Navigating the CPA Exam as an International Student: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating the CPA Exam as an International Student: A Comprehensive Guide

Becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an esteemed accomplishment, and for international students aspiring to achieve this, understanding the application process, eligibility criteria, testing locations, and available resources is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we will break down the steps and considerations for international students pursuing the CPA Exam.


For international students, the path to becoming a CPA involves engaging with a participating State Board of Accountancy. However, it's essential to note that not all jurisdictions participate in the international administration of the CPA Exam, as outlined by The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). The following jurisdictions do not participate:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • The U.S Virgin Islands

Each jurisdiction may have unique requirements, so thorough research is imperative before deciding on the best fit. It's recommended for candidates to review state-specific requirements on the NASBA website.

A notable point is that the CPA Exam is exclusively available in English, and there is no provision for the exam in any other language.

Application Process

The application process for international candidates closely mirrors that of regular CPA applicants. As per the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) website, here are the key steps for international candidates:

  • Select a U.S Jurisdiction: Choose a jurisdiction and contact the respective Board of Accountancy to obtain the necessary application materials.
  • Complete the Application: Fill out the application, ensuring compliance with any additional requirements for international candidates, and submit the required fees.
  • Confirmation of Eligibility: Once confirmed as eligible, schedule your exam.

Testing Locations

After successfully completing the application process and confirming eligibility, international students must identify a testing location. Prometric test centers are the designated venues for the Uniform CPA Exam for international candidates. Countries offering international testing sites include:

  • Bahrain
  • Brazil
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)

To find specific test centers for each country listed above, candidates can refer to the Prometric website.

CPA Exam Review Materials

International candidates face a unique challenge in preparing for the CPA Exam as some questions may reference U.S. laws and practices unfamiliar to them. To bridge this gap, investing in CPA Exam Review materials is advisable. The Vishal Bundle CPA Exam Review, a comprehensive package encompassing lectures, textbooks, simulations, practice questions, mock exams, flashcards, and a final review module, proves beneficial on the journey to becoming a CPA.

Vishal collaborates with global education providers to ensure that international students receive localized assistance. The availability of a global partner can be found on the Vishal website.

Additional Resources

For additional information and clarifications, international candidates are encouraged to explore AICPA's International Testing FAQ and NASBA’s International Administration page. The complexity of the CPA Exam may seem daunting, but the International Customer Support team is readily available to assist, making the journey smoother for international candidates.

Embarking on the CPA Exam journey as an international student involves navigating specific nuances and procedures. From understanding eligibility criteria to selecting an appropriate testing location and accessing comprehensive review materials, each step is integral to success. The commitment to becoming a CPA is commendable, and with the right guidance and resources, international students can confidently stride towards achieving this esteemed professional milestone. If you're an international student aspiring to be a CPA, embrace the challenge, leverage available support, and get ready to write your success story in the world of accounting.

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