Have you acquired a professional qualification in your home country and would like to validate or homologate it in Spain? Whether you are a doctor, lawyer, architect or if you want to work in any other regulated profession in Spain (as well as if you want to know how to validate your high school diploma), read on! In this article you area bout to learn everything you need to know about obtaining the recognition of your foreign qualifications in the country successfully (and saving time!).
The three types of procedures to get degree recognition in Spain
It is very important to pay attention to this point since there are three different ways to validate your title or education so that it is fully recognized in the country: homologation, equivalence, and partial validation.
What is the difference between them and what do they each mean?
Homologation (“homologación” in Spanish) is nothing more than the official validation in Spain of a higher education degree (or of certain subjects taken) obtained abroad.
In other words, it is the process by which the competent body (in this case the Ministry of Education and Professional Training) will recognize the degree (whether a university, master’s or postgraduate degree, for example) that you have studied and obtained in your country of origin as an official Spanish one.
In other words, this process makes the degree obtained abroad official and fully valid for legal purposes in Spain.
This is the case, for example, of those non-EU citizens who want to homologate their medical degree.
And that is because this procedure is necessary and required for all regulated professions in Spain; that is, those that require a a certain degree of prior knowledge. We are talking about the case of doctors, lawyers, architects or engineers, for example.
So if your intention is to work in any of these positions or similar, you should carry out the homologation procedure of your university degree beforehand.
What are the regulated professions that require homologation in Spain?
In the first Annex of the Royal Decree 967/2014 you will be able to find the complete list of professions that need prior validation, which are
- Speech therapist
- Occupational Therapist
- General Health Psychologist
- Engineer (road, aeronautical, industrial, etc.)
- Technical Engineer (public works, aeronautical, agricultural, naval, etc)
- Technical Architect
- Early Childhood Education Teacher
- Elementary School Teacher
- Teacher of Compulsory Secondary Education and Baccalaureate, Vocational Training and Language Teaching
- Court attorney
On the other hand, we find equivalence (which is not the same as homologation, since homologation may require you to take or study additioanl subjects in Spain, as we will see in a second), which is called “equivalencia” in Spanish.
In this case, this method implies that the degree obtained in your country of origin is comparable to one in Spain (so it gets full automatical recognition) since it is sufficiently effective and similar in when it comes to content.
Equivalence is necessary for the rest of the non-regulated professions, such as marketing professionals or accountants; job positions that may require a university or professional degree as a minimum requirement during the recruiting process.
And, finally, we find the process of partial validation.
This procedure will be suitable for those foreign students who have started their career or degree abroad and who want to finish it in Spain (meaning they are now half way through obtaining their title).
In this case, they will carry out a partial validation of the subjects they have already completed, in order to finish the remaining ones in their new country of residence.
Here it won’t be the Ministry of Justice who manages the validation, but the host university itself; which can validate all the subjects already taken or just those that it considers to be most in line with its syllabus.
The process is usually much faster in this case.
Who needs to homologate her degrees in Spain?
Below you will find all the cases in which it will be necessary to homologate or validate your foreign studies degree.
Basically, we are talking about those non-EU citizens in Spain who…
- Would like to continue their studies at a higher level, either master’s or postgraduate
- Have studied high school in their country of origin and would like to start working in Spain in any profession (as high school is usually a requirement)
- Want to participate in a public competition to sit an administrative examination or apply for a post with the Spanish Government
- Would like to work in Spain in a regulated position, so this step is required by law (as we have seen, this would be the case for doctors or lawyers)
- Want to have high professional and social recognition in their new country of residence
- Have studied in Spain in any school that bases its teachings on a foreign educational system (without taking into account primary or secondary education)
Obviously, for those positions where no credentials are required, it will not be necessary to validate a foreign degree. Therefore, depending on your situation and plans in Spain, you may not need to have your degree homologated.
For more specific answers, we recommend that you contact our team of lawyers so that we can assess what you should do for your personal case:
How does it work? Previous considerations
Before we dive deep into the legal process required for the recognition of your degree, it will be important to first understand the logic behind how it all works.
Keep in mind that the Ministry of Education (the institution in charge of this process), after evaluating your application, will decide whether to validate your entire degree or diploma, or to just validate some of the subjects you have passed (and not the entire program studied abroad).
This is because there are certain degrees in which the content taught is homogeneous in any country in the world (for example medicine), while others (such as law) can vary greatly depending on the territory, so they can’t be directly recognized as valid in Spain.
