Living and working abroad - retaining liscensure


I recently relocated to France, likely for the long term, and have let my US registration lapse. It is difficult to justifying the cost of keeping a state registration (required to keep the AIA architect membership, and NCARB certification I would like to maintain). Is there a state with extremely low yearly registration fees I should consider registering in? Where I was previously registered (Tennessee) it is just too costly to justify keeping an active license. Unfortunately my current French employer sees little advantage to paying for any US titles or registrations. What do other architects do with liscensure and titles when living and working internationally?

Thank you

Jan 28, 20 11:22 am

This is most likely case-by-case, dependent on the office. My current workplace pays for my registration in two countries - they see value in me being able to retain the title of 'architect' while working for them, no matter where I am. But its certainly not a low-cost option. Is there a way you can subtly explain or hint to this employer the benefits of you keeping the title current?

Jan 28, 20 11:45 am  · 

There are some states that will let you "shelve" your license in good standing, for a lower fee than the usual dues, if you're not currently practicing there.  South Dakota is the least expensive option I know: you can put your license on "inactive" status for $40 every 2 years.  Of course there are fees for applying for reciprocity in the first place, and you'll have to pay full "active" dues for your first 2 year period (they don't let you apply for a license and immediately shelve it.)  If you don't have a valid license somewhere else in the US at present you might have to apply as if it was an initial license.  You'd want to do the math on where the break-even point is, once you factor in the $400 NCARB transmittal, state application fees, etc.

Jan 28, 20 11:45 am  · 

suck it up and pay the renewal. i've done this for 10 years living abroad, but i never made direct use of my license in IL when I lived there anyway. it's low enough i don't know what it was but guess maybe $60 biannually.

having the credential is absolutely important for your future career whether or not your current employer cares - and they probably shouldn't, since the main benefit is helping you get work elsewhere later.

there are an awful lot of extra costs to living abroad (though a few big savings too - health care!) and license renewals are definitely among the smaller items to consider.

Jan 29, 20 12:40 am  · 

I think Idaho has the lowest annual fees in the US for an active license:  $50.  Plus a $50 application fees.  They may or may not let you do the endorsement route that's supposed to be for people without NCARB records, which would let you use your (expired?) Tennessee license and your own notarized ARE score reports instead of making you pay the $400 to transmit your scores directly from NCARB.  If they do let you do that then you'd save $20 a year over Tennessee, minus the $50 application fee.  Only you can say if that's worth your time and paperwork to try.

Jan 29, 20 11:03 am  · 

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