CIA UAE: How to Pass the CIA Exam UAE for Certified Internal Auditor Jobs in UAE


Accountants and auditors can advance their careers in a number of ways. For example, they can choose from multiple accounting certifications to expand their knowledge and capabilities. But if you are following the career path of an internal auditor specifically, you owe it to yourself to pursue the best certification: the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification. As a United Arab Emirates CIA, you’ll experience many career advantages. And as an added incentive, the process of earning the CIA UAE is simpler than that of other accounting certifications. So, learn how to become a Certified Internal Auditor UAE so you can stand out from your peers with the most highly-regarded auditing designation in the world.

Benefits of Becoming a CIA UAE

The CIA certification is undoubtedly the most esteemed and well-known professional qualification for internal auditors. So, as an internal auditor in the UAE, the CIA offers you substantial local and global career benefits. A CIA in the UAE gains:

Increased earnings potential

Worldwide, organizations are consistently raising the salaries of Certified Internal Auditors. For example, the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) reports that CIAs earn as much as 51% more than non-certified internal auditors in the U.S. As such, you can expect your paycheck to increase when you earn the CIA UAE.

Numerous job opportunities

Likewise, as a CIA UAE, you have more career opportunities, including advancement opportunities. You’ll be well-positioned for leadership roles such as Chief Audit Executive, Vice President of Internal Audit, and Internal Audit Director. You can also move into new fields and industries like healthcare, transportation and logistics, green energy, information security and tech development, and biotechnology.

Greater job security

Globally, the regulatory environment is becoming more complex. So naturally, organizations are seeking qualified internal auditors who can navigate those complexities. Organizations are actively recruiting internal auditors who can detect IT data breaches, identify internal and external fraud cases, and improve process efficiencies. Moreover, organizations are intensely trying to find and keep internal auditors. And they especially want CIAs.

Increased skills and abilities

Companies task internal auditors with improving operations. But, internal auditors should also bring value to their organization through a systematic and disciplined approach to their work. Specifically, this work focuses on assessing and improving risk management, control, and governance processes. Internal auditors evaluate vulnerabilities, provide recommendations for resolution, and give assurance of effective internal controls. Therefore, to earn your CIA, you must show that you can perform the same tasks as evidenced by your education, your experience, and your ability to pass the CIA exam. By gaining your CIA, you naturally elevate your internal auditing skills and competencies.

Heightened respect and admiration

Previously, traditional financial audits served as the foundation for the role of the internal auditor. Now, risk audit is the basis for the role. Consequently, organizations trust internal auditors to protect and enhance value. As such, the industry has also changed its perception of the internal auditor role. The accounting and auditing world now regards internal auditors as change agents and business partners. Because of this, internal auditors enjoy a greater level of respect. And that esteem only grows when internal auditors become certified.

Certified Internal Auditor Salary in UAE

The Certified Internal Auditor salary in the UAE demonstrates the clear connection between the certification and higher earnings potential. For example, PayScale reports the average Certified Internal Auditor salary in the UAE as AED 232,000. However, the range of this salary differs by location:

Certified Internal Auditor Salary in UAE

UAE City CIA Salary Range (AED)
Dubai 60,267-302,239
Abu Dhabi 50,335-377,359
Ajman 120,00
Fujairah 267,000

Comparatively, PayScale reports the average salary of a regular internal auditor as AED 121,764 and that of an auditor as AED 97,591. Without the CIA certification, even a senior internal auditor in the UAE has an average salary of AED 243,797. So clearly, having the CIA in the UAE empowers you to benefit financially.

Certified Internal Auditor Jobs in the UAE

Also, CIAs in the UAE have a variety of high-quality jobs available to them. Payscale supports yet another benefit of the certification by showing that CIAs in the UAE hold numerous positions and make these average salaries:

Certified Internal Auditor Jobs in UAE

CIA Job CIA Salary (AED)
Internal Auditing Manager 266,000
Internal Auditor 121,764
Senior Internal Auditor 243,797
Chief Internal Auditor 342,000
Auditing Manager 310,000
Internal Audit Director 300,000
Chief Audit Executive 900,000

The companies in the UAE that most CIAs report working for include Deloitte & Touche LLP, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Emaar, Redington Gulf, and Travelex Currency Services, Ltd.

Certified Internal Auditor UAE

Certainly, holding the CIA in the UAE has a long list of advantages. So, what must you do to be eligible for the CIA? As a starting point, you must meet the CIA requirements.

The UAE Internal Auditors Association does not have any country-specific procedures or policies. So, CIA candidates in the UAE have the same requirements as most other global candidates. Therefore, to become a CIA in the UAE, you must fulfill the following requirements:


The IIA requires CIA candidates to hold an associate’s degree or higher. The organization will accept common equivalents, including a Foundation Degree, Diploma of Higher Education, Higher National Diploma, or 3 A-level certificates with a grade of C or higher. The IIA will also accept applications from students in their senior year.

