The education certificates issued in another country have legal validity in Latvia. In order to continue education at tertiary level or be employed in non-regulated professions, Latvian legal recognition of the education certificate issued abroad is not strictly regulated in all cases. Recognition has to be obtained at the request of the higher education institution or employer.
In general the final decision on recognition of different education certificates issued abroad is done by:
- The Ministry of Education and Science – in order to continue studies at primary or secondary education level;
- Regulatory bodies defined by law – in order to practice a regulated profession;
- The higher education institution to which the individual wishes to apply – in order to continue studies at higher education level;
- An employer – in order to work in the non-regulated professions.
Recognition of professional qualifications
Professional qualifications in fields which are regulated in Latvia need to be recognized through a specific procedure for professional recognition in order for individuals to be allowed to practice professional activities. The Law on “Regulated professions and recognition of professional qualifications” determines the procedure. The database of regulated professions in Latvia is available on the Academic Information Centre’s (AIC) web page.
For the recognition of a regulated professional qualification acquired abroad, the individual has to submit an application, a copy of their passport or EU ID card, documents attesting the acquired education in the profession, a certificate from competent home institutions on rights to exercise the profession, a certificate of work experience in the home state (if available), and a certificate of good conduct (for doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives, pharmacists, architects, veterinary surgeons). Documents which are not in Latvian, English or Russian should be translated into Latvian.
The information institution (in most cases it is AIC, see also data base) checks the documents and sends them to the competent body. The competent body takes a decision on recognition, partial recognition or denial of recognition and sends its decision to the AIC. AIC forwards the decision to the applicant.
The answer should be prepared within 4 months after the submission of the full file or within 3 months for EU doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives, pharmacists, architects, veterinary surgeons.
The cost for the professional recognition procedure is 240 EUR.
2. University education certificates
According to the Law on Education (as amended on May 11, 2000), the body that evaluates foreign credentials is the Latvian Academic Information Centre (AIC), which serves as Latvian ENIC/NARIC. AIC issues recognition statements that have a status of recommendation. Expert conclusions concerning certificates/diplomas of education or academic degrees awarded in foreign countries have to be issued by the AIC. Expert conclusions have to determine the conformity of a certificate/ diploma or an academic degree awarded in a foreign country to a document of education or an academic degree in Latvia to which it can be equated. The Academic information centre’s evaluation costs 48.38 euros.
A person who has an education document obtained abroad and wants to study or to work in a non-regulated profession in Latvia should submit to the AIC originals or certified copies of the educational document and diploma supplement (transcript of records). If necessary, translations of the documents may be required.
AIC evaluates the level of the qualification compared to the Latvian educational system and issues its statement of comparison. This statement together with the educational document should be submitted to the educational institution or employer who has requested it.
ECTS (European Course Credit Transfer System) has originally been developed as a European system within the framework of the SOCRATES / ERASMUS EU-Programmes. ECTS provides a method of measuring and comparing learning achievements and transferring them from one institution to another. ECTS with its fixed points of allowance should simplify recognition of achievements across EU countries.
The credit point system applied in Latvia is compatible with ECTS but the value of a credit point is different. A Latvian credit point is defined as a one-week full-time study workload. A study workload of a full-time study year is at least 40 credit points. Thus, to obtain the number of ECTS credit points one has to multiply the number of Latvian credit points by a factor of 1.5. Credit points are also used for credit accumulation in traditional types of studies, but not yet applied for life-long learning.
The "Diploma Supplement" has been created by the European Commission, the European Council and UNESCO and complements the school leaving certificates of universities and colleges. The "Diploma Supplement" is issued by the higher education institutions and is mandatory from the year 2004. It covers:
- Skills and competences acquired;
- Range of occupations accessible;
- Awarding and accreditation bodies;
- Level of the certificate;
- Different ways of acquiring the certificate;
- Entry requirements and access opportunities to next level education.
This is intended to promote transparency and international comparability as well as the recognition of academic and vocational qualifications in foreign countries.
3. Non university certificates
Following the European Community directive, qualifications and practical knowledge gained in a member country are valid throughout the European Union. Anyone who is therefore qualified for a particular profession in his home country can practice that profession in any other member country, although this may require certain validation procedures, depending on the profession.
Since there are often differences between the individual countries regarding training methods and final examinations for so-called regulated professions, the European Union has introduced a uniform system for the recognition of qualifications. Regulated professions are those which require specific diplomas, certificates or special qualifications according to national regulations. Thus anyone wishing to work abroad as a teacher, lawyer, engineer or psychologist (in Latvia these qualifications correspond to university level education) must apply to the responsible authorities of the relevant country for recognition of his/her professional qualification. The authorities then have four months in which to verify the application. If they ascertain that the content and duration of the training differ considerably from the corresponding national training course the authorities can demand to see a certificate of professional experience or the candidate is required to addend an adaptation course or take an aptitude test.
Where to get information on academic and professional recognition of foreign qualifications in Latvia?