FAQ – Equivalence of Foreign Qualifications
FAQ – Equivalence of Foreign Qualifications
FAQ – Equivalence of Foreign Qualifications (English version)
EQUIVALENCE OF FOREIGN QUALIFICATIONS
(primary and secondary education)
In Portugal, the equivalence of qualifications from foreign education systems to qualifications of the Portuguese education system for primary and secondary education is ruled by Decree-Law no. 227/2005, of the 28th December, available at Direção-Geral da Educação, the official website of the Directorate-General for Education (DGE).
These Frequently Asked Questions aim at helping those who want to apply for equivalence of their foreign qualifications.
1. What law rules the granting of equivalence of foreign school qualifications?
In Portugal, the equivalence of qualifications from foreign education systems to qualifications of the Portuguese education system for primary and secondary education is ruled by Decree-Law no. 227/2005, of the 28th December.
2. Who can apply for equivalence?
Portuguese and foreign citizens who can prove to have foreign school qualifications.
3. Where can I apply for equivalence?
At public and private primary and secondary education institutions with pedagogical autonomy, according to the school level concerning the equivalence.
Please note: citizens living outside Portugal should ask the Direção-Geral da Educação (DGE) for equivalence, by postmail (Avenida 24 de Julho, 140 - 1399-025 Lisbon - Portugal), according to article 7 of Decree-Law no. 227/2005, of the 28th December.
4. When can I apply for equivalence?
Anytime, there is no specific deadline.
To continue studies in primary or secondary education in Portugal, you should apply for equivalence upon enrolment.
5. Do I have to pay for the certification of equivalence?
No. It is free of charge.
6. Which documents are needed to apply for equivalence?
- Claim form here: Requerimento (official form - Appendix I, Decree-Law no. 227/2005, of the 28th December, modified by the Declaration of Rectification no. 9/2006, of the 6th February);
- Official documents certifying school qualifications completed successfully (for example, certification or diploma, school record), legally certified by:
§ Portuguese embassies or consular services in foreign countries; or
§ foreign embassies or consular services in Portugal, or with
§ the Hague Apostille (of the 5th October 1961, ratified by Decree-Law no. 48450, published in the Government Diary, Series I, no. 148, of the 24th July 24 1968) for the Hague Apostille Convention Member Countries;
- Official translation of the foreign documents into Portuguese;
- The certificates must mention:
§ the school year(s) successfully concluded;
§ the education cycle or course successfully concluded;
§ the final grades or grade point average;
§ grading scale mentioning the passing grade; in the case of qualitative grading (letter or verbal grading), the conversion scale to numeric grading.
Please note: when there are doubts concerning the qualifications, further documents might be necessary, namely, declarations of the school years concluded with approval, previous qualifications, academic certificate.
7. Must there be a translation of documents written in a foreign language?
Yes. There must be a translation of all foreign qualification certificates written in a foreign language (official translation), after legal certification by the consular authorities or with the Hague Apostille.
8. Where can I legalise/authenticate the documents?
Depending on the situation, documents are legalised/authenticated in:
a) embassies or Portuguese consulates abroad, or
b) foreign embassies or consulates in Portugal, or
c) in the country of origin, regarding the Hague Apostille.
In countries with no Portuguese diplomatic representation or outside the Hague Convention Apostille, the legalisation/authentication is the responsibility of the country’s official entity responsible for the matter (for example, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice).
9. Can I apply for the equivalence of qualifications for different purposes?
No. The equivalence of qualifications is for all legal purposes.
10. How long does the equivalence process take?
The reference deadline is 30 days after the submission of all the documents needed for the correct organization of the process.
It might take longer, depending on the request, as well as on the number of processes.
11. Who grants the equivalence?
Public schools and/or education institutions with pedagogical autonomy for the school level concerning the equivalence, for qualifications mentioned in Ministerial Implementing Orders no. 224/2006, of the 8th March, and no. 699/2006, of the 12th July.
12. Who grants the equivalence of qualifications not mentioned in Ministerial Implementing Orders no. 224/2006, of the 8th March, and no. 699/2006, of the 12th July?