Specifically, you must provide the IIA with proof of your education. This proof can include a copy of your degree, official transcripts, A-level certificates, a letter from your university confirming your degree, or an evaluation service confirming your degree level. You must submit this documentation through the IIA’s Certification Document Upload Portal (CDUP).

However, you may be eligible for an exemption if you do not meet the education requirement. The IIA may still consider your candidacy if you have 7 years of verified experience in internal audit or an equivalent field. Download and complete the form through the IIA website to apply for this exemption.

Character Reference

The IIA expects CIAs to demonstrate high moral character. As such, you must have a CIA, CGAP, CCSA, CFSA, CRMA, or your supervisor sign a Character Reference form. You then upload the signed form to the CDUP.

Proof of Identification

The IIA requires identity verification. Therefore, you must submit a current (not expired) copy of your official passport or national identity card. The photo must be clear when you scan and upload your document to the CDUP.

CIA Exam

Once you submit documentation related to your character reference, proof of identification, and education requirements, you can apply for the CIA program and take the CIA exam. To receive the certification, you must pass all 3 parts of the CIA exam.


The CIA exam is confidential. Therefore, once you sit for the exam, you must agree not to discuss the content of the exam with anyone outside of the IIA’s Certification Department. If you break the confidentiality agreement, you will be in violation of the IIA’s Code of Ethics and may be disqualified from earning the certification.

Work Experience

The IIA wants CIA candidates to meet a certain threshold for work experience. You must have specific years of experience in a relevant audit/assessment field. These fields include external auditing, quality assurance, compliance, and internal control.

The work experience requirement is also dependent on your education level. Therefore, the IIA outlines the work experience requirement for CIA candidates as the following:

CIA Work Experience Requirements

Education Level Years of Work Experience Required
Master’s Degree (or equivalent) 12 months – internal auditing experience or its equivalent
Bachelor’s Degree (or equivalent) 24 months – internal auditing experience or its equivalent
Associate degree, 3 A-Level Certificates, grade C or higher (or equivalent) 60 months – internal auditing experience or its equivalent

Your current or former supervisor or a CIA, CCSA, CGAP, CFSA, or CRMA must validate your work experience.

Eligibility Period

The IIA gives CIA candidates 3 years to meet the certification requirements. The countdown begins when you receive IIA approval to enter the CIA program. And if you don’t fulfill all of the requirements within 3 years, you will lose all exam fees and credits.

Continuing Professional Education (CPE)

The IIA places a strong emphasis on continuing education. Once you receive your CIA certification, you will then need to meet the continuing professional education (CPE) requirements. However, you will receive 40 hours of CPE during the year you earn the CIA. You will also receive 40 hours the following year for a total of 80 hours. Therefore, you don’t actually have to start earning CPE hours on your own until the third year after receiving the CIA.

In the third year, the number of hours you need for CPE will depend on your reporting status. The chart below shows what those hours look like for practicing and non-practicing members.


Reporting Status Definition Use Certification CPE Hours for CIA
Practicing Actively performing an internal audit or related activities Yes 40
Non-practicing Not actively performing an internal audit or related activities No 20

The IIA will only accept CPE hours from educational programs that meet the Professional Certification Board’s (PCB) established guidelines. Also, the IIA requires practicing and non-practicing CIAs to commit 2 of their CPE hours each year to an ethics topic.

Code of Ethics

Finally, when you earn the CIA certification, you agree to adhere to the IIA’s Code of Ethics. If you fail to do so, you can lose your certification.

Experience and Education Waivers

The IIA does allow for certain experience and education exemptions. Specifically, you may qualify for these exemptions if you hold the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification or the U.S. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. The PCB will forgo the education and work experience requirements for ACCA members and the education requirement for U.S. CPAs.

You can apply for these exemptions during your application process. The IIA will put your application on hold until their certification administrators can verify that your membership/license is active.


Again, the CIA exam has 3 parts. The 3 CIA exam parts are:

These 3 parts include a wide range of internal auditing topics within a specific number of content areas.

CIA Exam Content

1. Essentials of Internal Auditing 2. Practice of Internal Auditing 3. Business Knowledge for Internal Auditing
I. Foundations of Internal Auditing (15%) I. Managing the Internal Audit Activity (20%) I. Business Acumen (35%)
II. Independence and Objectivity (15%) II. Planning the Engagement (20%) II. Informational Security (25%)
III. Proficiency and Due Professional Care (18%) III. Performing the Engagement (40%) III. Information Technology (20%)
IV. Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (7%) IV. Communicating Engagement Results and Monitoring Progress (20%) IV. Financial Management (20%)
V. Governance, Risk Management, and Control (35%)
VI. Fraud Risks (10%)

The CIA exam parts assess your knowledge of these topics solely through multiple-choice questions (MCQs). Therefore, the total testing time for the CIA exam depends on the number of MCQs in each part. Below, you can see the number of questions and the time limit for each exam part.

