I have written this article to completely describe the PMI PMP audit process. Even though the article has references to the PMP certification exam, PMI follows the same principles for the other credentials also.
You can use and follow this article if you are interested in pursuing PMI-ACP, PgMP, CAPM, PMI-SP or PMI-PMP certification.
You will find answers to all of the following questions in this article.
- Why does PMI audit applications?
- How to avoid PMP audit?
- How not to fail in PMP audit?
- How many applications are audited by PMI?
- How to complete the audit process?
- When does audit happen?
- What documents is required for verifying education and experience?
Why does PMI Audit Applications?
PMI audit applications randomly in order to maintain the credibility of the certification program.
The process authenticates the information submitted by the candidates and ensures that only people with requisite experience sit in the exam. It filters out the inexperienced candidates from being certified.
The audit is part of the normal application process and there is no need to be afraid of it. PMI picks up applications at random so that there is no bias towards anyone.
The process ultimately beneficial for the certified professionals.
How to Avoid PMP Audit?
You cannot do anything to avoid PMP Audit. It is a completely random process. Your chance of being audited (or not audited) is as good as (or as bad or) any other applicant.
Although the audit process is completely random, you should not give PMI any chance to come after you. You should fill the PMP application truthfully and honestly in order to avoid any surprises. You should not put any information that can make PMI suspicious.
Here are a few suggestions while filling up the application:
- If there are any gaps in your experience then you should document them carefully.
- Mention the exact dates of your 35 contact hours education.
- While mentioning project management experience, give proper description of your role and mention your responsibilities. Also, avoid putting in activities that are not considered as project management activities.
- Do not put in excessive number of hours in your exam application. As a thumb rule, you should go with 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week, 168 hours per month, and 2000 hours per year.
- If there are any overlapping projects then you should document them carefully.
- Make sure you use PMI terminology while documenting your project experience.
The audit process is not the end of the world. It is just part of overall application process. As per PMI all applications are subject to audit but only a few are chosen at random.
How not to Fail in PMP Audit?
You can easily avoid failing in audit. You just need to ready for the audit if it happens.
Here is how you can be ready for the audit:
- You should enter absolutely correct information. Providing false Information is considered as fraud, which can lead to permanent suspension of you candidature for sitting in any of the PMI exams.
- You will need to provide the contact information of the people with who, you worked in the project. Make sure that the contact information is correct and up to date.
- Make sure you inform the people about your PMP application with whom you worked in your projects e.g. your reporting managers, project colleagues, client representatives etc. In case of audit, You can even ask them to verify what you have written in the application. This way they are ready to verify your project experience if your application is audited.
- Be ready with the verification documents including your education certificates, degrees, & diplomas, employment experience certificates, and contact hours certificate.
How many Applications are Audited by PMI?
It is not known how many applications are audited. PMI audits a specific percentage of application but it has not published any figures. Some experts suggest 8-10% of applications are audited. This figure might be true but there is no way to verify it.
How to Complete the Audit Process?
If your application is selected for the audit, you will receive an email with instructions to complete the audit process. You will have to send the requested documents for verification. All the documents need to be sent in one envelope through courier.
Here are few more pertinent points about the audit process:
- PMI usually asks for hard copies of your educational, training and project experience certificates.
- You have to send requested documents through post or courier and wait for the PMI’s response.
- PMI will verify the documents after receiving them.
- The documents need to be submitted within 90 days. PMI will take around 5 business days for verification.
- You will receive an email informing about successful completion of audit if PMI is satisfied with your documents.
- On the other hand, if PMI is not satisfied with the documents, you will receive another email requesting for more information (or supporting documents).
- PMI will send you an eligibility code and exam scheduling instructions upon successful completion of Audit. You can then proceed to schedule the exam.
- All documents need to be sent to the following address.
Attn.: Certification Audit
14 Campus Blvd.
Newtown Square, PA 19073-3299 USA
When does Audit Happen?
PMI can audit your application anytime after you submit your application. They can perform the audit even after you become PMP certified. However, in most cases, the audit happens immediately after you pay the exam fee.
If your application is selected for the audit, you will receive an email from PMI informing you about it and asking you to submit a few documents.
What Documents is Required for Verifying Education and Experience?
Photocopies of original certificates (education and experience) should be sent to PMI for verification.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is PMI audit process totally random?
2. Is the audit less likely if I am a PMI member?
3. Can I be Audited/Not Audited if I am a resident/citizen of a specific country?
Nationality, race, creed, gender and other such things do not matter. PMI Audit is completely random.
