Virginia Architect License Exam

How to Get Your Virginia Architect License

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On this page, you’ll find an exhaustive guide on the Virginia Architect License Requirements and the Architect Registration process in Virginia. It provides all the crucial information you need including state regulations, application fees, and filing instructions among other relevant details. If you need any assistance related to the licensing process, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to offer further details about our software and managed license services to support your needs.

How do I become an architect in Virginia?

To become a licensed architect in Virginia, you need to fulfill the following requirements: complete a professional degree in architecture from an NAAB-accredited program, acquire three years of practical experience supervised by a licensed architect, pass all divisions of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) within five years, and apply for licensure with the Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA).

The licensure application requires submission of relevant documents, payment of fees, and verification of education, experience, and exam scores. It is also essential to comply with continuing education requirements to maintain your license, which involves completing approved coursework every two years. By meeting these criteria, you can obtain a license to practice architecture in Virginia and pursue a fulfilling career in the field.

How Do I Take The Architect Registration Examination In Virginia?

Company Licenses

Virginia Business Entity Branch Office Registration

  • Agency: Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects
  • Is an exam required?: Not Set
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Yes

First-Time Applicants

The following information pertains to architectural firms seeking an initial license in Virginia. If you currently possess a license and wish to renew it, please refer to the renewal section.

Registration Renewal

This section pertains to architectural firms that are currently licensed in Maryland and are in the process of renewing their license.

Amendment

  • Fill out the Business Entity Application (Change of Status)
  • Submission method: via email to apelscidla@dpor.virginia.gov
  • Agency Fee: $0
  • Law: 18 VAC 10-20-660
  • Due: Registered entities in Virginia are required to promptly report any changes in their status to the board. This includes changes such as entity type, name (including assumed names), address, place of business, or responsible persons at each place of business. The registered entity must notify the board within 30 days of the occurrence of any such changes. It is important to ensure compliance with this requirement to maintain accurate and up-to-date records with the board.
  • Notarize is required

Reinstatemet

Individual Licenses

Virginia Architect License

  • Agency: Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Not Set
  • Is an exam required?: Yes
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set

First-Time Applicants

Reciprocal Registration

  • Fill out the Architect License Application
  • Agency Fee: $75
  • Note: Applicants seeking licensure via comity without an NCARB Certificate Record need to meet the eligibility requirements that were active in Virginia when they initially obtained licensure in another jurisdiction. If applicants don’t satisfy the Virginia stipulations that were active at the time of their original licensure, they will need to comply with Virginia’s entry prerequisites that are in effect when the fully completed comity application arrives at the Board’s office.

Must-have Attachments

  • When applying with an NCARB Certificate Record:
    • Architect License Application
    • An NCARB Certificate Record that includes validation of current licensure in another state, jurisdiction, U.S. territory, or Canadian province.
  • When applying without an NCARB Certificate Record:
    • Architect License Application
    • Three Architect Reference Forms (less than a year old), completed by licensed Architects who have been acquainted with the applicant for at least one year, and who have been associated with the applicant in the past 5 years;
    • Either an Experience Verification Form or Client Verification Form to document the required experience;
    • Degree Verification Form or an Official Transcript; and
    • A Verification of Examination and Licensure Form to validate a passing score on a nationally-recognized examination that leads to architect licensure.

Registration Renewal

Virginia Business Entity Registration

  • Agency: Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects 
  • Law: VA Code § 54.1-411
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Yes
  • Is an exam required?: Not Set
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set
  • Eligible Entity Types:
  • Business Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Partnerships
  • Ownership Requirements:

Business Corporations:

  • No licensure requirements for officers.
  • At least one full-time employee or resident principal licensed or certified in each profession offered or practiced at each branch must provide effective supervision and control of the final professional product.

Limited Liability Companies:

  • No licensure requirements for members.
  • At least one full-time employee or resident principal licensed or certified in each profession offered or practiced at each branch must provide effective supervision and control of the final professional product.

Partnerships:

  • No licensure requirements for partners.
  • At least one full-time employee or resident principal licensed or certified in each profession offered or practiced at each branch must provide effective supervision and control of the final professional product.

First-Time Applicants

The following information pertains to architectural firms seeking an initial license in Virginia. If you currently possess a license and wish to renew it, please refer to the renewal section.

  • Fill out the Business Entity Application
  • Submission method: via mail to Virginia State Corporation Commission, P.O. Box 1197. Richmond, Virginia 23218 
  • Agency Fee: $90
  • Turnaround: 15 to 20 business days after successful submittal
  • Notarize is required

Before Applying, Take In Consideration:

  1. Identify a design professional licensed in Virginia to oversee the firm’s professional operations in Virginia for each of the professional services the firm provides
  1. For each professional service that the firm offers, assign a Virginia-licensed design professional to act as the person responsible for overseeing the firm’s professional activities within Virginia.
  2. Acquire authenticated copies of the entity’s establishment documents, including all amendments and consolidations from its native state. These documents should be filed along with the foreign qualification documents. Ensure that the certified copies have been dated within a year before the date of filing foreign qualification documents in Virginia.

How to Apply:

  1. Submit the entity creation documents to the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
  2. Provide a Business Entity Registration Application to the Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects. Attach a copy of the entity’s establishment certificate and organizational papers (corporation charter and bylaws if a corporation, partnership contract if a partnership). If adopting a business or pseudonym, add a copy of the certificate registered with the State Corporation Commission for the name.
  1. Submit foreign accreditation documents to the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
  2. Provide a Business Entity Registration Application to the Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects. Include a copy of the entity’s foreign accreditation certificate and, if a corporation, the entity’s articles of incorporation, bylaws, and charter. If adopting a trade or pseudonym, add a copy of the certificate registered with the State Corporation Commission for the name.

Must-have Attachments

In case a pseudonym or an assumed name is being utilized, a copy of the certificate registered with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) must be included.

Registration Renewal

  • Fill out the Business Entity Registration Renewal Form
  • Submission method: mail or online
  • Agency Fee: $45
  • Due: Applications are due by the 31st of December during odd-numbered years. Applications for renewal can be submitted as early as 90 days before the expiration date.
  • Note: A renewal notice is automatically sent to the recorded business address approximately 45 days before the expiration date.

Amendment

  • Fill out the Business Entity Application (Change of Status)
  • Submission method: via Email to apelscidla@dpor.virginia.gov
  • Agency Fee: $0
  • Due: The board must be informed of any changes in status, such as changes in the entity, name (including trade names), address, place of business, or responsible individuals at each place of business within 30 days of the change by the registered entity.
  • Law: 18 VAC 10-20-660
  • Notarize is required

Reinstatement

  • Fill out the Business Entity Application (Reinstatement)
  • Agency Fee: There is a fee of $150 for licenses that have been expired for a minimum of 6 months but less than 5 years, and $300 for licenses that have been expired for more than 5 years.

Virginia Professional Corporation Branch Office Registration

  • Agency: Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects 
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Not Set
  • Is an exam required?: Not Set
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set

First-Time Applicants

The following information pertains to architectural firms seeking an initial license in Virginia. If you currently possess a license and wish to renew it, please refer to the renewal section.

Registration Renewal

Amendment

  • Agency Fee: $0
  • Note: Forms for amendments aren’t supplied; instead, companies are advised to send updates to their registration through post.

Reinstatement

Virginia Professional Corporation Registration

  • Agency: Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects 
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Yes
  • Is an exam required?: Not Set
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set
  •  Law: VA Code § 54.1-411
  • Eligible Entity Types:
  • Professional Corporations
  • Ownership Requirements:

National Professional Corporations:

  1. A minimum of two-thirds of the share capital should be owned by individuals with valid licenses to offer services as architects, professional engineers, land surveyors, photogrammetric surveyors, landscape architects, or by individuals legally permitted to carry the title of certified interior designer.
  2. The remaining shares can only be allocated to and held by individuals who are employed by the corporation.
  3. At least two-thirds of the Board of Directors must be licensed to provide services as architects, professional engineers, land surveyors (inclusive of photogrammetric surveyors), landscape architects, or legally authorized to carry the title of certified interior designer, or any combination thereof.
  4. There should be at least one director, who is currently licensed or certified in each profession offered or practiced, residing at the business to ensure effective supervision and control of the final professional output.
  5. The practice of joint ownership of corporate shares is prohibited.