The DGE. You apply for the equivalence of these qualifications at the primary or secondary school you wish to attend or in your area of residence in the national territory.
The school then sends the correctly organised process to the DGE via mail for analysis and decision making, along with a reasoned recommendation.
13. Which qualifications are granted equivalence by the DGE?
Foreign qualifications from:
§ foreign schools in Portugal;
§ private schools with international study programmes licensed by the Portuguese Ministry of Education;
§ European School – Schola Europaea (Convention defining the statute of the European Schools – Decree no. 1/97, from the 3rd January; Ministerial Implementing Orders no. 597/88, of the 29the August and no. 1266/93, of the 13th December);
§ international schools in other countries.
The DGE is also responsible for the following qualifications:
§ certified by the International Baccalaureate Organisation – IBO (Programmes: PYP, MYP e IB DP);
§ certified by Cambridge Assessment International Education - CAIE (Cambridge Primary, Cambridge Lower Secondary, Cambridge Upper Secondary – Cambridge IGCSE; Cambridge ICE Certificate; Cambridge Advanced – Cambridge International AS & A Level and Cambridge AICE Diploma);
§ from Mobility Programmes/Cultural Exchange a year abroad;
§ claimants with Refugee, Asylum or International Protection Statute;
§ claimants who do not live in the national territory.
14. Should there be a conditional enrolment to pursue studies in elementary or secondary schools while waiting for the conclusion of the equivalence process?
Yes. The enrolment in primary and secondary schools is conditional during the equivalence granting process, especially for students under 18, according to n.º 5 of article 8 of Decree-Law no. 227/2005, of the 28th December.
The enrolment of claimants with foreign qualifications, in primary as well as in secondary schools, is only definitive upon the conclusion of the equivalence granting process, according to article 7 of the Decree-Law mentioned previously, in conformity with Legislative Order no. 5/2020, of the 21st April.
15. Can a conditionally enrolled student pass the year?
Yes, as long as he has the necessary conditions, according to the laws that rule primary and secondary schooling, in which case the school should inform the person responsible for the student’s education about progress and decisions made on the academic path.
16. Can I apply for enrolment in a school year previous to the one I am entitled to, according to the qualifications’ equivalence granted?
Yes, it is possible to apply for enrolment in a school year previous to the one you are entitled to, according to the qualifications’ equivalence granted, within the same level of schooling.
For this matter, the enrolment request should justify the claim based on integration difficulties in the Portuguese education system.
It is up to the headmaster of the school to decide about the enrolment.
If the request is accepted, the student has the same rights and obligations as the rest of the students enrolled in that school year.
17. Which are the criteria for the granting of equivalence?
The school years passed in the education system of origin, the course, and the educational background are the criteria for the granting of equivalence.
18. Can I apply for equivalence of foreign school qualifications previously recognised in other countries?
No. In Portugal, you need the original qualifications to apply for equivalence. Equivalence granted in other countries is not recognised.
19. Is it possible to apply for equivalence per subject?
Yes. Its granting will depend on a comparative analysis of curricula, bearing in mind the core competencies and structural learning. For that matter, it is necessary to attach the complete subject syllabus (in the foreign language) to the equivalence request, as well as its translation into Portuguese.
20. Are there grades in the granting of equivalence for primary education?
No. In primary education, equivalence does not mention grades, except when the claimant requires it for specific purposes.
21. Are there grades in the granting of equivalence for secondary education?
Yes. When granting equivalence in secondary education, there are grades in the following way:
§ 10th and 11th year – rounded to the nearest unit;
§ 12th year – to one decimal place, and then rounded to the nearest unit.
22. In years 10 and 11 of secondary school, is the equivalence granted per subject?
No. The equivalence granted is global, as well as the corresponding grade.
The equivalence grade is only taken into account once for the calculation of the final grade of the secondary school course.
23. How is the equivalence grade for secondary education calculated?
In secondary education, the final grade is calculated by conversion of the original grades, under the law regarding secondary education and access to higher education.
