These procedures can be used to apply for the recognition or equivalence of higher education qualifications awarded by foreign institutions to official Spanish university qualifications at degree or Masters level which permit regulated professions to be pursued in Spain in the same conditions as the holders of Spanish qualifications issued for this effect. The equivalence of higher education qualifications awarded by foreign institutions to an official university academic level may also be requested, indicating the area and field in which the different official qualifications of Spanish university studies are grouped.
For further information on the procedures for recognition and equivalence, and to review practical cases, please see the Guidelines to the procedures for recognition and equivalence regulated by Royal Decree 967/2014, drafted by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.
The Spanish universities are responsible for the statement of equivalence of foreign higher education qualifications to the academic level of doctor.
The equivalence to the academic level of doctor does not imply, under any circumstances, the validation, statement of equivalence or recognition of any other foreign qualifications or the recognition in Spain of a level other than that of doctor.
The certification may be applied for in more than one university at the same time.
The procedure starts with the application of the interested party, who should go to the rectorate of the corresponding university. The resolution may be in favour or against the requested equivalence and, in the latter case, a new equivalence proceedings may be started at another Spanish university. The granting of the equivalence, where applicable, is accredited with the corresponding certificate of equivalence issued by the university.
Professional recognition of the title of specialist obtained in a non-European Union Member State will bestow the same professional rights and obligations as the Spanish title of specialist and will be an indispensable requisite for exercising the corresponding profession in Spain, either as a self- employed worker or for an employer.
The party concerned shall:
Hold the Spanish title or, if applicable, a validated foreign title.
Possess an official foreign qualification as a specialist in the country where it was obtained and which authorises them to exercise the specialism professionally.
Have specialist professional training from a university centre, a medical teaching hospital or, if applicable, a health centre authorised for this purpose.
Provide proof of specialist professional training.
Provide proof of sufficient knowledge of Spanish (official language qualifications).
Be authorised to practise their specialism.
The applicant sets the procedure in motion by submitting an application to the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality.
Spain has signed bilateral agreements with these countries for the determined purposes, which complement the validation systems (academic and professional purposes) and the recognition systems (only professional purposes).
The purpose of professional recognition of qualifications is to overcome the obstacles that nationals from a foreign country may encounter when attempting to start working in a given profession. Professional recognition is an authorisation to exercise a specific profession in the new country of residence. This is intended to support professionals rather than students. This legislation applies exclusively to nationals of the Member States of the European Union, the non-EU States that have signed the European Economic Area Agreement and Switzerland. The authorities responsible for processing recognition applications are the Ministries that supervise the regulated professions related to each one.
Furthermore, it is worth differentiating between the free provision of services on a temporary or occasional basis and recognition to become established in another Member State.
Free provision of services: This is based on the premise that the service provider travels to Spain to temporarily or occasionally exercise a regulated profession. The requirement is to be legally established in another Member State to exercise the same profession and, when the profession is not regulated in the country of residence, to have worked for at least one year out of the ten years prior to providing the service in Spain. The Member State where the service is provided may require a preliminary statement (accompanied by certain documents), or may decide to conduct a preliminary verification of qualifications (only in the case of professions related to health and security).
Freedom of establishment:
Recognition based on the coordination of the minimum training conditions. This refers exclusively to the professions of doctor and medical specialist, nurses responsible for general care, midwife, dentist, veterinary practitioner, chemist and architect. The Directive establishes the minimum conditions (duration and content) of the training authorising the exercise of these professions, and offers a list of qualifications that fulfil those conditions. Recognition based on this list is automatic. The rights acquired for the cases above are recognised.
General recognition scheme. All other regulated professions: a professional qualified in one Member State to exercise a profession must be recognised, on a general basis, by another Member State to exercise the same profession. If there are substantial training differences, the host Member State may impose compensatory measures (practice period or aptitude test). If the profession is not regulated in the State of origin, one year of professional experience or regulated training (designed specifically to exercise a profession) is required.
Recognition of professional experience. This applies to commercial, artisan and trade activities that require general, commercial or professional knowledge and aptitudes. It is an automatic recognition based on the certification of a minimum period of professional experience.
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.
The resolution of a request to validate foreign studies as partial Spanish university studies is handed down by the Spanish university where the applicant wishes to further his or her studies.
When the studies have ended with the award of a foreign qualification, the person may choose to apply for recognition, equivalence or validation for partial studies, although it should taken into account that applications for recognition and equivalence cannot be made at the same time as for validation.