4. Can I be audited if I am a highly experienced PM?
5. Is audit bad for my credential exam?
No. It does not impact your credential exam in any manner.
6. Should I be afraid of PMI audit? Will it affect my candidature in a manner?
No. There is no need to be afraid of anything. The audit does not impact your candidature in any manner.
7. How would I know that I am being audited?
PMI would send you an email immediately after you pay the exam fee. This email will tell you about the audit. The email will also provide complete details about the PMP audit process and what is expected from you.
8. Can I send my documents using email or fax?
No. All documents need to be sent by regular post or a courier service to the following address
9. Do I need to send original copies of my educational and training certificates?
No. Photocopies of original certificates should be sent.
10. Do I need to send signed copies of my project experience documents?
11. Who can sign on copies of my project experience documents?
Anyone who has intimate knowledge of the project can verify project documents. e.g. colleague, peer, client or sponsor can verify the project documents. You should get it signed from the person whose name is written in your PMP application.
12 Does the person have to be PMI credential holder in order to sign the project experience documents?
No. Anyone who has intimate knowledge of the project can verify project documents.
13. What would happen if I fail the audit?
PMI would keep USD 100 as the processing fee. The rest of the credential fee would be refunded. You will have to apply for the exam again. PMI can permanently disbar you from applying to any of the credential exam in case you had knowingly submitted wrongful information.
14. How much time does it take to complete the PMP audit process?
It can take anywhere between 10-15 working days to complete the process, provided the requested documents are sent to PMI immediately. Generally PMI verifies the documents within 5 business days of their arrival.
15 How much time do I have to submit the documents?
All requested documents should reach PMI within 90 days.
16. What will happen if I do not submit the documents?
You will fail the audit.
17. What will happen if I do not send the complete documentation?
Again, you will fail the audit.
18. How soon can I reapply for the exam if I fail the audit?
After 1 year.
19. Will I get additional time to schedule the exam if my application comes under the audit?
PMI provides 1 year to take the exam after the application approval. The period under the application audit is not counted towards the 1 year limit. It means that if the audit process takes 4 weeks then you will get additional 4 weeks to schedule and take the Exam.
20. What will happen if the exam changes while my application is under the audit process?
In case PMP exam changes, you will have to take the updated exam.
I have applied for PMP certification & it has been chosen for audit purpose . For one of the requirement of having need to clock in 35 contact hours of PM training, I have used internal corporate PM training program clocking in for 16 hours & for the rest 24 hours I have factored in Six Sigma training conducted by organization . Can the Six Sigma training be used as a substitute as it also touches upon parts of PMBOK like Project Plan Development, Scope Planning, Scope Definition , Project Quality Management . Can you pl guide me on this
Hi Arun, You can use the portions of six sigma training which are relevant to project management as a subject. You were correct in mentioning PMBOK guide related topics.
I have applied for PMP exam in the month of May 2016 and its my surprised that I have selected for audit. After submitting all relevant documents PMI has informed me that I have failed in audit with ‘No fault’ status. They have informed me that my project management experience is more on administrative and operational side. Now I have to convince them that I have 10 years of exp in PMG. But how can I proceed?
That is sad. PMI wants 4500 hours of experience in “leading and directing” projects. So, your role and description of projects is important. You can read more about it in Cornelius’ forum.
Now, the best thing is to write to (or better call) PMI’s customer support and explain your situation. Sometimes they reconsider. Or, they can give some suggestion. Let me know how it goes. You can contact me directly.
All the best
Same thing happened to me. It makes no sense because my job is ‘project manager’ and I work for a consulting company, so absolutely all I do is work as PM on projects for external clients. I am super annoyed with the PMI because the audit process was a pain (my managers are all over the US) and now they failed me without a real reason and vague feedback within hours of receiving the audit package. I don’t know how much more I could possibly work in PM.
I have two question while preparing for PMP application-
1) Can i have same supervisor for both the project. I worked with a small software company and we don’t have to work for different managers.
2) I am showing two project which easily meet my hours n years criteria. See below and let me know if this will work.
Feb 2011 – Mar 2013 ; April 2013 – June 2014
Jatin – Answers to your Q
2. Depends on what you calling a project. Ensure that they are separate projects and not series of projects.
I am having 6 years of experience into different Pharmaceutical companies. In my application I have mentioned only 3 years and 5700hrs of experience in which I was managing the projects.
The other experience was not included in the application as I felt the requirements are fulfilled.