CIA Exam Testing Time and Question Counts

Exam Part Duration Number of Questions
1 2 ½ hours 125
2 2 hours 100
3 2 hours 100

Additionally, the CIA exam assesses candidates’ understanding of the internal auditing topics at two different cognitive levels or depths of knowledge. These cognitive levels are the basic and proficient levels. According to the CIA exam syllabus, the IIA uses this approach to ensure that candidates have a comprehensive understanding of the most critical exam concepts.

The IIA defines the cognitive levels as:

  • Basic Level: Candidates retrieve relevant knowledge from memory and/or demonstrate basic comprehension of concepts or processes.
  • Proficient Level: Candidates apply concepts, processes, or procedures; analyze, evaluate, and make judgments based on criteria; and/or put elements or material together to formulate conclusions and recommendations.

The CIA exam parts assess the following number of topics at each cognitive level:

CIA Exam Cognitive Levels

Exam Part Basic Level Proficient Level
1 14 16
2 14 21
3 32 3

The CIA exam score ranges from 250 to 750. Furthermore, a passing score is 600. Currently, the overall CIA exam pass rate is 42%.

The CIA exam is fully computerized and only features MCQs. Consequently, this format lets you receive your unofficial score immediately after completing the CIA exam. So you don’t have to wait weeks to learn your results. And you can check your official score in your candidate profile on the IIA website within 24-48 hours.

Pearson VUE, a testing center company, manages more than 900 testing centers around the world. Therefore, the IIA works with Pearson VUE to administer the CIA exam. Additionally, the CIA exam is currently available in English as well as Arabic, Chinese Traditional, English, French, German, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish.

Certified Internal Auditor Exam Cost in the UAE

To become a CIA in the UAE, you’ll need to meet all the requirements and pay all the appropriate fees. So, as you plan and budget for the certification, be sure to account for several CIA exam fees. You’ll also want to learn about each Certified Internal Auditor exam cost in the UAE.

To earn the CIA, you must pay 4 main CIA exam fees consisting of the application fee and the 3 exam part fees. But you can lower the amount you must pay for these fees by becoming a member of the IIA UAE.

UAE IIA Membership

As an individual member of the UAE IIA, you are also a member of the global IIA organization. Therefore, you can access an international network of peers, find updated and universally accepted internal audit standards and guidance, participate in webinars, training, and events, and receive information about job and volunteer leadership opportunities. And as an extra incentive, you’ll also receive discounts on CIA exam fees. Therefore, though UAE IIA membership is not mandatory for the CIA program, you may want to consider it.

The UAE IIA offers individual memberships with the following fees:

UAE IIA Individual Membership Costs

Membership Type Annual Membership Cost (USD)
Individual Member $105
Government $86
Strategic Partner $74
Student No Cost
Overseas Member $55

The UAE IIA also charges a VAT of 5% over and above the final value of the goods/services purchased as per applicable government laws.

CIA Exam Fees in the UAE

Whether or not you become a UAE IIA member, you must pay the following fees to earn the CIA. Yet, you’ll save substantially on each CIA exam fee if you do become a member of the UAE IIA.

Certified Internal Auditor Exam Costs in the UAE

Pricing UAE IIA Members (USD) Non-Members (USD) UAE IIA Members (AED) Non-Members (AED)
Application Fee $115 $230 422 844
Exam Part 1 $295 $425 1083 1560
Exam Part 2 $265 $395 973 1450
Exam Part 3 $265 $395 973 1450
Total $940 $1,445 3451 5304

Obviously, the money you save in fees represents a significant advantage of UAE IIA membership. But you gain in more than just your bank account. Remember, a UAE IIA membership gives you access to the entire IIA organization and its global members. Therefore, it is truly a sound professional investment.

What’s more, the CIA certification UAE is worth the time, effort, and expense. It brings with it a bigger paycheck and more job opportunities. And, as you recall, the average CIA earns nearly double what the average non-certified internal auditor makes annually in the UAE. Cleary, the CIA pays for itself with dividends.

How to Become a Certified Internal Auditor in UAE

So, are you ready to become a CIA in the UAE? I’ll take you through the steps to earning the certification.

1. Purchase a CIA review course

As a quick reminder, the IIA will require you to provide documentation related to your education, character, and identification. So, once you are confident you can meet the requirements, I encourage you to purchase a CIA review course. Yes, you’ll want to find and buy a course as soon as possible. This way, you can study throughout the CIA application and exam registration process. And, in doing so, you can become a CIA much sooner!

