Overview: Procedure for formal recognition

There are no uniform rules in Austria for formal recognition of qualifications from abroad. 

The procedure applied for recognising qualifications (degrees) from abroad depends on the area for which the qualification is needed. There are four types of recognition:

  • Professional recognition (professional accreditation) of regulated professions for the purposes of the EU Recognition Directive.
  • Nostrification of college and school-leaving certificates
  • Validation of academic degrees and diplomas for the purposes of exercising a profession
  • Accreditation of skilled trade certificates

Professional recognition

Formal recognition of professional qualifications (professional accreditation) is only possible in regulated professions. Regulated means that evidence of certain qualifications in particular professions is a prerequisite for being able to work in a profession in Austria. The following types of professional recognition exist under EU law depending on the type of regulated profession.

  • Recognition (accreditation) of professional qualifications through a comparison with Austrian qualification requirements
  • Automatic recognition based on corresponding training experience
  • Notification of the cross-border provision of services (if the activity is only being exercised temporarily and no request is made to open a commercial establishment in Austria).

The application office that should be contacted depends on whether the training or degrees were acquired in the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland or in a third country.  

The Recognition Guide helps you find the right application office or advice centre as well as further information to suit your personal needs. 

Nostrification – recognition of college and university admission certificates

Nostrification of foreign college and school-leaving certificates aims to ensure the most extensive accreditation possible by matching the content of the certificates submitted with Austrian curricula. Greater differences must be balanced out using supplementary examinations.

Responsibility: Austrian Federal Ministry of Education

Possibility of assessing foreign school-leaving certificates

Evaluation of foreign school-leaving certificates should make it easier to assess any school-leaving certificates obtained abroad and allow a basic assessment of comparability with an Austrian school-leaving certificate. The evaluation does not replace the recognition of qualifications for access to careers governed by statute

or nostrification of certificates.

Applications are free of charge and must be submitted online at the following link: www.asbb.at 

Responsibility: Austrian Federal Ministry of Education

Equivalence of school-leaving certificates

The equivalence between school-leaving certificates acquired abroad and Austrian school-leaving certificates must be reviewed before starting university studies.

Responsibility: the university, university of applied sciences or teaching college where the student is to be enrolled.

Equivalence of school-leaving certificates through agreement

In many cases the equivalence of school-leaving certificates is based on inter-governmental agreements. The content therefore no longer needs to be reviewed, it just needs to be confirmed in administrative terms.

Responsibility: the university, university of applied sciences or teaching college where the student is to be enrolled.

Validation – recognition at the university level

The goal in the recognition of foreign academic diplomas and degrees is to establish the most precise compatibility possible with Austrian degrees. Evidence for the need for formal recognition must be provided in Austria in order to be able to submit a recognition application. No recognition (= validation) is normally required for university degrees acquired within the EU. This is the case for example if you are aiming to undertake work in the public or statutorily regulated area (e.g. as a civil engineer, lawyer, teacher or in certain trades), or you have gained your degree in an EU or EEA country or in Switzerland and already have a similar right to exercise the profession there.

Responsibility: the university, university of applied sciences or teaching college with whose degree a foreign academic degree is supposed to be equated. You can find more precise details about this process at www.nostrifizierung.at

Possibility of assessing foreign university degrees

An evaluation is an official recommendation or certificate that is used for better assessment and comparison of your diploma for employers or the Labour Market Service. The evaluation is not a decision and not a formal recognition, therefore it has no direct legal effect. 

Evaluation reports contain (to give an example) the following contents: Information on the training institution, basic classification (level, scope of training, etc.) and correlation with Austrian academic degrees. 

Requesting an evaluation is often useful when no validation is necessary or possible. It can make entry into the labour market easier. A fee is charged for the issuance:

  • €150 for the assessment of up to two qualifications per application
  • €200 for the assessment of three or more qualifications per application

Responsibility: Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (ENIC NARIC AUSTRIA – National Academic Recognition Information Centre). Applications are made online at www.aais.at.

Equivalence based on agreements

There are bilateral agreements in place with some countries that guarantee equivalence for degrees. In this event no validation is required. Determining equivalence is an administrative procedure. 

Responsibility: Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy

Recognition for studies

There is an option to have degrees gained abroad recognised as a prerequisite for admission to (further) studies. 

Responsibility: the university, university of applied sciences or teaching college where the student is to be enrolled.

Accreditation for the Austrian final apprenticeship examination

Some degree certificates or diplomas gained abroad may also receive accreditation for the Austrian final apprenticeship examination, potentially also taking into account professional experience that needs to be demonstrated. If there are differences in the education there is the possibility of completing the apprenticeship with supplementary examinations. There are professional training agreements in place with Germany, Hungary and South Tyrol, which make accreditation easier.

Responsibility: Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy 

Formal recognition without certificates or evidence

The new Austrian Recognition and Evaluation Act introduces changes in particular for individuals entitled to asylum and to subsidiary protection: any of these individuals who are unable to provide certificates or evidence of education and training through no fault of their own should contact an advice centre to discuss their options.