What happens then if you don’t get the whole degree approved?
In that case, the Ministry will ask you for proof that demonstrates you really have enough knowledge to have your degree recognized in Spain.
This is done by means of a test (called “prueba de conjunto”). In other words, you may be required to:
- Either attend university to take certain non-accredited subjects, pass a final exam
- You directly prepare on your own for an exam that you will take at the university
On the other hand, it is important to know that there are certain careers that, although they can be studied in your country of origin, do not exist in Spain.
It is in these situations that you will have to resort to the list that the Spanish Ministry of Education has, which includes the repertoire of courses that are similar to the one you have studied. There you will find out which degrees are the ones the government recommends for possible validation (that is, which degrees in Spain are most similar to the one you have studied, and therefore you could aim to directly obtain).
Step-by-step legal process to get your degree recognition
We can divide the process to validate your title in the following stages:
Gather and prepare all the required documentation
The first step will be to prepare all the documents required by the Ministry of Education, which you can find in detail here.
But basically, we are talking about:
- Valid passport and copy.
- In the case of being in Spain, student card or residence card.
- Application form, which must be properly filled out. You can download it from this link.
- Diploma of degree or of finished studies, legalized or apostilled before the competent authority. Thus, it is essential that the foreign studies have been completed successfully in their entirety.
- Academic curriculum, including the complete syllabus detailing all the subjects taken and a brief summary of each, the total duration of each course, weekly hour intensity, in addition to the grade per subject.
- Accreditation of linguistic competence, demonstrating that the foreigner has sufficient knowledge of the Spanish language to perform the desired job position.
As you can see, it is not necessary to be the holder of a residence permit in order to carry out this validation successfully. However, it won’t be until you obtain your residence and/or work authorization that you will be able to take the superior degree you had planned or start working for the company for which you validate your degree.
*If you are from a country where the official language is different from Spanish, you will have to legally translate all the documents to be submitted.
Certify your copies
The second phase of the process, once you have all the documents ready, will consist of certifying them.
That is, at the time of application you must present the original and a certified copy of all the documents. And, basically, certifying them means getting a “legal” and valid copy of the original.
On the day of the document submission, you will hand in the originals and their copy, and then the originals will be returned to you so you can keep them.
Where to do it?
- If you are in Spain, you simply need to bring the original and copy of each document on the day of the application, and the administration itself will perform the compulsion.
- If you are in your home country, you must take all the documents to the Spanish embassy so that they can carry out this procedure.
Pay the corresponding fee
Then you must pay the corresponding fee.
In this case, we are talking about the model 790 code 107, which you’ll have to pay before your appointment (hence bringing the the document certifying the payment was completed successfully).
It currently costs about 163 euros, although this amount may vary depending on the year.
Submit all the paperwork
And the moment of truth comes. Once the fee has been paid and you have all the documents in order, you must submit the application to the Ministry of Education.
Where exactly and how?
If you are in Spain, you can do it in any public registry of the General State Administration, Autonomous Communities and some of the Local Administrations.
But it is not necessary for you to go in person. You can also designate a legal representative to submit all the paperwork on your behalf (after granting him/her a power of attorney).
Once all the documentation has been delivered, you will be given a receipt with your file number, with which you will be able to check the status of the procedure, so keep it safe!
Receive your approval
After waiting for you resolution, you will finally receive your validated and recognized degree. What will be next? Picking it up: the withdrawal of the credential.
And in that sense you also have two options:
- You can go to Madrid to pick up the homologated degree, at the “Subdirección General de Títulos”, located at Paseo de la Castellana 162. The reception hours are from Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 10:00.
- Or you can also ask for it to be sent to your home (although this will extend the final reception even more, about 3 extra months), at the address you specified when you started the process.
How long does it take?
Currently, the Ministry of Education can take between 1 and a half and 2 years to validate your title.
However, partial validations with the university are usually much faster, taking between 6 and 8 months.
It is very important to keep these deadlines in mind if, for example, you are going to apply for a competitive examination or if you are planning to start working in the country.
Our recommendation is that you do the validation as soon as possible, even months or years before you move to Spain, so that you have everything ready once you arrive.
By using the same link through which you started your online application you also will be able to check the status of your application.
If you have any doubts or would like our team of lawyers to help you in the process of homologation or validation of your foreign educational degree, please do not hesitate to contact us!
Book a consultation with one of our lawyers and solve all your doubts: