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Recognition of foreign qualifications for academic and professional purposes



Recognition of a higher education qualification obtained abroad makes it officially valid in Spain, which means it has the same academic and professional worth, once the corresponding recognition credential has been issued, as the Spanish degree or level it is equivalent to.

In addition, the declaration of equivalence of a qualification with the degree and official academic level implies acceptance that the training undertaken to obtain the foreign qualification is equivalent to that required to obtain a Spanish academic qualification (degree, masters or doctorate), and to the qualifications corresponding to a certain area or field. The recognition of a qualification has academic and professional worth, whereas equivalence only has academic worth and does not include professional worth.


Researchers can only request recognition or equivalence of official higher education degrees or equivalent qualifications issued by the competent authority in accordance with the legislation of the country under whose education system the studies were completed.


In the case of recognition, as this has professional worth, in addition to certifying that the training undertaken to obtain the foreign qualification is equivalent to that required in Spain to obtain the qualification required in order to pursue the corresponding regulated profession, it is necessary to certify linguistic competence (level B2 of the MECR), and that any possible additional requirement in order to pursue the corresponding regulated profession in the country of origin is met.

Seminar on " Proceedings to homologate academic degrees in Spain"


Why apply for recognition, equivalence or validation of foreign university qualifications?

If the qualification obtained in the country of origin is required to have the same academic and professional worth as the Spanish qualification, you should apply for an equivalent recognition to the current official Spanish university qualifications of degree or Masters which provide access to a regulated profession in Spain. In this case, it is also important to bear in mind the bilateral agreements that Spain has with certain countries.

If you only require the recognition of the qualification exclusively for professional reasons in order to pursue a specific profession and, at the same time, the nationality requirements of the applicant and the qualification have been met, you should apply for a professional recognition which leads to the authorisation to pursue a specific profession in Spain. With regard to this point, please refer to the European legislation (Directive 2013/55/EU of the European Parliament and the Council which amends Directive 2005/36/EC) on regulated professions.

If researchers require professional recognition of a speciality in Health Sciences obtained in a non-EU country, they must have previously validated the qualification that gained them access to that specialty.

Finally, students seeking official recognition of studies completed abroad should apply for partial validation of foreign studies to the university at which they are interested in studying.

Validation is the official recognition of the academic validity of university studies completed abroad (whether or not they led to a degree) as regards partial Spanish university studies. Validation allows students to continue their studies within the Spanish education system, which may culminate, when appropriate, in obtaining the corresponding Spanish university degree.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that it is not necessary to have foreign qualifications recognised, validated or to obtain their equivalence for access to Masters or PhD studies in Spain, as confirmation by the corresponding Spanish university that the level of training is similar to that required in Spain is sufficient for access to postgraduate studies.


For further information on recognition of foreign qualifications please check:


Seminar on " Proceedings to homologate academic degrees in Spain"

The Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), EURAXESS Spain coordinator, organized in December 2015 a technical event to address the proceedings to homologate academic degrees in Spain, one of the biggest hurdles that many foreign researchers face when they want to develop their career in a foreign country.


The event, in which took part Isabel Tolosana and Rosa Medina, both from the “Centro Nacional de Información sobre Reconocimiento” (NARIC) at the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports (MECD), was oriented to each of the 24 head members responsible for Science and Education of the different Foreign Embassies in Spain.


Below, you can find the recording of the event and the technical notes of the event.



Link to download a summary with important information about the Seminar Event on Academic Degrees Homologation in Spain (summary in Spanish only): Resumen 4J Homologacion (291.31 KB)