Canadian CPAs seeking the U.S. CPA credential

Learn about the eligibility of Canadian CPAs applying for membership with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) under the mutual recognition agreement (MRA).

Effective January 1, 2018, the mutual recognition agreement (MRA) will be ratified between all Canadian CPA bodies and the U.S. International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB) representing the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

If you would like to view the MRA, please contact your provincial/regional CPA body.

Eligibility requirements for CPA members seeking the U.S. CPA credential

Canadian CPA members in good standing may be eligible to obtain the U.S. CPA credential via this MRA if they meet the following criteria:

Education and examination

  • If you earned your CPA membership by completing legacy (CA, CGA, or CMA) certification requirements, you must meet the following criteria:
    1. Hold a baccalaureate degree or higher; and
    2. Have completed the relevant legacy body's educational program; and
    3. Either have:
      • been granted the right to perform audits by the designated authority in your home province/region;
      • met the educational (through your legacy education program) and examination (by having successfully passed the licensing examination of your legacy body) requirements for this right in your home province/region; or
      • successfully completed CPA Canada's Post Designation Public Accounting (PDPA) module and examination.
  • If you earned your CPA membership post-unification as a CPA member, you must meet the following criteria:
    1. Hold a baccalaureate degree or higher;
    2. Either have:
      • been granted the right to perform audits by the designated authority in your home province/region; or
      • demonstrate that you meet the current educational and examination requirements for this right in your home province/region by either having:
        1. successfully completed both of the elective modules which are mandatory for CPA candidates pursuing careers in public accounting (i.e. the CPA PEP Tax and Assurance modules or their equivalent in a graduate program at a post-secondary institution accredited by a provincial CPA body); and
        2. passed the CPA PEP’s Common Final Examination (CFE) and demonstrated depth in financial reporting and assurance; or
        3. completed CPA Canada’s Post Designation Public Accounting (PDPA) module and examination.

Experience

Canadian CPAs must meet the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) experience requirements. Additional specific experience requirements may be required by the State Board from which the credential is sought.  Some State Boards may exercise the authority to verify such experience and will determine how such verification will be performed, including working with NASBA’s Experience Verification Service.  

Pathway to the U.S. CPA credential for eligible Canadian CPA members

To obtain the U.S. CPA credential, eligible Canadian CPAs must:

  1. Pass the International Qualification Examination (IQEX).
  2. Upon successfully passing the IQEX, apply to a State Board.

To write the IQEX, eligible Canadian CPAs must take the following steps (please note that the following list is not intended to be a comprehensive list):

  1. Create an online user account with NASBA.
  2. Complete an application form.
  3. Obtain a letter of good standing from their CPA provincial/regional body. This letter will confirm that the CPA member has met the eligibility requirements of the agreement and it must be sent directly to NASBA by the CPA provincial/regional body.
  4. Pay the requisite fees.

Depending upon the U.S. jurisdiction to which a CPA member applies, the process for applying to a State Board differs. However, in general, CPA members must take the following steps (please note that the following list is not intended to be a comprehensive list, and licensure is fully at the discretion and direction of the State Boards):

  1. Select a State Board and complete the State Board's application.
  2. Request that NASBA report their IQEX score to the State Board.
  3. Satisfy the State Board's requirements which may include:
    1. completing specific educational course work
    2. passing an ethics exam and/or CPE course
    3. providing evidence of their good character and/or reconfirmation of some of the eligibility requirements
    4. providing evidence that the eligible CPA member is in compliance with the State Board Continuing Professional Development (CPE) requirements
    5. paying the State Board's fees
Note: A reciprocity agreement may be in effect between Canadian CPA bodies and the U.S. State Board you are applying to. Consult the Canada-USA Reciprocity list for the U.S. State Boards with which Canadian CPA bodies currently have reciprocity.