What are the CPA USA Requirements for International Students?


Many students who study accounting choose to pursue higher education, such as a master's degree or the CPA USA certification. For fresher international students, pursuing a career in accounting is a fantastic choice. Regarding working in the accounting industry, the designation of CPA USA, or Certified Public Accountant USA, is one of the most esteemed credentials. 
The most crucial decision in the life of a professional or aspirant accountant is the choice to become a US CPA. International applicants seeking an initial CPA license can apply for the International CPA Examination Administration Program. To take the Uniform CPA Examination and get a CPA license, non-American applicants must apply to a participating country.
This article will discuss all the necessary CPA USA requirements that an international student must follow.

Understanding the CPA USA

A US CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is a credential designated for accountants certified by the US-based international body, AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants). This certification deals with the competence of US GAAP, IFRS, GAAS, U.S. federal taxation, and corporate legislation. CPA is a coveted degree that may lead to high-paying and senior-level positions in the financial and accounting sectors. The best part about obtaining this certificate is that it opens up many prospects for individuals.

CPA USA Requirements For International Students

International applicants must fulfill the qualifying standards to become CPAs. Most State Boards of Accountancy require individuals with international academic credits to have their qualifications verified. Evaluations must be completed by National Association of Credentials Evaluation Services (NACES) members.
Steps to become a CPA USA:
  • Select a U.S. jurisdiction
  • Contact the Board of Accountancy
  • Send in your CPA USA application and pay the required fee amount
  • Schedule your CPA Exam segment after the application has been accepted
  • Within 18 months, meet all the CPA USA Requirements and pass all four portions of the CPA section
  • You can apply for the CPA license once you have completed the licensure criteria.

How to Choose the Best U.S. Jurisdiction for You?

It might be challenging to decide which U.S. jurisdiction to apply for CPA USA certification, and international CPA applicants have additional challenges. Most significantly, you must apply via a jurisdiction in the United States.
  • Each state board has its standards for education and experience. If you attended a non-accredited college, you must complete additional requirements for those courses and/or that degree to be approved.
  • Many states have criteria for residence, ethics, and other factors.
  • Many international applicants face the same problems when choosing a U.S. jurisdiction, such as where they want to practice, how they apply, registration and application costs, and so on.
  • Because each U.S. jurisdiction has its standards for the CPA license, you must investigate each state's requirements before applying.
You can readily access most of the information related to the CPA USA Requirements, application, and Exam. The easiest approach to check that the information is correct is to contact the state board directly. NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) also provides information on all U.S. jurisdictions, and many state boards have their websites with extra details. You can use NASBA International Evaluation Services (NIES) to narrow your search to a select group of jurisdictions that most closely match your educational and documentation requirement. NIES will still list up to three countries and highlight any needs you do not currently satisfy if you do not meet the educational qualifications for any jurisdictions.
Keep in mind which U.S. jurisdictions permit the administration of international exams. Not every U.S. jurisdiction takes part in the Exam's international administration. You can still apply to these countries, but you will have to travel to the U.S. to take the test. Before taking the CPA Exam, you must satisfy the CPA USA requirements and standards set forth by each state board. The most important of these is a review of your academic records. 
Note - Both the CPA Exam and the CPA license require separate applications.

Eligibility Requirements for International CPA candidates

If a candidate satisfies the CPA USA Requirements and standards of one of the 55 U.S. jurisdictions, they may take the CPA Exam there or at overseas CPA Exam testing facilities. The following conditions must be met:
Citizenship & Social Security Number - Some states in the United States require applicants to have a Social Security Number or citizenship. International candidates, however, are free from this condition in the following states:
  • Wisconsin
  • Montana
  • New York
  • South Dakota
  • Illinois
Residency Requirements - While most states permit foreign applicants to obtain a license there, certain states do have residency requirements that may call for you to live there or do significant business there for a minimum of six months.
Educational Requirements - The minimum number of credits required for a four-year degree from an approved university is 120. Most countries mandate that students study business law, finance, accounting, and auditing courses. To sit for the CPA USA Exam, you typically need to have completed 150 semester hours. Some states permit you to take the test after receiving your bachelor's degree, but you'll still need to finish 150 semester hours in total.
Requirements for Work Experience - For licensing, all jurisdictions require professional experience. The direct supervision of work experience by an active CPA with a current U.S. license is a requirement in several jurisdictions. Some states may allow an active CPA license by a U.S. jurisdiction, an overseas certification equivalent, or both to vouch for your employment history.

How Can You Apply for The International CPA Exam?

