Recognition of qualifications
Countries have unique educational systems and have specific professional bodies awarding qualifications. Getting your qualifications formally recognised will help you find both study and work opportunities in the UK.
Why get your qualifications recognised?
Once your professional qualifications have been recognised, you will be able to access the profession and practice it in the UK.
If you are planning on coming to the UK to continue academic studies or work, it is important you think about your existing qualifications. They demonstrate relevant skills and knowledge to prospective employers or educational institutions. It is important to always try to contextualise your existing qualifications, ensuring that you try to explain the grading system in your home country to offer a benchmark of comparison.
How to get started
Check with the institution or university where you are applying if the qualification obtained in your country is officially recognised in the UK, and whether it would require an additional verification, translation or apostille from your home country in order to be accepted. Regulated professions such as medicine, dentistry, law and architecture are a separate category and may be subject to additional requirements for recognition. Since the end of the transition period following Brexit, from 1 January 2021, there will be a new temporary process for recognition of European professional qualifications in the UK.
In Europe there is a strong commitment to ease the recognition of qualifications and enable new international relationships and encourage a transfer of skills and knowledge.
This is illustrated in The Bologna process. It aims to make the academic standards and quality assurance process more comparable and compatible across European nations for higher education qualifications, and The Lisbon Convention is a major pillar in this regard. The Convention facilitates the recognition of qualifications across the region in that an academic award from one country should be recognised in another provided they are not vastly different, for instance in the required length of study. The Convention has been ratified by all 47 member states of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, except for Greece and Monaco. It has also been ratified by the Council of Europe non-member states Australia, Belarus, Canada, the Holy Sea, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and New Zealand. The United States has signed but not ratified the convention.
If you have obtained your educational qualification in the UK you may be able to use internationally. You have to ensure you are studying with a recognised UK provider, and in some cases British Council offices abroad may be able to offer certification, verification and assistance with legalisation services, for example in Bulgaria, Greece and Oman.
The diploma supplement outlines key information, such as institution details, module content, the marks achieved and offers a comparison to the national equivalent qualifications. This can be requested from the university or institution at which you studied. Find out more
UK NARIC is designed to assist in the process of recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills. It performs this official function on behalf of the UK Government, but please note that some of their services are provided for a fee. Learn more.
When should I start?
It is advised that you start gathering formal documentation and proof of your qualifications before you arrive in the UK. Contact your educational institutions and any professional bodies to receive your official qualifications.
Be aware of timescales – requesting to verify or apostill your qualifications may take time. In other cases, you may also need to allow enough time to prepare all necessary documentation before travelling to the UK.