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We recognise you may have questions about what the UK’s withdrawal from the EU means for you and architects’ profession.

We have put together a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) which we hope help explain the current situation.  We keep the FAQs under constant review and make relevant changes as the situation develops. They were last reviewed in October 2020.

You can use our Talk to Us page if you have a question not covered below or if you would like more information.

1. Has the regulation of architects in the UK changed?

No – there have been no changes to the Architects Act 1997, which underpins the work we do, and therefore our operations remain the same as before Exit Day.

As we understand it, all the existing arrangements with the EU (such as the Automatic and General System routes that are covered by the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive) will continue to operate as they currently do during the implementation period.

2. What is the EU Exit implementation period?

The UK and EU entered the ‘implementation period’ at 11pm on 31 January 2020. It is currently set to end on 31 December 2020. During the implementation period the UK and the EU will negotiate new arrangements on trade and other areas of co-operation.

3. What is happening in regards to mutual recognition agreements with the rest of the world?

A mutual recognition agreement is an international agreement between countries who agree to recognise each other’s legal decisions in specified areas.

The Government is ultimately responsible for negotiating free trade agreements with other countries, as well as setting out ARB’s role and responsibilities in this area.

We have been exploring the possibility of establishing mutual recognition agreements in relation to the registration of architects with counterpart organisations, including relevant organisations in Australia and New Zealand. Detailed information has been shared to establish the foundations upon which potential recognition agreements could be based.

As the UK’s relationship with the EU becomes clearer, we will support Government as requested in this area.

4. How is ARB managing the EU Exit process?

We have been following matters closely and have a schedule of work in place to facilitate any resulting change to regulation, enabling us to continue to protect the public and support architects through regulation.

We will continue to provide definitive, practical information to the profession and our stakeholders via our website and other channels as matters develop.

We will continue to provide technical advice to Government Departments to assist negotiations between the UK and EU.



  • ARB – Architects Registration Board
  • Article 50 – the clause in the EU Lisbon Treaty that outlines the steps to be taken by a country seeking to leave the EU
  • Competent authority – a person or organisation with the legal authority to deal with a particular matter. ARB is the competent authority for architects in the UK.  We ensure effective regulation of architects operating in more than one EEA and facilitate the requirements of the PQD which enables appropriately qualified architects to work in different parts of Europe.
  • DExEU – Department for Exiting the European Union, the UK government department responsible for managing the UK’s withdrawal from the EU
  • Deal – an EU Exit ‘deal’ scenario referred to the UK and EU agreeing on the text of a Withdrawal Agreement prior to Exit Day, after which an implementation period would begin.
  • EC rights – Enforceable Community rights
  • EEA – European Economic Area – a free trade zone consisting of the member states of the EU, plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein
  • EU – European Union – an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries
  • EU national – citizens of the EU, which currently includes the UK
  • Exit Day – 11pm on 31 January 2020, the day on which the UK ceased to be a member of the EU. Exit Day had previously been set for 29 March 2019, 12 April 2019, 1 June 2019 and 31 October 2019.
  • Implementation Period (also known as the transition period) – the time-limited adjustment period (from Exit Day to 31 December 2020) to allow Government to negotiate arrangements for the UK’s future relationship with the EU, and to allow businesses and citizens to prepare for the new permanent arrangements that will apply to the UK at the end of the implementation period. During this time the UK will continue to be subject to EU rules and remain a member of the single market and customs union.
  • Listed qualification – a qualification approved through the European Commission’s notification process and listed under Annex V of the PQD
  • Member State – a state to which the Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC) applies on the basis of legislation
  • Mutual recognition – a process through which ARB (and other EU competent authorities) automatically recognise listed qualifications under Annex V of the PQD for the purposes of registration in that jurisdiction
  • No deal – A ‘no deal’ scenario referred to no agreement being made between the UK and the EU by Exit Day and the UK leaving the EU without any declaration as to how the UK-EU relationship would work after this date
  • Prescribed qualification – a qualification approved through ARB’s prescription process by the ARB Board and listed in Schedule 1 of the Board’s General Rules
  • Qualifications Directive – Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC)
  • Referendum – a method of referring a question or set of questions directly to an entire electorate.
  • RIBA – Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Technical Notice – guidance from the Department for Exiting the European Union on how to prepare for the UK’s departure from the EU if there is a no deal
  • UK – United Kingdom
  • UK national – citizens of the UK and Northern Ireland
  • Withdrawal Agreement – the agreement being negotiated between the EU and the UK setting out the arrangements for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on Exit Day and a declaration of how the UK-EU relationship will work after the transition period

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