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Reciprocity Between Canada, the United States and Mexico

The Tri-National Mutual Recognition Agreement for International Practice of Architecture was jointly developed by the Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities (CALA), the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and the Federacion de Colegios de Arquitectos de la Republica Mexicana (FCARM) in order to remove barriers and provide qualified architects the opportunity to offer professional services across borders while ensuring the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.
The terms of the MRA outline specific requirements that architects must satisfy when pursuing mutual recognition. Qualified architects from each country will be granted a credential that will lead to a license to practice architecture in the host country. These requirements include educational and experience qualifications, as well as submitting documentation to confirm the individual’s credentials. A few of the basic eligibility requirements include:
  • Citizenship or permanent residency status in the United States, Canada, or Mexico
  • Completion of a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB/CCCA), Acreditadora Naciaonal de Programas de Arquitectura y Disciplinas del Espacio Habitable (ANPADEH), or recognized equivalent;
  • A minimum of 10 years of post-licensure experience in their home jurisdiction;
  • Proof of “Good Standing” in their home jurisdiction as verified by the local regulatory authority;
  • Knowledge of the codes, laws, and other matters applicable to the Practice of Architecture in the host country;
  • Submission of a dossier of work to satisfy the specific competencies outlined in the agreement related to “responsible control and comprehensive practice”;
  • Completion of an interview before a review panel in the host country conducted in the language of the host country.

Additional details on the eligibility requirements and application process are included in Tri-National MRA Forms. [Forms in English, French and Spanish are now available.]
Tri-National Competencies
An applicant seeking reciprocity through the Tri-National Mutual Recognition Agreement is required to submit a dossier of work that demonstrates the following professional competencies. Learn More
Language Requirements
Competence in the language of the host country is an underlying requirement of the agreement. Application forms should be completed in the language of the host country. During the interview process, the architect will be expected to communicate their competence and respond to questions in the language of the host country without the assistance of translators.
Home Country Status
Architects licensed in Canada must have hold a current licence/registration that is in good standing in one of the CALA jurisdictions. Architects licensed in a U.S. jurisdiction must have an active and current NCARB Certificate. Mexican architects must first qualify for and complete the CONARC Certification process. Architects pursuing recognition through the Tri-National MRA should contact the national regulatory authority in their home country to understand all eligibility requirements prior to completing the application forms. In Canada, additional information and application can be obtained from CALA via the Ontario Association of Architects

Fees for completing the Tri-National MRA process will be assessed by the national regulatory authority of the host country and are subject to change.
Application: $500
Dossier Review: $2,000
Interview: $5,000
Additional fees may be assessed by the individual provincial/territorial or state authorities for initial licensure and license renewal.
The path to the Tri-National Agreement has its origins in the passage of NAFTA in 1994, which spurred a decade of discussions between leaders and regulators of the architecture profession in the United State, Canada, and Mexico regarding ways to facilitate the mutual recognition of licensure credentials among all three countries. 
The initial agreement, signed in 2005 by the leaders of the profession in all three countries, marked what many considered to be one of the first professional services recognition programs under NAFTA. The study of the path to licensure in each country, the subsequent negotiations, the pilot program, and the final mechanisms for implementation continued over the following years, with support from volunteer leaders and staff from all three countries’ licensing authorities.

Tri-National Press Release