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

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