When you purchase a Certified Internal Auditor Course in the UAE, you set yourself up for CIA exam success. A CIA review course is essential to your preparation. It covers and outlines the exam content, allows you to further develop your skills and knowledge, and gives you a convenient exam support system.

With a CIA review course, you receive valuable learning materials. These materials include textbooks, video and audio lectures, practice test questions, flashcards, practice exams, candidate support, and more. Further, you can access everything within one convenient online platform. And you usually have access to the content until you pass the CIA exam.

Therefore, a CIA review course gives you the tools and support you need to fully prepare for the CIA exam. You’ll go in-depth into the testing topics and get help creating and sticking to a study plan. What’s more, you’ll get support with those tough exam concepts.

Best Certified Internal Auditor Training in UAE

Understandably, a CIA exam review course is an investment. And, of course, you want to make the most of that investment. So you must find the best CIA exam review course for you. However, you will have lots of options to pick from, including the most widely used CIA review course. So, if you need help making your decision, you can contact me.

Then, you can save big on your course with my CIA review discounts.

2. Apply for the CIA program

To apply for the CIA program, you must set up an account with the IIA. To do so, go to their website and locate the Certification Candidate Management System (CCMS).

Once you have created your account in the CCMS, you can fill out the CIA application form. At that point, you must supply proof of education, identification, and character reference.

You must pay the application fee as the last step in the application process. This fee is payable by credit card, check, or wire transfer. And once you’ve completed this step, the IIA will email you to confirm your successful application. Expect to receive the email from the IIA within 24-48 hours.

3. Register for the CIA exam parts

Once the IIA approves your application, you’ll receive the go-ahead to register for the CIA exam. You must log in to the CCMS to start the registration process.

The CCMS includes registration links for each exam part. You can select the exam part(s) you want to schedule and then agree to the Pricing Provisions and Conditions statement. And again, you will need to pay the CIA exam part fees.

4. Schedule your CIA exam UAE testing appointment

The IIA will process your exam registration and email your authorization to test. Within this email, you’ll find instructions for how to schedule your exam appointment with Pearson VUE. Then, you must go to the Pearson VUE website and select your preferred exam appointment location, date, time, and language. Again, Pearson VUE administers the CIA exam in over 900 testing centers around the world. And most of their centers are open 5-6 days a week. Plus–at least for now–the CIA exam is being offered online, too. The process to register for the online version is exactly the same as registering to take the exam in person at a Pearson VUE center.

The IIA asks you to wait 48 hours after receiving your authorization to test email to schedule your Pearson VUE appointment. However, once that 48-hour period closes, you will have 180 days to schedule and sit for your exam part.

5. Pass the CIA exam

Hopefully, you heed my advice and purchase a CIA review course well ahead of your exam date. If you do, you’ll be able to get enough study time in before your exam date without feeling much pressure.

To ensure you’re fully prepared, you’ll want to clock a specific number of CIA exam study hours. If you’re already fairly familiar with the exam content, you can put in a minimum number of study hours. But if you need to go back to the basics, you should shoot for a safe number of study hours.

The number of hours I recommend in each category is as follows:

CIA Exam Study Hours

Exam Part Minimum # of Study Hours Safe # of Study Hours
1 30 65
2 30 70
3 50 95

You’ll have greater success with the CIA exam if you study efficiently and effectively. Therefore, you should adhere to your study schedule and use your CIA review course to identify and focus on your weak areas. Furthermore, you should answer lots of practice questions and take practice exams during your review. By sticking to these and other CIA exam preparation tips, you increase your chances of passing the exam on the first try.

6. Complete the experience requirement

Once again, you don’t need to meet the IIA CIA experience requirement before you take the exam. However, you must complete all of the CIA program requirements within 3 years. If you hold a master’s or bachelor’s degree, you should be able to reach your 1-2 years of experience during your 3-year eligibility period. But if you have an associate’s degree, A-Level Certificate, or an equivalent, you must acquire 5 years of experience. So, you’ll need to start gaining relevant experience before you enter the CIA program.

7. Receive the CIA certificate and start earning CPE

If you’re like most CIA candidates, the last step you’ll take in earning your certification is submitting your work experience. Fortunately, this step is a quick one. Once you provide your work experience, you should receive your IIA CIA certification in just a few days. From there, you have 2 years before you have to start meeting the CPE requirements.

Free Help for Becoming a Certified Internal Auditor in the UAE

If you’d like more information about the CIA program and application process, including tips on how to pass each exam part the first time, you’ll find it in my free CIA e-course. This course tells you how to become a CIA and how to achieve CIA exam success. So, get my Certified Internal Auditor course details in the UAE or sign up below!

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About the Author Stephanie

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.

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