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Substantially Equivalent

When a Virginia License is NOT Required

An individual who holds the license of another state or jurisdiction and meets the substantially equivalent provisions of § 54.1-4411, Code of Virginia, is NOT required to hold a Virginia license to use the CPA title in Virginia, provided that EITHER of the following is true:

  • The licensee provides services to the public using the CPA title and the principal place of business in which those services are provided is in another state or jurisdiction; OR
  • The licensee does not provide services to the public using the CPA title.

To use the CPA title in Virginia, a licensee from another state or jurisdiction agrees to be subject to:

  • Code of Virginia and Board Regulations that apply to Virginia licensees;
  • The jurisdiction of the Board in all disciplinary proceedings arising out of matters related to the use of the CPA title in Virginia; AND
  • The authority of the Board to revoke or suspend the privilege to use the CPA title in Virginia and to impose penalties for violations of Code of Virginia statutes and Board Regulations.

The Board considers a licensee from another state or jurisdiction to have met requirements for substantially equivalent if:

  • The education, CPA Exam, and experience requirements (3 E’s) of the state or jurisdiction are substantially equivalent to those prescribed by the Board; OR
  • The licensee has demonstrated meeting the education, CPA Exam, and experience requirements (3 E’s) that are substantially equivalent to those prescribed by the Board.

An individual from another state or jurisdiction agrees to cease using the CPA title in Virginia if no longer licensed.

When a Virginia License IS Required

A licensee from another state or jurisdiction must be licensed in Virginia if the licensee provides services to the public using the CPA title AND the principal place of business in which those services are provided is in Virginia.

A licensee in another state or jurisdiction may apply for a Virginia license under the substantially equivalent licensure requirements of Section 23 of the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA). First, the licensee must confirm that the CPA licensure requirements of the state or jurisdiction in which the license is held has been reviewed by the National Qualification Appraisal Service (NQAS) of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and determined to be substantially equivalent to the UAA. The NQAS recognizes the following categories of substantially equivalent on the NASBA website.

  • State or jurisdiction is listed as substantially equivalent without an asterisk. Proceed to licensure in Virginia by:


    1. Submitting a certificate of completion with exam score of 90% or better to the VBOA of the self-study course (8 credit hours) from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Professional Ethics: AICPA's Comprehensive Course.
    2. Login to apply for licensure in Virginia.  Pursuant to § 54.1-116, Code of Virginia, all CPA License applicants must provide a social security number or control number issued by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. If unable to apply for licensure using the VBOA online feature, contact the VBOA.
    3. Requesting that a copy of the license status and CPA Exam scores be sent from each board of accountancy where the CPA license is currently held to the Virginia Board of Accountancy (VBOA).
  • State or jurisdiction is listed as substantially equivalent with 1 asterisk. The licensee may proceed for licensure in Virginia only if holding an active CPA license with that state or jurisdiction. Follow steps 1-3 above. If not holding an active CPA license with that state or jurisdiction, substantially equivalent does not apply and the individual must apply for an Initial CPA License in Virginia.
  • State or jurisdiction is listed as substantially equivalent with 2 asterisks. Substantially equivalent does not apply and the individual must apply for an Initial CPA License in Virginia.
  • State or jurisdiction is listed as non-substantially equivalent. The individual must apply for an Initial CPA License in Virginia.

Use of the CPA title is not permitted until approval of the license (shown as Active) is posted on the VBOA’s Licensee Search and, therefore, made available for public confirmation.

Substantially Equivalent Licensee in Virginia

To use the CPA title in Virginia, a licensee from another state or jurisdiction agrees to:

  • The appointment of the Executive Director of the board of accountancy of the state or jurisdiction that issued the license as an agent upon whom process may be served (a) in any action or proceeding by the Board against the licensee, or (b) in any civil action in Virginia courts arising out the use of the CPA title in Virginia. If the licensee holds more than one license from more than one state or jurisdiction, the Board determines which Executive Director will serve as agent; AND
  • Personal and subject matter jurisdiction of the courts of Virginia in any civil action arising out of the use of the CPA title in Virginia and agrees that the proper venue for such actions is in Virginia.

The Board may cooperate and share information with appropriate authorities in other states or jurisdictions in regards to investigations or enforcement matters concerning violations of the Code of Virginia statutes and Board Regulations and comparable statutes or board of accountancy regulations of other states and jurisdictions.

Substantially Equivalent Virginia Licensee in Another State or Jurisdiction

A licensee from Virginia who is using the CPA title in another state or jurisdiction under substantially equivalent statutes or board of accountancy regulations of the state or jurisdiction is subject to disciplinary action by the Board for an act or omission committed in that state or jurisdiction. The Board may investigate any complaint made to or by the board of accountancy of any state or jurisdiction related to the use of the CPA title in that state or jurisdiction.

The Board may cooperate and share information with appropriate authorities in other states or jurisdictions in regards to investigations or enforcement matters concerning violations of the Code of Virginia statutes and Board Regulations and comparable statutes or board of accountancy regulations of other states and jurisdictions.