CPA Exam in Middle East: Pass Rates, Eligibility and Rules

US cpa exam in Middle East

US CPA exam centers are currently available in 4 countries in the Middle East. This convenience allow citizens as well as those in adjacent countries to take the exam without incurring additional time, stress and cost to travel to the US exam sites.

We go through the candidates profile, pass rates, eligibility and what to watch out for in this post.

CPA Exam Candidates in the Middle East

Middle east CPA candidate

I don’t have the latest statistics yet, but in 2013 around 1,000 candidates sat for the exam the Middle East exam sites in each testing window (i.e. around 4 thousand each year).

28% of these candidates were from the UAE, 15% from Saudi Arabia and 14% from Egypt.

There has been substantial growth in the number of candidates in the region as shown in the chart below. The countries shown in red are those with exam centers, namely UAE, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Bahrain. Location and convenience have a very positive impact on growth rates.


CPA Exam Pass Rates in Middle East


The pass rates range from 31% in Bahrain to 51% in Lebanon, versus around 50% on globally.

The pass rates of international candidates are understandably lower because of the challenges in taking the exam in English, unfamiliar topics e.g. US GAAP and US taxation, and new question style such as the task-based simulations.

Who is Eligible for the CPA Exam in Middle East?

The citizens, permanent residents and long-term residents of Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, and the UAE are qualified to this new scheme.

At the same time, candidates from Egypt, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Jordan can travel to any of these 4 Middle Eastern countries to take the exam.

Since September 2014, permanent residents and citizens of India can also sit for the exam in the Middle East.

Here is a short video on this arrangement, as well as the comparison of taking the exam in US vs Middle East testing centers:

Taking the CPA in Middle East vs US Jurisdictions

  • Exam and licensing requirements
  • Syllabus
  • Exam format
  • Testing window
  • Setting (Prometric Centers)
  • Must fulfill licensing requirement (including experience) within 3 years
  • Few states don’t allow their candidates to take exam in non-US sites
  • More expensive (~$130 more for each exam section)

Note on the Differences

The differences are mostly restrictions. Not all states choose to participate in allowing their candidates to sit for the exam in these international occasions. This includes California, Delaware and New Jersey. You can check out the list here.

Also, candidates have to obtain a full CPA license within 3 years of passing the exam, or else their exam results will be nullified. In other words, the experience verification has to be completed within this period. I don’t think there are exemptions and waivers, but you can double-check with the state boards.

For Your Further Reading

  • Overview of the CPA exam application process
  • Source document from NASBA specifying the international administration of the CPA exam. You can find the 3-year restriction in Section IIa.
  • AICPA announcement allowing Indian candidates to take exams in the Middle East test centers

Need Help in Your CPA Application Process?

You are welcome to check out the FAQ page for more info or sign up for my free mini-course to you. It will be in the form of emails and is specifically written for you as an international candidate:

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Feel free to learn more this CPA exam mini-course before signing up.

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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  • garriel says:

    hi this is garriel.. 24 years old and a graduated of a 5-years course bachelor of science in accountancy at andres bonifacio college in the philippines. Im planning to go to UAE and work there, while working im planning to take the CPA exam too.. how can i get that said ”long term residency”in uae and be qualified to take the exam.. thank you!

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Garriel,
      Since I don’t live in the region, I am not sure how this is defined. It is best to contact NASBA and see if they have a specific definition. If you have a working visa there, it’s likely ok in my opinion. Good luck! Stephanie

  • ahmed abdellatif says:

    i am an Egyptian citizen can i travel to UAE on tourist visa to take the CPA exams… thank you.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Ahmed, I think so, but please double check with NASBA to make sure. They have a hotline for international candidates:

      • ahmed abdellatif says:

        according to NASBA U.S. citizens and permanent residents living abroad, and citizens and long-term residents* of the
        countries in which the Exam will be administered may sit for the Exam internationally, with some
        exceptions in the Middle East. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
        • Citizens, permanent residents and long-term residents of the selected testing countries
        can sit for the Exam in their country of residence (proof of long-term residency status, a
        work visa or a student visa will be required on the day(s) you take the Exam).
        • Those on short-term tourist or transit visas cannot sit for the Exam internationally, but are
        still welcome to sit for the Exam in the U.S.
        • Citizens, permanent residents and long-term residents of Egypt, India (starting October
        2014), Jordan, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen may sit for the Exam in Bahrain,
        Kuwait, Lebanon and the UAE.
        • Citizens and long-term residents of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador,
        French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuala may sit for
        the Exam in Brazil.
        i try to ask them by email but im still not sure please help me

        • Stephanie Ng says:

          They do mention Egypt here. So how did they reply your email? It should be a simple question for them.