It could appear that studying for the CPA Exam is more difficult than actually taking it. The procedure may be a little unclear because the program consists of several components. This is particularly relevant given that each state has its own prerequisites for taking the CPA Exam. The international CPA Exam is similar to all other forms of the CPA Exam. International applicants will be asked the same questions and assessed like all other test candidates. It's important to remember that there are two options to register for the CPA Exam: the NASBA or the State Boards of Accountancy. 
Follow these steps:
  1. Choose a jurisdiction in the United States and apply through a participating State Board of Accountancy.
  2. Wait for the Letter of Notice to Schedule.
  3. Apply to take tests in another country and complete the international registration process.
  4. Schedule to take the CPA USA exam at a foreign location.

US CPA Requirements by State for Exam

California CPA requirements
For Exam
  • Accounting disciplines must be completed in 24 Semester Units.
  • 24 Semester units in business subjects are required.
For license
  • A criminal background record check is required.
  • A minimum of 12 months of accounting experience is required.
  • Pass the CBA's ethics examination.
Florida CPA requirements
For Exam
  • 120 Semester hours or 180 quarter hours must be completed.
  • 24 Semester hours must be completed.
For license
  • Pass the CPA exam
  • 150-225 Credit hours
  • 30 accounting hours in total
  • 36 business hours or 54 quarter business hours in total
Illinois CPA requirements
For Exam
  • Accounting course with 30+ hours
  • 24 semester hours in business ethics and communication
For License
  • 120 Hours of undergraduate courses are required.
  • passing the CPA exam
  • One year of accounting, attestation, tax, etc. experience
  • One year of commitment to a full-time job
  • complete the AICPA ethics test with a 90% score.
Massachusetts CPA requirements
For Exam
  • CPA review courses worth 150 CLEP credits from an institution with regional accreditation
  • Internships in the field of accounting
  • Online Education
  • Business-related studies for 24 semester hours
  • 30 semester hours in accounting
For license
  • Three reference letters addressed to the Massachusetts Board of Accountancy are required.
  • Experience in public accounting, either full-time or part-time. The time should be between three and nine years.
Oklahoma CPA requirements
For Exam
  • 9 Semester hours in economics, finance, statistics, marketing, insurance, risk management, and other related fields.
  • Accounting courses total 30 hours.
  • A division course - lasting 76 hours.
For license
  • Accounting experience of one year
  • The candidate must complete the ethics test.
Alaska CPA requirements
For Exam
  • Possess a bachelor's degree that the Alaska Board of Accountancy will approve.
  • Accounting topics must total 22 quarter credit hours or 15 semester credit hours.
  • Take the accounting course as prescribed by the Board.
  • One year of work in the public sector as a CPA.
For License
  • Must pass the CPA exam
  • Candidates must meet the CPA USA education and experience requirements.
Connecticut CPA requirements
For Exam
  • 24-semester units of accounting course
  • One business law course
  • One course in economics
  • One finance course
For license
  • Pass the CPA exam is a must
  • Minimum two years of Work Experience
  • A professional ethics comprehensive study certification from the AICPA with a score of 90 or above is required.
Kansas CPA requirements
For Exam
  • For business and general education courses, 42 semester hours must be completed.
  • There must be 11 semester hours committed to oral and writing communication.
  • A total of 30 semester hours in accounting theory and practice are required.
  • The accounting internship credits must be taken into consideration.
For license
  • Pass both the AICPA's professional ethics course and the CPA test.
  • One or two years of accounting experience is required.
New Jersey CPA requirements
For Exam
  • An undergraduate or graduate degree is required.
  • The required amount of time is 24 hours for both business and accounting courses.
For license
  • Requires 1750 hours of full-time work.
  • Two years worth of part-time experience
Texas CPA requirements
For Exam
  • 150 Semester hours or quarter-hour equivalents of college credit must be completed.
  • 30 Semester hours or quarter-hour equivalents of upper-level accounting courses must be completed.
  • Complete 24 semester hours of upper-level relevant business courses, or the equivalent in quarter hours.
  • Complete a three-semester-hour ethics course authorized by the Board.
For license
  • Successfully complete a background check.
  • Passing the CPA USA exam is essential.
  • Comply with the job experience requirements
  • Pass a test on the Board's Rules of Professional Conduct, which will be provided to you when you submit your issuance application.
The CPA USA Requirements and eligibility requirements are nearly the same in all 50 U.S. states. One may also apply in more states, such as New Hampshire, Washington, South Dakota, Virginia, Wisconsin, and several others. Nearly the same qualifications and eligibility apply.