Now, I have recieved audit for the eligibility. I will be providing the required documents but I am concerned wether it was correct to not mention the other experiences ??
What are chances of passing the audit if all the documents are submitted truly??
Please revert ASAP
Don’t worry. The other experience is not required. Just go with what PMI has asked for and submit the relevant documents.
I have a query that if after submitting the PMP application form, one’s form has been selected for Audit and thereafter some minor modifications/changes has to be done , example: selected incorrect year for Project during filling up application ; and apart from this all the details for the project are correctly mentioned (Project Description, Roles & Responsibilities, Working Hours in each process group). In this case, how to modify the application for a minor change to be made.
Thanks & Regards
You can write to PMI customer support and tell them about the mistake. They should be able to help you.
Thank you for this detailed article.
I have the required amount of hours as per eligibility. However, for the PM Education Credits, I have completed my MBA in Project Management from Sikkim Manipal University (Distance) for which I have a certificate which shows that I have done well and passed. Should I consider only the last year of my MBA as only that year had my Elective subjects?
How many hours should I consider for each PM subject that I have completed?
Would this suffice? (This was a 2 year course that I completed along side my work).
Thank you again!
1 hour of class is equivalent to 1 contact hour. For more details about the eligibility and PM education, you can download free PMP Exam Prep guide – How To Get PMP Certification (https://www.pmbypm.com/how-to-get-pmp-certification/). This guide gives complete information about the PMP Exam.
I applied for my PMP and I am now under audit. Many of my past supervisor have moved on and I have lost touch with them. Also one of the companies has gone out of business. Can other colleagues that knew me at these positions sign-off on the experience forms? Is there a way to get there name on the experience form?
Short answer to your Q – Yes, your colleagues can verify & sign.
Excerpt from the post:
Anyone who has intimate knowledge of the project can verify project documents. e.g. colleague, peer, client or sponsor can verify the project documents. You should get it signed from the person whose name is written in the PMP application.
You can also read my answer on Quora –
During the Audit Process, do you know how PMI verifies the company you worked for? Do they call HR? What happens if you no longer work for that company and have moved on but need the hours from the projects you lead?
Hi Sam, PMI asks you to get the evidence from the person whose contact information you entered while filling up the form. It could be your manger, colleague or HR. They can directly contact this person but they generally don’t. BR
Is there a way to change your supervisor details on the pmp application form? My supervisor, whos name is on application form is not contactable. I now need to get the audit forms completed. How to go about it?
Hi Smriti, I always advise my students to check with the person, whose name you are mentioning, before filling the application form. Now the best thing to do is to contact PMI’s customer care and tell them about your problem. They should be able to help but it might take some time. Good luck.
Your site is very helpful. Do you have any ideas regarding existing pmp holders…are they ever audited? I didn’t renew my certification by the 3 year renew deadline (suspension mode) due to personal circumstances at the time, and now I wonder if that makes me a candidate for audit?
Hi Debra, As per PMI’s guidelines, they can audit you at anytime. But they seldom do after one becomes PMP. Regarding your current certification status – Many people, for myriad of reasons, renew their certification in 4th year. So, don’t worry too much about it. Try to collect 60 pdus as soon as possible and renew your certification. This article can help you in getting chepap and useful PDUs – //www.pmbypm.com/pmp-pdu-courses-pmi-certifications/
Hey, I have a question to ask. If I was selected for Audit, can I send supporting project documents such as project charter to prove my experience even though they’re not required? Or PMI will review them as “over-documentation” since they didn’t request them which will create a question mark on my audit process.
Thanks in advance!
Hi Nairouz, Just send the docs that PMI has asked.
I am not sure about latest process but in 2017 when I was selected for audit, the step came in before I paid the fee. As soon as I applied for the exam, I was asked to submit the documents. After I cleared audit I was asked to pay fee. I clearly remember that as even I was under the impression that audit comes after you are done with the payment.However in my case I was asked to pay the fee only after I cleared the audit.
Hi Kushal, Thanks for the comment. Good that you were asked to fee the pay later. 🙂
The process is still the same. As I have written in the article “The PMP audit generally happens immediately after you pay the exam fee. “. So sometimes they ask for the fee later.
I have forgotten to mention the reference name in the pmp application. I thought I will get a separate column to fill that in the application form but I did not see any column asking for reference name.
What should I do now? Any suggestions or advice will be helpful.
There is no need to worry. If your application comes under audit then PMI will ask you to provide a reference. Otherwise, you can also write to their customer support and apprise them of the same. Good luck.