          • ahmed abdellatif says:

            Do you think the sentence (Those on short-term tourist or transit visas cannot sit for the Exam internationally, but are
            still welcome to sit for the Exam in the U.S.) includes Egypt citizens or not { I forward mail with NASBA to you } and thank you soooo much for caring

          • Stephanie Ng says:

            As I mentioned above, I do see Egypt on their list in which they said is all right. I don’t think I can provide further assurance on that. If you are still not sure, call them up and speak to a representative from NASBA. There is a hotline for international candidates. the link is included above in one of my correspondences.

  • saqib hussain says:

    how much the total cost of doing CPA USA

  • Basil Afghani says:

    Hello there , I am currently Studying Accounting Bachelors degree in Jordan/Middle east.
    What I want to know is after I get my cpa what do I have to do ? and can I get it rigght after I get my bachelors degree or not ?

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Basil, assuming you have a 4-year degree, you should be able to qualify for the degree requirement. But depending on the state boards, you may not have enough credit hours in accounting / business, or that they may ask you to get the full 150 credit hours before applying. It sounds complicated but the reason is that each state board has slightly different rules.

      You can start by reading this page, and follow the links from there:

  • Asim Mehmood says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am ACCA qualified with fellow membership status and working in UAE .
    I would like to take on CPA examination on ACCA basis so
    what criteria should i meet in order to sit-in directly in Exams.

    Besides, what original documents should i need to send to CPA authorities to get the eligibility for examination.

    Best regards,

  • pinaki says:

    What is the exact address for promatic center at dubai with pin code ?

  • Riyaz says:


    I find your website to be extremely useful for my research. Can you please clarify if all state boards which participate for international tests have their test centers in United Arab Emirates; Dubai to be specific.

    Thanks in advance,

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Riyaz, yes, if the state board participates in the international administration program, then they will be in UAE/Dubai. But do note that a few popular states such as California don’t participate.

  • Tarig says:

    How I can check my certificate…

  • Sam Parikh says:

    I have completed my B.COM from India in 2013 and working in Stock broking firm now. I wish to pursue CPA from Middle east exam centres. Am I eligible for CPA course? If so then how to go about with process?

  • Ishita Gandhi says:

    I want a list of prometric centres in Dubai. I am not able to find one and I want to plan my stay and schedule my exams.


  • Alwyn Sequeira says:

    I have passed CPA exam through New Hampshire state board. I have Master’s degree and FACS evaluation says that I have more than 150 hours..

    I have over 18 years of corporate experience. I have no public accounting ( audit) experience.
    I was working under a CPA Australia. Can CPA Australia can verify my experience as my supervisor and will that work?
    Can you please advise if I can get certificate from NH state board.

    Please advise.

  • Mahmoud says:

    Hi ,

    I was previously performed educational records evaluation with FACS in the year 2014 (June/July,2014) for CPA examination and I’m currently in the process of issuing my CPA Licence form NASPA licencing Service , they informed me to support them with official transcript (original records) which was sent to FACS Via FEDEX service in June 2014. Can FACS send them my original official transcript to their Address and if yes , how to do o and with whom can I coordinate

  • Sandeep Shah says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    Greetings. I want to study for CPA on my own. Pl .guide on which material to study. Is it necessary to take tutions for the same ? if yes which is the best on line coaching option available to do…
    Pl. guide.

    Best Regards,

  • Eyad Al-Selwi says:



    As per my knowledge that I am eligible to take the CPA in Lebanon if I am a a long-term resident in Egypt. How can I register and pay the fees for the exam? Whom should I contact with so I can get the exam schedule and the paper work for the exam?

    Thanking you with best regards,

  • Marina says:

    Please clarify if any section of the exam taken at a given day at a prometric centre would be the same for all the candidates no matter of the location taken in.

    Also, can I select California as my jurisdiction and take the exam in a prometric centre in NY or Chicago? I’m an International candidate.

  • Ria says:

    I think I’m screwed!!!

    Stephanie, I was found eligible back in 2014 under NH jurisdiction and took the exam in Lebanon while i was living in Egypt. I currently live in East Africa. I’m no longer a long-term resident in Egypt. Can i still sit for the exam even if i’m not living in the Middle East anymore? Please respond, I’m really worried. I have been studying hard for the past couple of months and was planning to take the AUD exam in March.

  • Jeya says:

    i have initially fixed my examination center in U.S.A. but Now i want to reschedule my center to dubai. if so the same amount which I payed earlier can it be used to write the exam in Dubai or if I need to pay any additional amount to pay, how can I make the payment through NASBA.

  • Ranjith Kumar says:

    Hi All,

    Myself Ranjith,a qualified chartered accountant from india, and working in dubai, i want to register for US CPA exam, so please guide me and what are requirements for Indian CAs?

  • Moahammed Abdul Aqeel says:


    I am working as an accountant in Oman with 2 years of Experience, I am an Indian Nationalist with Master Degree in MBA. And now i am looking for CPA certification in UAE. So, can you provide me the Exam centre details of UAE.

    Thanks & Regards,

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