Guest Series Part 3: How International Candidates Become a CPA

In our last blog post of this series, Stephanie Ng, publisher of gives us some more insight into what it takes for an international candidate to become a CPA.

In the first and second posts in this series, we talked about the first E of the 3E requirements education and how candidates with international background can go through various steps to ensure a successful application. Today we will go through the rest of the 3E requirements: Examination and Experience.

Once your application is approved, you will receive a notice (typically by email) from your state board. This is known as the Notice To Schedule, or NTS, and is your admission ticket to the testing center, with information that allows you to schedule your exam in advance.

The Second E: Examination
Unlike the CPA exam requirements which varyfrom state to state, the exam itself is the same anywhere. Candidates are free to schedule their exam any time during the test windows (the first and second month of every quarter), and they can register in one state and physically take the exam in another.

Depending on where you live and work, you may be able to take the exam in your home or neighboring countries. This is excellent news for those who otherwise find it difficult to get a Visa and travel to the US, but there are certain restrictions that may affect your eligibility.

Once you get the scheduling done, it is time to start studying with a reputable review course, such as the one offered by Roger CPA Review. Rogers students have an average passing rate of 88% which is significantly higher than the overall rate of around 50%.

The Third E: Experience
Many international candidates underestimate the impact of experience requirement in their CPA journey. If you plan and are able to work in the United States, then fulfilling the experience requirement is generally not an issue, because most states do not have a “deadline” on when you need to get this done after passing the CPA exam.

However, if you live outside of the US, especially in places where there are not many active US CPA licensee, this could be a challenge because, in order to get your experience counted, you need to get it verified by a US CPA. Also, in many states, this person has to be your supervisor.

Some state boards offer more flexibility than the others. For example, a few allow you to have your experience verified by a US CPA without the need to work directly under them, or that the verifier must be your supervisor but does not need to be a US CPA. These are important considerations when you select which state board to apply for your CPA exam.

Any Questions?
If you have any questions on how international candidates can get qualified for the CPA exam, drop a note in the comment section below, or visit this page where I lay out the process in more detail, including a list of popular states among international candidates. Good luck on your CPA journey!

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