International Qualifications Exam (IQEX)

International accountants can take the CPA exam through the IQEX by joining particular non-US professional organizations that have agreements with the NASBA/AICPA International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB). Passing the IQEX exam will boost your credentials if you are an accounting professional and a member of specific non-U.S. professional groups. 
Eight organizations maintain these agreements with the U.S.:
  • CPA Australia 
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) 
  • CPA Canada (CPAC) 
  • Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) 
  • Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI) 
  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) 
  • Instituto Mexicano de Contadores Pblicos (IMCP) 
  • South African Institute of Chartered Accountants 
If you belong to one of these organizations, you may be able to take the IQEX.

How to Apply for an IQEX?

  • Fill out the NASBA application form online.
  • Ensure that your credentialing institution delivers NASBA a letter of good standing. When NASBA receives your application and letter, they will distribute the notification to schedule an interview (NTS). 
  • When you receive the NTS, please double-check that all of the information is correct. If not, contact NASBA for assistance.
  • Exam scheduling is done via Prometric's website.
  • Bring the NTS and two pieces of identification on the exam day.


1. Which state has the easiest CPA requirements?

Among all the states, Colorado (C.O.) may have the most favorable CPA USA requirements. You don't need job experience to become certified; it doesn't even require 150 hours. Colorado is one of the places where it is simplest to take the CPA test and obtain a license because there is no requirement to be a U.S. citizen, a resident of C.O., or to be a specific age. 

2. Which U.S. state is best for CPA?

 Several states allow overseas candidates to pursue a CPA; your eligibility will rely on your graduation-level score and accounting credits. CPA USA requirements for giving the Exam are almost similar in all the states. The top states in 2022 for certified public accountants are shown below:
  • District of Columbia
  • New Jersey
  • Virginia
  • New York
  • Delaware
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland

3. What does a CPA earn in the United States?

The average starting salary for CPAs in the U.S. is $66,000 per year, according to the AICPA study. Senior CPAs in management roles often make more than $100,000 on a regular basis. Most CPAs may anticipate earning in the upper five figures. A CPA in the U.S. makes an average income of $119,000 a year, but with 20 years of experience, one might expect to earn more than $160,000. If you are fulfilling all the CPA USA requirements and pass the Exam, you will be able to start working with good compensation.

4. Do I need a degree to sit for the CPA exam?

You should check with your state or jurisdiction to see what are the CPA USA requirements for taking or sitting for the CPA Exam. Being a CPA without an accounting degree is very achievable because many experienced and certified CPAs also hold degrees in finance or economics. Most jurisdictions, however, demand that applicants have a bachelor's degree in accounting to sit for the CPA exam, so you must pay particular attention to your state's criteria.

5. How many accounting credits are required for CPA?

The majority of applicants for the CPA test must have either earned a bachelor's degree or 120 college credits. The CPA USA requirements to sit for the CPA exam vary across the boards of the various states or jurisdictions in the U.S. If you hold a B.Com degree with the first division from a NAAC-A certified university, you will be eligible for an additional 30 credits, bringing your total credits to 120. However, some states mandate that applicants finish a minimum of 150 college credits before being allowed to take the test.

6. Can I do CPA USA from India?

Yes, it is possible to study CPA USA from India. In India, there are two phases to becoming a CPA:
One is to pass the test.
Second, get the license.
One must first meet the minimum CPA USA requirements to pass the Exam. Only after passing the Exam must you submit an application for the license. There are further eligibility requirements to obtain the license, such as should be at least 18 years old and having 2,000 hours of work experience in accounting or other related fields.

7. Can a non-US citizen become a CPA?

If you fulfill the qualifying CPA USA requirements for the Board of Accountancy in one of the 55 U.S. jurisdictions, you can be eligible to become a licensed U.S. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) even if you are not a citizen of the country. The Uniform CPA Examination (the Exam) must be taken in English.


CPA provides people with excellent job prospects. As a professional degree, it ensures a bright job for every candidate. The CPA USA certification course will give you work security, financial stability, monetary advantages, and fulfillment. To apply for the Exam, one must meet the CPA USA requirements and be eligible.
If you seek an academy to assist you with your CPA path, you may count on NorthStar Academy. The CPA certification course offered by the institution can help you advance in your career. With mock exams, pre-recorded lessons, and special study material, one may undoubtedly prepare for and pass the Exam in one sitting. It's time for you to go forward, become a licensed CPA, establish your independence, and reach your full potential.
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