North American Architects Sign Mutual Recognition Agreement

The leadership of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE), respectively representing the profession of architecture in the United States and the European Union (EU), met in Luxembourg, November 19, 2005 to sign a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA).

Once ratified, the MRA will establish the recognition of qualifications for architects between the EU and the U.S in the context of the Transatlantic Economic Partnership. It is expected to facilitate reciprocal recognition of architects between the United States and the countries of the European Union. Important aspects of the agreement include:

  • Architects from both the EU and the United States shall demonstrate a period of not less than fourteen years including formal education, registration/licensure and practice, at least seven years of which shall be in certified post-registration/ licensure practice.
  • The documentation requirement is expected to be determined following ratification of the Agreement.
  • Neither a United States Trade Representative (USTR) nor NCARB can force states to accept EU architects who are NCARB-certified under the agreement. However, NCARB will use its persuasive powers to convince its member boards to accept architects who are certified under the Agreement.

The MRA must be ratified by the regulatory organizations in the United States and the European Union. NCARB Member Boards will be the last to vote on the ratification in June 2006, after which representatives of the US and EU will meet again to work out the implementation details for the Agreement. As a result, architects will be able to avail themselves of the opportunities offered by the MRA in late 2006 or early 2007.