Can I start at the same time US CPA examination or I must complete my accounting courses and then be eligible for US CPA exam entrance?

    Thank you,

  • Mary says:


    I am a Canadian CPA, CA working in California. I obtained an evaluation report from NASBA for my education and I am 2.75 credits short (147.25 credit of 150 required by the California Board of Accountancy). Can I still apply for IQEX this summer?

    Thank you

  • Hiral says:

    I have bachelor in accounting (3 year degree from Australia) and have moved to Canada. CPA Ontario body suggested I take 9 pre-requisite courses before I apply for CPA PEP exam. Is there a way I can finish the pre-requisite courses in one of the states in USA in shorter duration because CPA Ontario only allows one courses per semester which will take 2 years to finish only pre-requisite courses.
    Any suggestions are highly appreciated.
    Thank you.

  • Hira says:

    Hi, i am Hira and i hvae done ACCA UK.. Will i be eligible for CPA USA.. if i do CPA Canada on the basis of my ACCA?

  • Aidan says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I have completed all modules and will write CFE in Sep, 2018. I have 9 month to write CFE and am thinking to use 9 month to prepare AICPA as I am planning to move to the US in few years so it will be nice if I can hold both Canadian CPA and AICPA.

    1. What path could be possible, I process to obtain AICPA prior to write CFE in Sep 2018?
    2. Is there a way I can partly process IQEX prior to CFE 2018 so I can save some time?

    Hope to hear back from you. Thanks,


    hye I am from India I completed and I decided to become CPA . I am a bit confused. I have some ques. I want to be an accountant in canada(cost of living is comparatively low than US)
    -should i apply for MAcc in canada
    -should i apply for MBA in Accounting in Canada
    -should i gain 3 year experience here(in India) at entry level (as book keeper or Junior Accountant) and then apply through Express Entry Pool.
    -how can i increase my chance of getting a part time job until i complete my CPA
    -what are your suggestions?
    -do i need to give any Language test as well?

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