Recognition and validation of non-university qualifications and studies

What do you need to know?

It is the procedure by which the official validity of non-university qualifications gained and studies completed abroad is recognised in Spain.


Recognition confirms the academic level, enabling you to continue studies at the next academic level and practise your profession. Official recognition implies the declaration of equivalence with qualifications within the current Spanish education system. All non-university studies from education systems abroad can be recognised, except languages. Studies must have been completed and a qualification obtained.

Validation involves recognition of studies completed abroad and enables the student to finish the subjects or courses which have not been validated, or gain the qualification in the country where they want to validate it. Studies need not have been completed nor a qualification obtained.

Who does it apply to?

It is aimed at individuals who want to obtain recognition or validation for non-university qualifications from studies done abroad.


  • Students from foreign education systems joining primary or secondary education (compulsory education) do not have to apply for recognition.
  • Neither do adults wishing to undertake compulsory secondary education studies.

What requirements must be met?

  • Individuals applying for recognition or validation must live in Catalonia.
  • Original documents must be submitted legalised (the original document must be legalised) and must be accompanied by their official translation, if necessary.
  • Qualifications, diplomas and academic certificates must be officially valid and be issued by the relevant authorities in the country they relate to.
  • In the case of recognition, the studies must have been successfully completed in the country of origin.
  • Each and every one of the courses prior to the one you want to be recognised or validated must have been passed. Subjects are not validated individually.
  • There must be sufficient academic similarities, in terms of duration and content, to the Spanish qualification or qualifications.
  • It must last a minimum of a full academic year, as studies of less than one academic year cannot be validated. If you studied for a semester, or for one or two terms, these studies cannot be recognised or validated.
  • In the case of studies undertaken at a foreign school located in Spain:
    • The school teaching them must have authorisation from the relevant Spanish education authority.
    • You cannot have previously obtained the same qualification or undertaken the same studies in the Spanish education system.
  • The original qualification must be recognised. A foreign qualification obtained by recognition, validation or acknowledgement of another qualification obtained in a third country cannot be recognised.

What do you need to do?

In person.The application form can only be filled in online, but once completed, you must download it and present it at one of the registration offices along with the required documentation.

What steps must you follow?

Step 1: Fill in the application and gather the documentation

You need to fill in and send the application form for recognition and validation of foreign non-university qualifications or studies. After doing so, the application will generate the following documents:

    • Receipt for the application, with its electronic registration number and the date.
    • The documentation submission sheet, which lists the documents to be submitted. This document serves as a conditional registration sheet and it is important to keep it until the credential is received, because it can be used to register for certain studies or to do entrance examinations.
    • The receipt for payment of the fee and the time limit for paying it.
  • For recognition of completion of secondary education, there is no fee payable and, therefore, the site only generates the other two documents.
  • Print, on one side only, the three documents obtained and keep them, as they are needed to continue with the process. In the case of the documentation submission sheet, print two copies because the registry keeps one copy.
  • In the event that the above documents are not generated automatically, you will receive them as attachments at the email address appearing in the application. Wait until you get the e-mail and do not make a new application.
  • After sending the application, if you need to correct any errors or make any changes to the details, go to the processing point (by appointment only) to request the correction or change. Do not open a new application.
  • Please remember that you can put your telephone number on the application to receive status notifications.
  • Before continuing with the application, find out about and prepare the documentation that will be requested.
Step 2: Pay the fee
  • In order to pay the fee, it is essential to have the payment receipt which was generated when you made the application. This document gives instructions on how to make the payment.
  • It is essential that you pay the fee for the recognition or validation application to be processed. If you do not pay it, you will be deemed to have withdrawn the application.
Step 3: Request an appointment to submit your documentation
  • Request an appointment at one of the registration offices.
  • On the day of your appointment, make sure you bring the required academic documentation, together with the proof that you have submitted an online application and that the fee has been paid.
Step 4: You will receive the decision
  • Once you have submitted the recognition or validation application, if you said yes to receiving electronic notifications, in the event that the authority needs to request something from you, you will get an email or text message. If you did not say yes to receiving electronic notifications, you will receive any requests by post at the address shown on the application.
  • You will get a letter telling you where you need to collect the proof of recognition or validation from. 

Who should apply for it?

The application should be submitted by the individual who wants to have the studies recognised, or his or her parents or legal guardians.

What documentation is needed?

The documentation needed to process recognition and validation of non-university qualifications depends on the course you want to be recognised, however, it must comply with the following:

  • General documentation:
    • Document proving the applicant’s identity: passport, Spanish national identity document (DNI), identity number for foreign nationals (NIE) or document from an EU country (must be current and have a photograph).
    • The documents to be submitted must be originals and be accompanied by the corresponding certified photocopies. A certified copy is a true copy of the original document which certifies its validity. It can be applied for at registry offices or via a Spanish notary, by submitting the original document. For more information, check the relevant section on the Barcelona City Council formalities website (available in Catalan and Spanish).


The documents must be translated into Catalan or Spanish by a sworn translator and legalised. In the case of multilingual standard EU forms, neither translation nor authentication is required.

The form of legalisation will depend on whether the issuing country has signed the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 or not:

If the country issuing the public document is a signatory, the document will be recognised if it bears the Hague Apostille stamp. The certificate will be processed in the country of origin.

If the country issuing the public document is not a signatory, then the legalisation process will be carried out through diplomatic channels.

Get more information about the legalisation and translation of documents.

  • Documentation must be submitted with the documentation submission sheet that you receive when you make the online application.
  • Documentation for recognition or validation of completion of Compulsory Secondary Education or first year of the baccalaureate: official academic certificate for the last two school years finished. Subjects studied, grades and academic years must be stated.
  • Documentation for recognition or validation of full baccalaureate: final qualification, diploma or certificate obtained.
  • Documentation for recognition or validation of professional training and arts and sports education:
    • Qualification, diploma or certificate obtained.
    • Total number of hours studies for each one of the subjects, with the official duration of the study plan followed.
    • Official academic certificate for the studies undertaken prior to those to be validated.
    • Study plan, stamped by the school or college, with the subject content.
    • Evidence of any work experience done.
    • Certificate of services provided to companies in relation to the qualification to be recognised.

The assessment body may also require such documents as it deems necessary to prove equivalence between the foreign studies undertaken and the Spanish qualification or studies in relation to which they are to be recognised or validated.

What does it cost?

To apply for recognition of completion of secondary education, there is no fee payable.

For all other educational disciplines, the fee varies depending on the qualification to be recognised. The amounts payable are the same as those payable for the issuance of academic and professional qualifications.

Want to know more?

Body responsible for the formality

The Catalan Ministry of Education (Generalitat de Catalunya-Government of Catalonia).

Further information

Go to the country guide on the Studying in Catalonia portal to get specific additional information.

Important linked formalities

Some examples of formalities which you may be asked to complete prior to the recognition and validation of qualifications are set out below:


The procedures tend to change frequently. Therefore, only what is provided by the regulations in force at the time of carrying out the procedure in question is applicable.