The conversion tables in Ministerial Implementing Orders no. 224/2006, of the 8th March, and no. 699/2006, of the 12th July, regulate the conversion of the original grades.
24. Is it possible to grant equivalence without grades?
No. In equivalence for secondary education, there are grades.
Exceptionally, when duly reasoned, it is possible to grant equivalence to the passing grade for secondary education (on a scale of 0 to 20) when the claimant has no document certifying the original grades.
For that matter, the claimant should require the equivalence and/or state his agreement in writing.
This equivalence might be reviewed later on, upon submission of the original grades.
25. How is the final grading of the secondary education course calculated in an equivalence process?
Depending on the situation, the calculation of the final grading of the secondary education course is according to Ministerial Implementing Order no. 243/2012, of the 10th August, in its present version, or to Ministerial Implementing Order no. 226-A/2018, of the 7rd August, together with Legislative Order no. 12981/2007, of the 25th June.
26. Can I apply for equivalence of foreign school qualifications without documents to certify these qualifications?
Yes. Exceptionally and duly reasoned, according to numbers 1 to 4 of article 10 of Decree-Law no. 227/2005, of the 28th December.
27. Can I apply for equivalence of foreign school qualifications regarding middle and secondary school with no documents certificating these qualifications?
For this matter, the claimant must take exams, which are the responsibility of the school, according to numbers 5 and 6 of article 10 of Decree-Law no. 227/2005, of the 28th December.
28. Are there extraordinary measures regarding the granting of equivalence of qualifications for citizens with refugee, subsidiary, and/or international protection?
Yes. You can read them at Ofício Circular S-DGE/2020/2040 – DSDC-DEPEB/ ANQEP SAI-GER 460/2020, August 2020.
29. Can I obtain an equivalence of qualifications acquired, exclusively by taking exams?
No. The equivalence is granted per school year passed, not as a result of exams taken, only, like, for example, the Exame Nacional de Ensino Médio - ENEM (Brazil); the Exame Nacional para Certificação de Competências de Jovens e Adultos - ENCCEJA (Brazil); or the General Educational Development Test – GED (United States of America).
30. How can I apply for a duplicate of the equivalence of foreign qualifications certificate?
You apply for the duplicate at the school or the department of the Ministry of Education that granted the equivalence.
For that matter, you must hand in the request at the school or send it via mail to the DGE, along with all the necessary information for identification of the process, as well as with updated personal data and reference to the recipient's address.
31. Is it possible to review the equivalence granted?
Yes. You need to hand in a request, duly reasoned by:
i. documents to justify the request, the purpose of the certificate, and/or review of the equivalence grade;
ii. changes regarding the law that rules the granting of equivalence.
32. Does the DGE validate professional qualifications?
No. For more information go to Agência Nacional para a Qualificação e o Ensino Profissional, I.P. (ANQEP) and Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional (IEFP).
33. Is there equivalence of foreign qualifications achieved through home-schooling or individual education?
34. Is there equivalence of foreign qualifications achieved through distance learning?
No. The exception is foreign qualifications achieved through distance learning in the official education system of a certain country. To apply for equivalence under these circumstances, you need evidence documents certified by the competent entity.
35. Is there equivalence to two or more foreign qualifications achieved simultaneously, during the same school year, and certified by the same foreign education institution?
No. The qualification certificates must mention the results obtained in a single education system and/or international program in the corresponding grading scale.
36. Is there equivalence to primary or secondary school qualifications from qualifications obtained in higher education, notably universities?
No. For equivalence granting purposes, it is necessary to have certificates of the successful conclusion of the school levels equivalent to elementary or secondary education.
37. Where can I get information about access to higher education in Portugal?
At Direção-Geral do Ensino Superior (DGES).
38. Where can I get recognition of higher education foreign qualifications (degrees or diplomas)?
At Direção-Geral do Ensino Superior (DGES).
39. Can I go to the DGE for help?
No. If you need help, you can contact us at Portal de Apoio Online.