If you have studied abroad and have decided to continue studying or working in Spain, you must make sure you complete all the necessary procedures to accredit the studies completed and carry out the pertinent translations, if necessary. In addition, you will have to manage all the paperwork corresponding to the transfer. Keep in mind that carrying out some of these procedures remotely can be more complicated. Although some procedures can be done from here, it is convenient that you carry out all the possible procedures before traveling to Spain, such as unsubscribing at the Spanish consulate or embassy or closing a bank account.
With regard to the accreditation of the studies you have completed abroad, keep in mind that there are different procedures and depending on your objectives it will be convenient for you to start one or the other. Thus, we must distinguish between:
It will be important to start any of these processes whenever you want to continue official studies in Spain or when you want to access a regulated profession. As you will see below, the procedures to follow will vary depending on the level and type of studies you want to access.
In addition, depending on the country in which you have studied, you must carry out the legalization of the title. This procedure will not be necessary if the title has been issued by a member state of the EU, by one of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or by Switzerland. Countries that have signed the Hague Convention only require the apostille that certifies the authenticity of the signature. For the rest of the countries, it is necessary to carry out the legalization.
Foreign non-university degrees
To join any course in the compulsory education (Primary Education or Compulsory Secondary Education), or to carry out studies at any level, course or modality in which obtaining the Graduate in Compulsory Secondary Education is not a prerequisite, It is not necessary to do any previous studies equivalency procedure. The incorporation to the corresponding studies can be managed directly in the chosen center, in accordance with current regulations.
It is possible to request the recognition of equivalence of schooling of foreign studies comparable to 2nd or 3rd of ESO. To do this, it is necessary to have passed eight or nine years of schooling in a foreign system. This procedure is established with the aim of facilitating access to certain jobs for those people who have exceeded the age of compulsory schooling and need to prove their level of studies.
For the studies corresponding to the titles of Graduate in Compulsory Secondary Education, Baccalaureate, Professional Training (Basic, Middle and Higher Degree), Professional and Higher Artistic Education and Sports Education, one of the following two procedures can be carried out:
Homologation of foreign titles. This procedure will be carried out when the complete equivalence of the studies obtained with the Spanish is declared.
Validation of foreign studies. It will be carried out if the partial equivalence of the studies obtained abroad is declared with the aim of continuing the training in a Spanish center.
Keep in mind that studies carried out outside of Spain must meet certain requirements to qualify for their homologation or validation:
- They must be studies with Official validity in the country of origin.
- The studies have to be effectively surpassed in the country that issues them. In other words, the degrees cannot have been obtained by validation, homologation or recognition of studies carried out in a third country.
- The studies for which you want to apply for equivalency must be completely outgrown in the educational system of the other country, so individual subjects cannot be homologated or validated.
- It must exist sufficient equivalency at the academic level, duration and content, with the Spanish reference title with which you want to make the equivalence.
- The Spanish studies with which you want to equate the studies obtained abroad must be fully implanted in the Spanish educational system at the time you request the equivalence.
- The interested person cannot have previously obtained the title in the Spanish educational system or the studies for which you request homologation or validation.
In Spain, the body in charge of the homologations and validations of this type of studies is the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training. However, the web pages of the Education Departments of the autonomous community in which you reside offer useful information to start the procedure.
Foreign university degrees
Remember that each of these processes requires a application form that you will have to complete and deliver to the relevant body, in addition to paying the corresponding rate.
Keep in mind that in addition to these procedures, Spain has specific academic agreements with Germany, Italy, France and China, to facilitate the recognition of studies for academic purposes. You can find out about the specifications and characteristics of each of them at the Ministry of Universities.
Consult the different possibilities that you have at your fingertips if you are interested in continuing with university education.
Homologation of foreign university degrees
The homologation corresponds to the equalization of a degree obtained abroad with a current Spanish qualification at the bachelor’s or master’s degree levels that gives access to a regulated profession in Spain. This homologation procedure is the exclusive competence of the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training.
Said homologation will give foreign students who obtain it the possibility of exercising the regulated profession in question under the same conditions as the holders of the Spanish qualifications that they qualify for.
The homologation of these higher degrees obtained abroad can be requested as long as the studies to be homologated are fully implemented in a Spanish university at the time of the homologation request.
When deficiencies are detected in the accredited training in the foreign country in relation to the training required to obtain the corresponding Spanish qualification, the homologation process may entail the completion of training complements (aptitude test, internship period, courses, etc.) for the next four years, which will be indicated in the resolution. Each file is studied and evaluated in a particular way, to offer solutions tailored to the conditions of each of the applicants.
Equivalence of foreign university studies
The equivalence of university degrees obtained in non-Spanish higher education institutions carries the same effects at the academic, non-professional level, as the Spanish degrees included in the area and specific field of training with which the equivalence has been requested.
The equivalence, therefore, will be processed for non-qualifying studies for the exercise of a regulated profession or when it is simply needed accredit the academic level.
Professional recognition of foreign university studies
This procedure is intended exclusively for those students who have obtained a qualification issued by one of the institutions of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and members of the agreement on the European Economic Area and Switzerland.
These universities use a European system of attribution and transfer of academic credits (ECTS) that aims to facilitate the process of recognition of degrees for professional practice through the transparency of study programs and the use of academic records.
You can find advice and more detailed information on the recognition of these credits at the National Information Centers on the Revalidation of Academic Titles (NARIC), which exist in all member states and depend on the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training.
This recognition leads to the authorization to exercise certain professions throughout the national territory. The difference with respect to the homologation is for academic purposes, but not for the purposes of professional practice.
Validation of foreign university studies
The validation of the studies is the responsibility of the Spanish university in which the student wishes to continue their higher education. The degree obtained after the total completion of the studies will be issued by the Spanish university, regardless of whether it has been partially studied abroad.
Those degrees that lack official academic validity in the country of origin, those degrees obtained by a professional recognition higher than 15% of the total academic credits, nor those that have been previously requested for homologation, regardless of whether the resolution has been positive or negative.