Validation of foreign higher education qualifications
Have you completed a course at a higher education institution outside the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, and do you now want to take up a career in Austria which requires an Austrian higher education qualification by law? If so, you need to apply for validation (nostrification).
What is validation?
Validation (nostrification) is the recognition of a foreign higher education qualification as equivalent to a domestic bachelor’s, master’s, diploma or doctorate degree. The competent body for academic affairs at a public university is responsible for this, or the Board (Kollegium) of a university of applied sciences. The successful validation of a foreign higher education qualification means it is fully equivalent to the corresponding Austrian higher education qualification in the relevant subject and has the same legal consequences. Applicants may then use the relevant Austrian academic title and thus be entitled to exercise those professions that are connected to the relevant higher education qualification in Austria.
Anyone wishing to practise as a doctor must prove that they have successfully completed their studies in medicine in Austria, that they are directly entitled to exercise this profession on the basis of EU law, or – if neither of these applies – that the foreign studies in medicine which they have completed have been validated in Austria.
However, no validation is required to exercise an activity in the private sector (for example as a bank employee). Here, the responsibility for determining whether the studies completed abroad are sufficient to gain equivalent qualifications is the employer’s alone.
What is valid within the EU, the EEA and Switzerland?
For citizens of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, there are specific regulations relating to accessing a range of academic professions. These citizens are also allowed direct entry to professional careers. In such cases, validation is neither necessary nor possible.
What do I need to do to be admitted for further study?
No validation is required in order to be admitted for further study. The higher education institution at which you want to study simply needs to check that the first course you completed is suitable preparation for further study, in terms of both the content and the level.
Where can I apply for validation?
You can apply for validation at any university which is equipped to provide a comparable course in Austria (including public universities, universities of applied sciences, university colleges of teacher education or any other post-secondary institutions). In many cases, this is possible at several different universities; it is your choice which university you apply to for validation. However, you may only apply to a single university for validation.
What do I need to submit?
You need to submit:
- A passport
- Proof of the status of the foreign higher education institution or other post-secondary educational institution
- Documents containing as much detail as possible about the foreign course, for example the curriculum, your student record book, study guide, examination certificates, research papers and certificate of completion
- Documentation showing that you have completed the course and been awarded the academic degree
- A statement on the professional activity you wish to exercise
You must either submit the original or a certified copy of these documents. The original award certificate must always be submitted. Documents in languages other than German must be accompanied by certified translations. All foreign documents must be properly certified, where this is required by international agreements.
We recommend that you get in touch with the relevant office before submitting an application in order to clarify that you have all the necessary documents.
How much does validation cost?
There is a validation fee which currently stands at 150 euros, payable in advance. Fees and administrative charges are payable in addition to this.
What if validation is not possible?
If validation is not possible because your course was too different to the Austrian one, you may still apply to be admitted to the Austrian course and, once admitted, apply for recognition of examinations from your course abroad, provided these are equivalent to the Austrian ones. You will then be able to take and complete the Austrian course.
There are special procedures for specific higher education qualifications from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia, and from pontifical universities. The recognition process is simplified for particular courses in these cases on the basis of specific agreements.
The contact points are the bodies responsible for academic affairs at the public universities and the Boards (Kollegien) at the universities of applied sciences.