In 2016, ACCA introduced important changes to the time limit we allow students for completing the exam component of the ACCA Qualification. Under the previous rules, students were removed from the register if they had not completed the exams within 10 years of their initial registration date.

Why did we change this ?

We listened to feedback from employers and students and made changes to the rule.  We want to be fair and provide the same opportunities to all our students, as students start their exam journey at different levels of the Qualification.

In addition, employers tell us that a time limit is important. They value up-to-date knowledge and want reassurances that ACCA trainees and members have knowledge which is current and relevant to the workplace. Prompt completion of the exams demonstrates a commitment to becoming a professional accountant.

What is the new time limit for taking exams?

Under the previous rule, students were removed from the register if they had not completed the exams within 10 years of their initial registration date.

Under the new rules a seven year time limit will be introduced at the Professional level. 

Students will have seven years to pass the exams at Professional level (P1, P2 and P3 and two of the options paper P4-P7). If a student does not pass all the Professional level exams within seven years, they will lose any passes that were achieved more than seven years ago and will need to retake them. The seven year time limit starts when a student passes their first Professional level exam.

How does the rule impact you?

Students who registered prior to 31 December 2015
These students would have been given a last exam session date which is 10 years from when they initially registered.  This no longer applies.

Instead students holding Professional Level passes, who have not yet reached Affiliate status, will have an expiry date of either:

  • 7 years from the date of each individual Professional level pass, or
  • 10 year from their original initial registration date. 

The expiry date that is awarded will be whatever is the latter of the two.  

Any students registered from 1 January 2016
Once they pass their first Professional level exam, that pass will have an expiry date 7 years later.  Each subsequent Professional level pass will have an expiry date of 7 years later.  

All students
Professional level passes will only expire should students not reach affiliate level before the expiry date.  Students can check expiry dates for any Professional Level pass by accessing the Exam Results Service screen within their myACCA.

Introduction of Strategic Professional

From September 2018 we are launching Strategic Professional which will replace the existing Professional level of the Qualification.  All existing exam results and exemptions for P2 and the Options exams (P4-P7) will be converted to the new Qualification and maintain their existing expiry dates.

Students who have passed both P1 and P3 exams will receive a converted pass for the new Strategic Business Leader exam. Converted passes will take on the expiry date of the latter of the two exams.  For example:

P1 pass expiry dateP3 pass expiry dateOutcome
June 2020June 2022Converted Strategic Business Leader pass with expiry date June 2022
June 2018June 2022Converted Strategic Business Leader pass with expiry date June 2022
June 2018June 2018No converted pass awarded as both exams expire before Strategic Business Leader launch

Oxford Brookes degree and time limits

Please note if you want to achieve the Oxford Brookes BSc degree in Applied Accounting, the degree must be completed within 10 years of your initial registration on the ACCA Qualification otherwise your eligibility will be withdrawn. This rule remains unchanged.

For more information visit the Oxford Brookes BSc section

University of London and time limits

Pass expiry dates will also apply for students studying the MSc in Professional Accountancy from University of London.  All modules of this course must be completed before or at the same session as an ACCA pass expiry date, otherwise they will be required to re-take the pass or passes which have expired.

UK and Ireland registered auditor status

The rule has been adapted for those who wish to become registered auditors in the UK or Republic of Ireland, please contact ACCA on for more information.

And finally, a reminder about ACCA study resources available

Don’t forget there are a wide range of resources, products and support we provide to help you progress through your qualification and achieve ACCA membership.

Visit our Exam resources section to access support materials 

Last updated: 12 Feb 2018