The Virgin Islands requires that individuals seeking to become certified public accountants hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and be 21 years of age. Candidates do not have to be a U.S. citizen but must intend to become a citizen. Applicants are also required to have a valid Social Security number. Applicants must also reside in the Virgin Islands for at least 30 days prior to submitting a license application. Individuals who meet these qualifications can take the first step to getting licensed by taking the Uniform CPA Examination.
Step 1: CPA exam in Virgin Islands
Sitting for the CPA exam in the Virgin Islands requires that candidates hold a bachelor’s degree, which includes coursework in accounting and other business-related courses.
Education requirements in Virgin Islands
Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree from an accredited school, college or university. The Virgin Islands offers two paths to satisfying the educational requirements to sit for the CPA exam.
The requirements are:
- A bachelor’s degree, with coursework in accounting, including:
- 20 semester hours in accounting
- 5 semester hours of economics and finance
- 5 semester hours of business law
Application and test fees
The Virgin Islands Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs (DLCA) administers the exam. Applicants must arrange to have their educational transcripts sent to DLCA, showing proof of a high school diploma or higher from an accredited school.
The process to apply for the CPA exam starts with requesting the application from the DLCA. Applicants are also required to submit three 2-inch by 2-inch photographs, one character reference letter and a tax clearance letter from the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
After submitting the application and receiving approval to take the exam, applicants will receive an acknowledgement from the Virgin Islands and an official notice to schedule (NTS) the exam. Once this process is completed, applicants can select a date to take the CPA exam. The NTS expires in six months, after which candidates must submit a new application. There are two exam locations in the Virgin Islands, which are in St. Thomas and Guaynabo.
First-time applicants must submit a $150 application fee, a $100 local exam fee, a $125 background check fee plus section exam fees. Those who are retaking the exam are required to pay the application fee, local exam fee and section exam fees.
The Uniform CPA Examination comprises four sections:
- Auditing and Attestation
- Financial Accounting and Reporting
- Business Environment and Concepts
Each section of the exam has a specified administration fee. Applicants may take one or more of the four required sections at a time. In addition to the administration fee for each section, CPA exam applicants are charged a separate fee for each testing session they take.
Taking, passing and retaking the CPA exam
The passing score for each of the four exam sections is 75. Applicants may take the sections individually and in any order, but are required to pass all four within a rolling 18-month period, which begins on the date the first examination section passed was taken.
Credit for any section passed is valid for 18 months from the actual date the examination section was taken. Examination credits expire by section, and applicants will lose credit for each section passed outside of the 18-month period.
Taking the Virgin Islands DLCA exam
After passing the Uniform CPA exam, applicants must schedule and pass the Virgin Islands DLCA exam. The exam is offered three times each year, and applicants must pay a fee of $100.
Step 2: CPA license in Virgin Islands
After successfully passing all four sections of the CPA exam, the Virgin Islands DLCA exam, passing the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Criminal Background Check and obtaining the required work experience, applicants may then apply to become a certified public accountant in the Virgin Islands. Applicants must submit a licensure application to the Virgin Islands along with a $390 application fee.
Applicants are also required to submit letters from five references, two of which must be residents of the Virgin Islands and three of which must be practicing CPAs. At least one of the practicing CPAs must be licensed in the Virgin Islands.
Education in Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands will require 150 hours of education for licensure as of May 16, 2020.
Work experience in Virgin Islands
The work experience required for licensure depends on the education attained.
- Applicants who have a bachelor’s degree without an accounting concentration must have three years of public accounting experience in governmental accounting as an auditor or internal revenue agent.
- Applicants with a bachelor’s degree and a concentration in accounting must have two years of public accounting experience in governmental accounting as an auditor or internal revenue agent.
Out-of-territory CPA licenses
The Virgin Islands allows CPAs in good standing and licensed in other states or U.S. jurisdictions to practice in the territory as long as the issuing state has been verified to be substantially equivalent to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy’s Qualification Appraisal.
The Virgin Islands recognizes individuals who hold foreign CPA certificates of licensure, provided they meet the requirements of the Virgin Islands DLCA. The foreign country must have a national registration board of scope and standing corresponding to the NASBA. The countries with equivalent credentials that are currently honored include Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
Disclaimer: Requirements for Virgin Islands CPA test-takers and license applicants are subject to change. Visit the territory’s DLCA website to check for recent revisions to the Virgin Islands’ CPA requirements.
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