Working and Getting Your License as an International Student


Is it possible for an international student to get a working visa with a master's in Architecture but without a license?

I got my bachelor's degree (business-related) in the US and worked for a year using my OPT school visa. Now I'm applying to several architecture programs in Texas, but I'm wondering whether or not will I be able to stay in the US afterwards. 

I know that American citizens can still work in architecture without a license. I went through the NAAB licensure requirements but I doubt I will be able to complete the amount of hours required before my next OPT expires, even if I get some done through internships while studying.

Are any international students out there who managed to complete the hours required and got their license? If not, where you able to get a working visa without the license and then got the license after a couple of years? I would greatly appreciate any advice or opinions you may have. 

Sep 3, 18 1:23 pm

I'm not an international student, but my fiancee was and here's what we can tell you. This is really a question of math & planning. From what it sounds like, the simple question is: can I complete my AXP hours requirements before OPT expires? Yes you can, but it's not easy. From what I understand, you're still a student and you're about to start graduate school. If this is the case of your situation, then it's good news for you because you still have time. AXP requires you to have around 3,600 hours I think, not really do-able in a year, but if you work part time while in school, you can achieve the necessary hours. 

Sep 9, 18 10:31 pm

Yes, I would start graduate school next fall. My plan is to complete the hours while in school (if possible) and then apply for the licensure before my OTP expires, but I am also wondering if it would be possible to work without the licensure.

Thank you!



You don’t need a license to qualify for / apply to the visa lottery.
Sep 10, 18 8:09 am

You can work without a license, but if you're not a US citizen, you have to find an office that will host you after you graduate.  

I would double check the AXP rules about being a student and obtaining hours while going to school.  I would also double check the rules for whatever state you are going to.  Some states have additional experience requirements past what AXP requires and they have different rules about how that experience can be obtained.  (For example, NY has guidelines for this that are different than AXP.)  To my knowledge, you can also gain hours working outside the US (up to a specific amount) so if you are working in your home country before you move to the US to start school, you may be able to use those hours to get a head start.

Sep 12, 18 1:59 pm

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