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U.S. and European Architects Sign Mutual Recognition Agreement on Professional Qualifications

At the Architects Council of Europe (ACE) General Assembly, held in Luxembourg on November 18 and 19, ACE, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), and the AIA signed an agreement for "mutual recognition of professional qualifications between architects of the European Union and the United States."

With such recognition, says Ellen Delage, director of international relations at the AIA, U.S. architects with at least seven years of substantial post-licensure experience would be considered eligible to apply for a license to practice in 25 European countries, and vice-versa. The agreement comes after about five years of negotiations between the signatories, says Delage. It is the first mutual recognition of professional credentials to be signed between representatives of the EU and the U.S. It will, says AIA first vice president Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, give architects more international mobility, and help unify qualifications standards across borders.

The ACE has already ratified the agreement. AIA officials expect that the NCARB and AIA boards will ratify it next year. After ratification, a final legal agreement would be negotiated for adoption by the European Commission and by U.S. states and commonwealths.

Sam Lubell