Quick Guide:  Licensure Pathway for Foreign Candidates – Requirements & Documentation

Applicants licensed in foreign countries, without mutual recognition agreements recommended by the U.S. International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB) and recognized by Florida have to meet the same requirements as domestic applicants for initial licensure:

  • apply and be deemed eligible to sit for the CPA exam,
  • pass all 4 sections of the U.S. CPA Examination within a rolling 18-month period.
  • satisfy the one-year work experience requirement
  • must have a U.S. Social Security number
  • apply and be approved for the Florida CPA license.

These foreign applicants have the same educational requirements as domestic initial licensure applicants.

Education Requirements to sit for the U.S. CPA Exam:

Total required hours to sit for the CPA Exam:  120 semester hours or 180 quarter hours to include:

  •  24 semester or 36 quarter hours of upper-division accounting hours and
  • 24 semester or 36 quarter hours of upper-division general business hours to include
    • 3 semester or 4 quarter hours of business law based on U.S. laws

Additional information regarding details on these requirements are located at:

Certified Public Accounting – Education Requirements

Note on Accreditation:

Florida requires a degree from a college or university accredited by an approved accrediting entity.  See the list of acceptable accrediting associations at Certified Public Accounting – Education Requirements

For applicants with degrees from unaccredited universities, Florida offers a path to be deemed a graduate of a four-year accredited college or university.  This path requires that an accredited college or university accept the applicant’s non-accredited baccalaureate degree and the applicant completes 15 semester hours or 22 quarter hours of graduate-level courses, at the accredited university.  Of these 15 semester hours, at least 9 semester hours or 12 quarter hours must be in accounting with at least 3 of those semester hours or 4 quarter hours in taxation.  Elementary accounting courses or their equivalent may not be used to satisfy the requirements of this rule.  The applicant will be deemed a graduate of an accredited four-year college upon completion of these additional hours.

Florida’s education requirements for licensure include the specific requirements of:

  • 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours of financial accounting based upon the United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
  • 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours of taxation based upon United States federal and state laws.
  • 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours of business law courses based on United States federal and state laws.

The same graduate-level courses used to satisfy the 15 semester hour accreditation requirement can be used to satisfy this 9-hour requirement.

Documentation:

When applying to sit for the CPA Exam please submit the following:

Requirements for Licensure in Florida:

Total Required Hours: 150 semester or 225 quarter hours to include a baccalaureate degree or higher conferred by an accredited college or university with a major in accounting or its equivalent and to include:

  • 30 semester or 45 quarter hours of upper-division accounting hours to include coverage in auditing, and cost accounting, and three (3) semester or four (4) quarter hours of financial accounting and three (3) semester or four (4) quarter hours of taxation both of which must be based on USA accounting standards and
  • 36 semester or 54 quarter hours of general business hours to include three (3) semester or four (4) quarter hours of business law based on USA Law

Note: All accounting courses and not less than 21 semester or 32 quarter hours of general business courses must be at the upper-division level. For the purpose of paragraph 61H1-27.002(2)(b), F.A.C., all general business courses, including accounting courses in excess of the 30 semester hours required, must be taken at the upper-division level, except for Introductory Macro and Micro Economics, Business Law, Introductory Statistics, Introduction to Computer Information Systems, and any written or oral communication course described in paragraph 61H1-27.002(2)(b), F.A.C. Lower level general business courses, other than those listed above, posted to transcripts after August 31, 1989, will not count. Standardized tests, such as CLEP, are not acceptable for accounting or general business courses; however, advanced placement (AP) courses will be counted if the applicant has been granted college credit for those AP courses by their degree-granting institution

Work Experience:

The applicant for licensure must have at least one year of work experience commencing after completion of 120 semester or 180 quarter hours from an accredited college or university. The work experience must be verified by a licensed CPA. Refer to Section 473.308(4) (b), F.S for exemptions. The verifying CPA must be in good standing both during the applicant’s year of work experience and at the time of verification. The verifying CPA does not have to be your supervisor.

Documentation:

When applying for Licensure submit the following

  • DBPR CPA 2 CPA Licensure Application and a $50 non-refundable fee
  • Official Transcripts (in rare instances, another evaluation in addition to the one prepared for the application to sit for the CPA exam may be required.)
  • DBPR CPA 32 Verification of Work Experience– evidencing a minimum of 1 year of work experience commencing after completion of the 120 semester hours or 180 quarter hours required to sit for the exam. The verification form must be signed by a certified public accountant who was licensed during the time of work and who is currently licensed in the practice of public accountancy.

Need Help?

All requests for publications, documents, forms, applications for licenses, permits and other similar certifications can be obtained by contacting the Customer Contact Center.

Roger Scarborough, Director
Division of Certified Public Accounting
240 NW 76th Drive, Suite A
Gainesville, FL 32607

Telephone: 850.487.1395
Facsimile: 352.333.2508