A proposed agreement by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) in the United States and its United Kingdom counterpart, the Architects Registration Board (ARB), will allow registered architects looking to expand their purview across the Atlantic to practice and form professional networks in both countries.
The Mutual Recognition Agreement between the two countries follows similar models the U.S. currently holds with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Mexico. Talk of the treaty began in late 2018 when former NCARB president Gregory L. Erny tapped experts familiar with architecture education and the licensure examinations to review requirements stateside and in the U.K. This analysis confirmed the registration process in the U.K. matches the rigor and expertise of that in the U.S.
“The arrangement is an exciting opportunity for architects seeking to expand their careers internationally,” said NCARB president Alfred Vidaurri Jr. in a press release. “One of the primary benefits enjoyed by NCARB Certificate holders is the ability to pursue reciprocal licensure, and this agreement expands those benefits to a new continent.”
In order to qualify for the reciprocal license, architects practicing in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands must possess an active NCARB certification and valid licensure/registration in their home country–achieved by holding a degree from an accredited architecture program, having finished the NCARB experience scheme, and passing the licensing examination–and lawful authorization to work in the locality they are registered in. Comparably, architects in the U.K. seeking opportunities and work in the U.S. will need to possess the requirements set forth by the ARB. These requirements differ from that of the reciprocity agreement held with Mexico, where in addition to a valid license and accredited degree, architects are required to possess a minimum of 10 years of post-licensure experience in their respective home country.
“The U.K. and U.S.A. are among the world’s leaders in architecture. A mutual recognition agreement will reinforce this further, helping eligible professionals to register between the two countries, sharing their skills and services,” Alan Kershaw, chair of the Architects Registration Board said in a statement. “We’re therefore delighted to see the agreement has been approved by NCARB’s boards. This is a significant step towards its completion and one that many architects in the U.K. will be pleased to see.”
While the NCARB membership has ratified the agreement, the 55 individual jurisdictions will choose whether to adopt the Mutual Recognition Agreement. Prior to its official rollout, the Agreement must receive final review and approval from the U.K. This is expected to transpire by early 2023 and 60 days after signature, from both authorities, the Agreement would be in operation. Additionally, within three years of the implemented arrangement, both licensure bodies, the NCARB and ARB, will be required to assess and review the agreement’s requirements adding updates or amending conditions as needed.