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Landmark UK-USA agreement to open up the architects’ profession

February 16, 2023 | News Release

ARB and NCARB sign mutual recognition agreement

A new UK-US mutual recognition agreement (MRA) is being signed on Thursday 16 February, between the UK’s Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the US’s National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

Both the UK and US are leaders in global architecture and this agreement is the first of its kind that ARB has signed, meaning that eligible architects can more easily register to work in each country.

In both the United Kingdom and the United States of America, anyone practicing as an architect must join the relevant Register to use the legally protected title. Registration exists to ensure anyone calling themselves an architect has the appropriate skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours. The new agreement will open up professional registration by streamlining registration processes and reducing costs and examinations, whilst upholding and maintaining the high standards and safety that help to protect the public in both nations.


Hugh Simpson, Chief Executive and Registrar, Architects Registration Board, said:

“Signing this MRA – creating a reciprocal arrangement whereby UK architects can register and practice in participating jurisdictions within the United States – is an exciting moment for the sector. The agreement helps to open up opportunities for cooperation between individuals and firms in the UK and United States in a way which upholds standards.”


Michael Armstrong, CEO, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, said:

“Through this agreement, NCARB celebrates a new relationship with the United Kingdom as it continues to enhance the value of the NCARB Certificate as a facilitator of domestic and international mobility for many U.S. licensed practitioners. We are pleased to sign this Mutual Recognition Agreement emphasizing a shared approach of appropriate rigor in guiding the licensure of architects, thus furthering our mutual desire to enhance the global health, safety and welfare of the public.”


Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch said:

“This landmark agreement will pave the way for our world-class architects to export their expertise across the Atlantic.

“Removing market access barriers is one of my top priorities, and this latest win will further strengthen our trading ties with the US, building on recent success getting British beef and lamb on American supermarket shelves for the first time in decades, and gaining tariff-free access for UK steel and aluminium.”


The agreement has been signed as part of ARB’s new approach to registering international architects, made possible by new legislation that has followed the UK’s exit from the EU.

ARB and NCARB are finalising the procedures for architects to register in either country, and will open for applications on 25 April 2023. To support this agreement, ARB has created the UK Adaptation Assessment to review applicants’ understanding of the UK-specific context of practising architecture, ensuring that anyone who joins the Register meets the standard required to practise safely and effectively in the UK.

UK architects who would like to join a US Register can learn more about the procedure as soon as applications open on 25 April on ARB’s website at

Architects registered in the USA can learn more on NCARB’s website at

Photography by Brian Wheatley


Notes for Editors

ARB is now able to enter into mutual recognition agreements following the Professional Qualifications Act 2022 and subsequent secondary legislation. ARB and NCARB have been negotiating and developing the agreement for over five years in anticipation of this.

The agreement is based on ARB and NCARB mutually recognising relevant qualifications in each country as comparable and equivalent to their own. This then makes it easier for an architect who qualified in one country to register in the other because they are already seen to meet certain standards.

The agreement contains eligibility requirements that will apply to individuals using the routes.

More information on eligibility and requirements to join the UK Register through the agreement is available on ARB’s website here.

More information on eligibility and requirements to practise in the USA and its state-level jurisdictions is available on NCARB’s website here. Please note that each separate jurisdiction makes an independent decision about whether to participate in the Agreement.



The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is an independent professional regulator, established by Parliament as a statutory body, through the Architects Act, in 1997. It is accountable to government. The law gives ARB a number of core functions:

  • To ensure only those who are suitably competent are allowed to practise as architects. ARB does this by approving the qualifications required to join the UK Register of Architects.
  • ARB maintains a publicly available Register of Architects so anyone using the services of an architect can be confident that they are suitably qualified and are fit to practise.
  • ARB sets the standards of conduct and practice the profession must meet and take action when any architect falls below the required standards of conduct or competence.
  • ARB protects the legally restricted title ‘architect’.



The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) is a non-profit organisation made up of the architectural licensing boards of 55 U.S. states and territories. While each jurisdiction is responsible for regulating the practice of architecture within its borders, NCARB develops and administers national programs for candidates pursuing architectural licensure and helps architects expand their professional reach through the NCARB Certificate.


For questions and information requests, please contact ARB Communications on

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