International Professional Corporations:

  1. At least two-thirds of the Board of Directors must be licensed to provide services as architects, professional engineers, land surveyors (inclusive of photogrammetric surveyors), landscape architects, or legally authorized to carry the title of certified interior designer, or any combination thereof.
  2. There should be at least one director, who is currently licensed or certified in each profession offered or practiced, residing at the business to ensure effective supervision and control of the final professional output.

First-Time Applicants

The following information pertains to architectural firms seeking an initial license in Virginia. If you currently possess a license and wish to renew it, please refer to the renewal section.

Before Applying, Take In Consideration:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. For each professional service provided by the firm, select a design professional licensed in Virginia to act as the individual responsible for the firm’s professional activities in Virginia.
  2. Secure authenticated copies of the corporation’s articles of incorporation, bylaws, and charter to include with the license application.
  3. Ensure the entity meets the ownership criteria and is in full compliance with all pertinent rules regarding ownership.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. For each professional service offered by the firm, select a design professional licensed in Virginia to act as the individual responsible for the firm’s professional activities in Virginia.
  2. Ensure the entity meets the ownership criteria and is in full compliance with all pertinent rules regarding ownership.
  3. Acquire authenticated copies of the entity’s formation documents from its original state, including all amendments and mergers, to file with foreign qualification documents. The authenticated copies must be dated within a year prior to the date of filing foreign qualification documents in Virginia.

How to Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. Submit articles of incorporation to the State Corporation Commission.
  2. Provide a Professional Corporation Application to the Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects, along with authenticated copies of the corporation’s articles of incorporation, bylaws, and charter.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. Submit a certificate of authority application to the State Corporation Commission.
  2. Provide a Professional Corporation Application to the Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects, along with authenticated copies of the corporation’s articles of incorporation, bylaws, and charter, as well as the certificate of authority.

Registration Renewal

  • Fill out the Business Entity Registration Renewal Form
  • Submission method: mail or online
  • Agency Fee: $25
  • Due: Submissions are due by December 31 of every odd-numbered year. Renewal applications can be lodged as early as 90 days before the expiration date.
  • Note: A renewal alert is automatically sent to the registered business address about 45 days before the expiration date.

Amendment

  • Agency Fee: $0
  • Note: Amendment forms are not provided; firms are instead advised to dispatch updates to their registration through mail.

Reinstatement

  • Fill out the Professional Corporation Application
  • Agency Fee: The fee stands at $125 for licenses that have been expired for a period ranging from 6 months to less than 5 years, and $275 for licenses that have been expired for over 5 years.

Virginia Professional Limited Liability Company Branch Office Registration

  • Agency: Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Not Set
  • Is an exam required?: Not Set
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set

First-Time Applicants

Registration Renewal

Amendment

  • Agency Fee: $0
  • Note: No designated forms are provided for amendments. Firms are advised to mail updates to their registration instead.

Reinstatement

Virginia Professional Limited Liability Company Registration

  • Agency: Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects 
  • Law: VA Code § 54.1-411
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Not Set
  • Is an exam required?: Not Set
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set
  • Eligible Entity Types:
  • Professional Corporations
  • Ownership Requirements:

National Professional Limited Liability Companies:

A minimum of two-thirds of the membership interests should be owned by individuals with valid licenses or professional business entities authorized to offer services as architects, professional engineers, land surveyors, photogrammetric surveyors, landscape architects, or by individuals or professional business entities legally permitted to carry the title of certified interior designer.

International Professional Limited Liability Companies:

International PLLCs should adhere to all the requirements outlined in § 13.1-1111 of the Code of Virginia, with the exception of the mandate requiring that two-thirds of its members and managers be licensed or certified to perform the professional service in this Commonwealth.

First-Time Applicants

The following information pertains to architectural firms seeking an initial license in Virginia. If you currently possess a license and wish to renew it, please refer to the renewal section.

Before Applying, Take In Consideration:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. For each professional service provided by the firm, select a design professional licensed in Virginia to act as the individual responsible for the firm’s professional activities in Virginia.
  2. Acquire authenticated copies of the LLC’s certificate of organization to be filed with the license application.
  3. Ensure the entity is compliant with all relevant ownership requirements.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. For each professional service offered by the firm, select a design professional licensed in Virginia to act as the individual responsible for the firm’s professional activities in Virginia.
  2. Secure authenticated copies of the entity’s formation documents from its original state, inclusive of all amendments and mergers, to be filed with foreign qualification documents. The authenticated copies must be dated within a year prior to the date of filing foreign qualification documents in Virginia.
  3. Ensure the entity is compliant with all relevant ownership requirements.

How to Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. File the certificate of organization with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
  2. Submit a Professional Limited Liability Company Application to the Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects, alongside authenticated copies of the LLC’s certificate of organization and either the articles of organization or operating agreement.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. File a certificate of authority application with the State Corporation Commission.
  2. Submit a Professional Limited Liability Company Application to the Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects, alongside authenticated copies of the LLC’s certificate of organization, articles of organization or operating agreement, and certificate of authority.

Registration Renewal

Amendment

  • Agency Fee: $0
  • Note: There are no specific forms for amendments; firms are instead advised to dispatch registration updates through the mail.

Reinstatement

Virginia Professional Limited Liability Company Registration

  • Agency: Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Not Set
  • Is an exam required?: Not Set
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set

First-Time Applicants

Reciprocal Registration

Must-have Attachments

  1. An Interior Designer Degree Verification Form or official academic transcript(s);
  2. Interior Designer Experience Verification Form(s); and
  3. A Verification of Interior Designer Examination and Certification Form, providing proof of passing the NCIDQ examination and confirmation of current certification in a different jurisdiction.

Registration Renewal

Virginia Landscape Architect License

  • Agency: Virginia Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects
  • Do I Need To Have A Foreign Qualification?: Not Set
  • Is an exam required?: Not Set
  • Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?: Not Set

First-Time Applicants

Reciprocal Registration

Must-have Attachments

If applying by Comity with a CLARB Certificate Record:

  1. Landscape Architect License Application
  2. A Council of Landscape Architect Registration Board (CLARB) Certificate Record that confirms current licensure in another state, jurisdiction, or territory of the United States.

If applying by Comity without a CLARB Certificate Record:

  1. Landscape Architect License Application
  2. Three Landscape Architect Reference Forms (less than one year old);
  3. An Experience Verification Form to provide a record of all necessary experience;
  4. Degree Verification Form or official transcript; and
  5. A Verification of Examination and Licensure Form to validate a passing score on a nationally-recognized examination that leads to licensure as a landscape architect and to confirm current licensure in another state, jurisdiction, or territory of the United States.

Registration Renewal

Register for the Architect Registration Examination

Securing an architect’s license in Virginia opens up a world of opportunities to practice architecture in the state. The journey commences with the pursuit of a professional degree in architecture, a fundamental requirement in your quest to become a licensed architect. This degree is not just a piece of paper, but a testament to your knowledge and comprehension of architectural principles, a rite of passage that equips you with the tools to craft and shape the built environment.

Remember, it’s important that your architecture degree is obtained from a program accredited by a recognized body such as the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). This accreditation assures that the program meets the industry’s standards and provides the necessary skills and training.

Architect registration in Virginia is a crucial step that formalizes your standing in the industry. This process includes satisfying the state’s requirements and passing the relevant examinations. With this license, you will have the legal authority to practice architecture, offering your expertise to develop the Virginia landscape. Now that you are armed with this information, you’re one step closer to realizing your architectural aspirations.

Disclaimer: These requirements are subject to change based on approval board discretion. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Virginia’s  Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation

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