International Students’ Path to CPA Licensure in the USA

Posted on January 27, 2023 By Mathew Berg

Becoming a CPA as an international student in the United States is the most important one an accountant can make. Students majoring in accounting often go on to earn advanced degrees and professional credentials, such as the CPA in the United States. CPA USA credential is widely regarded as one of the highest standards in the accounting profession.

The CPA Exam is open to all international candidates who aspire to obtain their CPA certification. This article lays out all the steps an overseas student must take to become a CPA in the United States.

Your Path to Becoming a CPA Licensure in the USA

To earn the CPA certification, international students must take and pass the Certified Public Accountant Examination. CPA for international students in the USA is a challenging exam, and it covers a lot of ground in terms of fundamental accounting concepts. Here's the basic outline for becoming a CPA in the USA.

1. Understand Eligibility for CPA

A candidate may sit for the CPA Exam in a domestic or international testing center, provided they meet the CPA USA requirements and requirements of one of the 55 U.S. jurisdictions.

  • Required Education Level: You need 150 semester hours under your belt before you can take the CPA USA Exam. A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university usually earns 120 credits. This is where foreign transcript evaluation for CPA comes in. Have your transcript evaluated to ensure you have 150 credit hours. It is possible to take the exam after earning a bachelor’s degree in some states, although doing so will require you to complete an additional 150 semester hours.
  • Professional Experience: Experience is required by All Jurisdictions for Licensing. You should have some work experience in accounting. Two years of professional accounting or tax preparation experience is recommended but only required in some states for a CPA candidate. In other states, you need only have some accounting experience overall. In several states, interns need to have their work experience supervised by a certified public accountant with a valid license in their home state.
  • Residency: While most states do issue licenses to non-citizens, some may have requirements that stipulate you must either live in the state for a minimum of six months or conduct a substantial amount of business there.

2. Choose a Jurisdiction

Determining where in the United States to apply for and take your CPA certification may be difficult in and of itself, but foreign-trained CPA applicants have extra obstacles. Students must meet the requirements of the state where they intend to take the examination to be permitted to do so.

Educating and working in a specific field are prerequisites for some boards but not others. Extra work may be needed to get credit for courses taken or a degree earned at a school that isn’t accredited. Many states have various residency and morality requirements.

When deciding on a jurisdiction in the United States, many foreign candidates have the same concerns, such as where they want to practice, how they want to apply, the expenses associated with registration and application, and so on. Since the criteria for obtaining a CPA license vary by state in the United States, you should look into the specific regulations of each one before applying.

3. Apply for & Clear the CPA Exam

Application requirements for international applicants are very similar to those of domestic candidates. International applicants must follow these procedures, as outlined on the AICPA website. Determine the state or territory in the United States you wish to apply to, and then get in touch with their Board of Accountancy to request an application packet.

Apply for the position you want and pay any additional expenses that may be incurred because you are an international candidate. It is time to prepare for your exam after you have received confirmation of your eligibility.

It is possible that non-Americans taking the exam will encounter references to US law and procedures that are foreign to them. CPA Exam Review resources are a good investment for any overseas student working toward obtaining a license. You can get your CPA certification from the State Board of Accountancy if you pass their exam and complete other prerequisites.

Get Credential Evaluation for CPA with ERES

CPA for international students in the USA is an excellent career choice. ERES can help you take the next step in your journey with reliable credential evaluation services. For CPA evaluation, encase your original documents in a stamped, hermetically sealed envelope. Certified copies of the originals are also acceptable. We work with several CPA boards. Review the list of boards we work with, or contact us to learn more about ERES CPA evaluation.


Start Now



Educational Records Evaluation Service helps Non-US educated individuals to receive their US equivalences with our credential evaluation reports.

Contact us

Tue - Fri: 10:00 to 16:00 ( PST )

4773 Mangels Blvd, Fairfield, CA 94534, USA.

© 2024 Educational Records Evaluation Service. All rights reserved.

|Privacy Policy |Cookie Policy | |Terms and Conditions