Recognition of foreign qualifications / documents issued
The recognition of a foreign qualification is a procedure that assesses the qualification in question in comparison with the French qualifications framework and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).
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The principle of equivalence between a qualification (or an equivalent diploma) obtained abroad and a qualification (or an equivalent diploma) issued by the French Ministry of National Education and Higher Education does not exist in France.
The French ENIC-NARIC Centre delivers comparability statements.
N.B. A comparability statement is an official document issued at the discretion of the French ENIC-NARIC Centre. This document carries no legal value and is not mandatory. The final decision regarding application for employment or further study lies with the employer, the training institution or any other administrative institution.
In general, the comparability statement takes into account the original qualification and all the characteristics of the education system to which it belongs (duration of studies, academic requirements, etc.).
How is the statement established?
In order to decide whether to issue a statement, experts from the French ENIC-NARIC Centre undertake specific research for each application and perform the following tasks:
- Consulting official and specialised sources of information and databases
- Contacting the competent foreign authorities and other centres in the ENIC-NARIC network in order to exchange and share expertise
- Contacting the administrative authorities of the country of origin in order to verify the authenticity of the qualification(s) (if necessary)
In line with the Lisbon Convention, to establish a reliable and accurate comparison of the foreign qualification with the French system, experts from the French ENIC-NARIC Centre use an analytical framework consisting of 10 criteria based on international laws and the good practices of the ENIC-NARIC network. Two (2) eligibility criteria and eight (8) assessment criteria are used:
|Eligibility criteria||Recognition of the qualification by the state authorities in the country of origin|
|Status of the institution in the country of origin|
|Formal indicators||Bilateral or multilateral agreement|
|Level of the qualification in a national or international qualifications framework|
|Official duration of studies|
|Programme entry requirements|
|Components of the qualification (knowledge, skills, ‘learning outcomes’)|
|Academic and professional opportunities|
|Quality Assurance||Existence of an independent and external assessment of the education/training programme or the institution|
The comparability statement is useful and important for:
- Applying to undertake further study in a higher education institution, if the latter requires it
- Supporting job-seeking in order to assert the validity of the foreign qualification in the eyes of employers, especially if the profession is not regulated
The French ENIC-NARIC Centre issues comparability statements under certain conditions:
- The original qualification must be recognised by the competent authorities of the country (of origin) where the qualification was issued
- The qualification attests to the completion of academic and/or vocational training
- Existence of the qualification in its original language
The French ENIC-NARIC Centre does not issue comparability statements for:
- Qualifications for which the training is of short duration (less than 6 months, equivalent to 600 hours per full-time semester)
- Qualifications certifying language skills alone
- Qualifications relating to the practice of a regulated profession (e.g. doctor, lawyer, dentist, pharmacist, etc.)
The French ENIC-NARIC Centre adopts a specific procedure for the recognition of qualifications held by refugees. This is a flexible and responsive procedure which is based on the texts of the Lisbon Convention (Article VII – Recognition of qualifications held by refugees, displaced persons and persons in a refugee-like situation).
Applications for recognition of qualifications held by refugees are assessed as a priority and are free of charge.
The French ENIC-NARIC Centre actively participates in meetings and events concerning refugees (October 2015 in Brussels; seminar of 29 February and 1 March 2016 at UNESCO in Paris). On 10 March 2016 it organised a seminar on ‘The recognition of qualifications of refugees: What procedure for flexible and responsive recognition?’
Statement of recognition of studies / training:
When a foreign qualification cannot be compared with a qualification level in France, the French ENIC-NARIC Centre will, if possible, issue a statement of recognition of studies / training abroad. The criteria used to assess the qualification in question are the same as those used for a comparability statement. This type of statement is useful for evaluating years of university study completed by the applicant, which may in certain situations enable the education/training institution to authorise an exemption from studies.