Overseas Architects working in the UK



I would like to get some advice about working as an architect in the UK.

I'm a Mexican architect (registered only in Mexico) and I would really like to work in the UK in an area related to my field to get experience in a British architectural firm. I studied a Master's degree in Sustainable Architecture at the University of Sheffield. However, this was not a RIBA degree.

Do I really need to get registered in the UK in order to work as an architect? 

Is it very hard to get registered and pass the ARB examinations?

Have you been or do you know anyone who has been in this situation? What did they do to solve this problem?

Thank you very much in advance for your help.

Jul 15, 14 7:19 pm


Do you have a work permit or some way of legally giving you the right to work in the UK?  At the moment it is very difficult to get a job if you don't have the right to work in the UK, following on from the recession.

You don't need to be registered in the UK to work in an architecture practice, but you may find it more difficult to get the salary or position you want initially without more concrete experience.

Like many countries calling yourself an 'architect' is a protected expression, although you can say you are a registered Mexican architect, be careful of saying you are an architect as this could get you in trouble with the ARB.

If you want to get your degrees accredited it is a costly process and you will likely have to do a lot of work to make your school work fit the criteria.  Additionally, you can only get your degrees accredited, you would still need to take a Part III in the UK in order to be registered.  I do know a few people who have done this (or chosen to not do this- myself included).  Most people I know who went ahead with the conversion only did so because they were not a registered architect someplace else so transferred their degrees in order to make the UK their one and only registration.

Hope that helps!

Jul 21, 14 11:44 am

I've just moved from the UK at the end of May.  I have a visa that enables me to work, however I am struggling to find a job.  I was a licensed Architect in the US and I DO plan to pursue ARB qualifications here. Like KaylaF said, they are very costly.  Currently, close to $3000 just for the first portion (Part I) and it involves a significant amount of documentation.  So I need some solid income to pay for it, but because I don't have these formal UK qualifications, I have had little success in getting my foot in the door somewhere.  I just hope someone cuts me a little break and realizes that I can do the job without this qualification based on my previous work and school experience.  A word of advice, if you don't already know Revit, start doing some tutorials and get comfortable using it.  I am proficient in it and notice that many firms here are looking for that.

Jul 21, 14 4:32 pm

Hi I think that you could find a job in a builders company.It could help to get some income and at the same time get experience.

hi I have a B'Arch degree from overseas which is a 5 year full time architecture course equivalent to Part 2 in UK.I also have 8 years of work experience of which 6 years have been in the UK.I am planning to apply for RIBA Part 1 and 2 in January next year and have started filling in the criterias for the same.I also have a Masters degree in Urban Design from Newcastle University.

As my first degree was overseas I do not have any academic work with me but do have lot of work samples from projects at work which I have done.

Can someone tell me how easy/ hard it is to succeed in the RIBA Examination based on work samples and my Urban Design academic work?

If someone is in a similar situation we could discuss and work things out.Please let me know.Thanks for your help in advance. 

Aug 16, 14 5:44 pm

Hi, I found myself in the same situation, Im a qualified Architect from Argentina, moved to the north east of England last January. I’ve been looking for a job since then, Im proficient in REVIT, RHINO, AUTOCAD, SKETCHUP, ADOBE PHOTOSHOP+ILLUSTRATOR+INDESIGN  and many others programs and its been imposible to even get an interview with an architectural practice.

I also have a Portfolio with part of my work as a student and my Professional architectural practice in Argentina I been thinking about apply for my RIBA examination in the future but how can afford to pay the exams if im not able to find a job?. I been applying for jobs like “Architectural assistant, Architectural Technician, Revit Technician, CAD Technician”.

If someone can give me some advice I would really appreciate it. I don’t know if I can be doing something else, Thanks in advance.

Jun 28, 17 6:32 am

If you need a Tier 2 visa to work then it will be harder - 

Jun 28, 17 7:26 am

The RIBA part 3 exam is the one that enables you to practice as an architect and that is very difficult exam because you need experience logged over at least two years in practice plus you need to do a formal exam comprising of theory and practical exams and the practical exam is all about UK architectural management - its the most difficult exam I've ever done. Finally you also need an interview with a Part 3 examiner who goes through your log book etc and decides whether you pass or fail. Its very difficult and took me a few years to get through as a UK architectural student with two years work experience and five years in further education.

If you dont want to be an actual architect you can be an architectural technologist with no qualfications but Autocad/Revit will help you get work as will good constructional knowledge.

Sep 7, 17 10:30 am


I am an architect that was working in Spain for 27 year.but as my degree is from Argentina I have to do the exam in order to register at the ARB.

I am living in London for nearly 2 years now.

I am studying and trying to get ready to pass the exam.

I would like to meet someone that is in the same situation so we could discuss and help each other. my user name is my email address. If someone is interested please contact me.

Oct 17, 17 3:10 pm


I studied architecture in Nigeria, my qualifications are HND Architectural Technology and also did a PGD Architectural technology. i moved to the UK about one year ago and i have been on search for an Architectural job, I have about 8 years post qualification experience before moving here, i am efficient in Revit , Autocad, Microsoft Project, CoreDRAW, Photoshop. 

Its been difficult getting a job of an Architectural Assistant or anything close here, i presently work as a carer after searching for about 7months. but i stillgo online everyday to do the search, i have done several self taught courses online to update myself about architecture in the UK. i have the right to work in the UK.

I just need advice on what to do to get into the system here, and will like to know if i need to do things differently. Architecture is what i love and anywhere i find myself i just want to practice it.


Nov 28, 17 11:15 am

Don't search for work that isn't there, whenever a job is posted online you're already too late. Keep tabs on who's winning competions or lands new commissions and contact those offices pro-actively. Also make sure your letter, cv and portfolio are up to date and tailored specifically for the offices you're applying to and refer to your strengths and interests in relation to the office you're applying to. Just wanting to practice isn't going to cut it, you need to convince them that you should be practicing architecture at their studio and they'd be missing out if you'd work for their competitors.


I'm an Architecture student from Pune, India. currently in my final year and will be done with my course in the next month, i.e. July 2018 and get my B.Arch degree.

I want to work in Manchester, UK in an architecture firm but how do I get work permit for the same. I do have my relative in Manchester to be my sponsor but can't I get a working visa as well as job confirmation prior I fly to work in Manchester?

Also do I have to get ARB /RIBA cleared or my B.Arch (5yrs) undergraduate degree with 8 months of internship experience will do for a fresher job?

Thank you for any advice in advance.

Jun 8, 18 3:49 am


I am Ar.Yokeshwaran completed my graduation in India and doing my masters in Italy. I had been working as an architect in India for 5 years and while i am searching for job here i found its difficult too get a job in UK and in Europe. If you really like to work work here i would suggest you to do masters in UK and join as a architecture intern as it is a part of your study. You can continue to work after that. 


Since this was bumped up to the top of the forum again, its probably worth pointing out:

Getting a visa to the UK in the current climate is next to impossible.

Since the Brexit vote there has been a run on the Tier-2 visa. Subsequently, to qualify for a skilled-worker permit, you require a starting salary averaging 50,000 - 55,000 GBP (going off data for the last 6 months). It does not matter if you find a sponsor willing to take you on, you must make that much money as a starting salary for the visa to be approved by the home office. Typically you'd need about ~8-10 years experience to qualify for that type of position in the ARB/RIBA salary reports.


Jun 8, 18 9:20 am

Openings in the UK if you have experience with non-flammable aluminum cladding on tall buildings.

Jun 20, 18 7:00 am

Hi, I'm Mexican and have been living in London for 1,5 years. I don't have a degree. I am looking for an architect role, is it possible that I can apply as assistant 1? I have 8 years experience working in Mexico. Do I have any chance to get hired? 

Aug 7, 18 2:37 pm


i am a lebanese architect, just moved to London, holding a March. from a lebanese university along with 7 years experience planning to work in UK, any idea if there is anyone that can help me through this as i want to make sure that all my paper are correct and submitted right 

Sep 20, 18 11:01 am

Unless you already have the legal right to work in the UK, good luck. One of my students who was brilliant with MArch and full Part 3 could not get a 2nd sponsorship - looked for 6 months all around the country. Your best try would be looking at very large practices doing projects in the middle east. Alternately look for large contractors who also higher architects.


any idea if there is someone that can help with tje ARB registration ? seems quit papers and documents to be submitted


any idea if there is someone that can help with tje ARB registration ? seems quit papers and documents to be submitted

Sep 20, 18 1:28 pm


i would like to get some advices about working as an architect in UK .

I'm a tunisian architect, got my diploma on 2014 and have 4 years of experience in practical work, currently working with a qatari firm in Tunisia . i would like to know about my statue in Uk as an architect if i move to live there, is it part I or part II , knowing that our academic studies r all in french language, but i dont have difficulties in english language anyway... what r the procedures to study a master in one of the universities in UK ?  on websites , we found lots and lots of informations, i couldn't figure out the right way to apply in any of it , it's very confusing !! 

Do I really need to get registered in the UK in order to work as an architect? and from which level i should start a study or internship if possible ? 

Thank you in advance for your help

Sep 26, 18 8:08 am


I am an architect from India  with 1.5 years of experience.I am moving to Dublin,Ireland in 2018 and am planning to continue to work there.I would like to know about the job opportunities for foreign architects in Ireland ?

Would my Indian experience help me get a job/internship in Dublin or is it better to do Architectural Masters in the universities in Ireland ??

Would the Masters degree help me get registered with both RIAI and RIBA ?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

Sep 29, 18 11:02 am


I’m a Filipino Architect registered and currently located here in the Philippines. I have just been recently granted a Certificate of Sponsorship, having been hired by a licensed sponsor in the UK with a job position as an Architect (Graduate Part 2 equivalent, I think). I’ll be applying for the work visa in less than 2 weeks. 

My employer has checked my credentials and I have undergone some online trainings with them in the past months making it easier for them to decide to hire me. However, I have just recently checked the accepted degrees acquired from schools that are recognized by RIBA (or whichever Architecture Board the UK has), and any school in the Philippines, including mine are not on the list. I think my license wouldn’t be recognized either. 

My question is: am I going to be granted the visa even if my credentials as an Architect are not recognized in the UK? Will the UKVI still evaluate my professional credentials in the visa processing? Or has that been settled during the stage when the employer applied to sponsor a foreigner? 

It would be huge help for me to know this now before I submit my application. Thanks in advance for your answers. 

Oct 7, 18 7:56 am

Hello all!

I was wondering if there is any other Architect who had a similar case, and perhaps could give me some info. 

I am a European Architect and I would like to register with the ARB. I posses a double nationality ( Greek and Italian ), I completed my academic studies in the University of Rome "La Sapienza"-Faculty of Architecture. 

My degree has been recognized by the Greek Ministry of Education as an equivalent one, and I joined the Greek Chamber of Architects after I successfully passed the exams. Since then I have been working as an Architect in Greece, Cyprus and I have also done a 6 months internship in London so far.

Is it going to be possible for me to register with the ARB?

If any one has any info or knows someone with a similar story, please leave me a comment!

Thank you very much in advance for your time!

Nov 11, 18 8:02 pm

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