United States, Australia, and New Zealand Establish Arrangement to Recognize Architect Credentials

Spearheaded by NCARB, a new arrangement will enable U.S. architects to pursue work internationally.

Seattle, WA—A new Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) between the architectural licensing authorities of the United States, Australia, and New Zealand will enable architects to earn reciprocal licenses abroad.

Spearheaded by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the arrangement was signed by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) and the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB), and was approved by U.S. licensing boards at the organization’s Annual Business Meeting. To implement the MRA, a minimum of 28 U.S. licensing boards will need to sign the arrangement by December 31, 2016.

“The new arrangement recognizes each country’s rigorous path to licensure and commitment to protecting the public’s safety,” said NCARB President Dennis S. Ward, FAIA, NCARB. “In an increasingly global marketplace, this arrangement will benefit architects seeking to expand their careers internationally.”

This decision was enacted by NCARB’s Board of the Directors in January and is the result of over two years of research and negotiation by a special evaluation team appointed by former President Dale McKinney, FAIA, NCARB. A comparative analysis revealed that the path to licensure in Australia and New Zealand parallels U.S. requirements, with a strong emphasis on the three pillars of licensure: accredited education, structured experience, and comprehensive examination.

Inspired by a similar agreement with Canada, U.S. architects interested in earning a license in Australia or New Zealand must meet the following requirements:

  • 6,000 hours (approximately three years) of post-licensure experience in the home country
  • Validation of licensure in good standing from the home authority
  • Citizenship or lawful permanent residence in the home country
  • Licensure in the home country not gained through foreign reciprocity

To learn more about earning a license to practice architecture abroad, visit www.ncarb.org/international.



The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.

NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration; and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States and Canada.

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