Certified translation of the evidence of formal qualifications, transcripts, and other documents may be requested by the recognition body only in specific cases stipulated by law (for example, in case the evidence of formal qualifications was issued outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland). Before making certified translations, it is therefore recommended to contact the competent recognition body that can be found in the database of regulated professions.
3. What the process entails
The recognition of evidence of formal and professional qualifications is a two-stage process:
- The first step is the recognition of evidence of formal qualifications required to pursue a regulated profession (a university diploma, school-leaving certificate, apprenticeship certificate, etc., obtained in formal education). This process is completed within two months of the submission of a complete application. The administration fee is €50.
- The second step is the recognition of professional qualifications (other conditions are assessed, such as professional experience, certificates obtained in non-formal education or as part of the applicant’s lifelong learning, etc.). This process is completed within one month of the submission of a complete application. The administration fee is €50.
The authorities competent to recognise evidence of formal and professional qualifications can be found in the database of regulated professions (only in Slovak).
For most professions, applicants first contact the Centre for the Recognition of Diplomas at the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic (the ‘Ministry of Education’), which currently only recognises evidence of formal qualifications.
The Ministry of Education provides this service electronically on the slovensko.sk website: Recognition of evidence of foreign formal qualifications for the pursuit of a regulated profession in Slovakia.
The Ministry of Education’s decision on the recognition of evidence of formal qualifications is only part of – not the end result of – the process of recognising professional qualifications. A decision on the recognition of professional qualifications, which is issued by another competent authority in Slovakia, is also required in order for a regulated profession to be pursued. Applicants look up the authority they need in the list of regulated professions and submit an application to it for the recognition of their professional qualifications.
If evidence of formal qualifications is not required for a profession, the first step may be omitted, i.e. applicants apply directly to the body responsible for recognising professional qualifications. Examples include trades classified in Slovakia as ‘crafts’ or ‘regulated trades, which may be carried out on the basis of a certificate of professional competence or experience obtained in another Member State. In these cases, applicants apply directly to the Trade Licensing Department at the Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic.
If the same authority is responsible for both steps (recognition of evidence of formal qualifications and recognition of professional qualifications), they are assessed in joint procedure within three months, and the administration fee is €100. This concerns the following professions:
- architects (from EU Member States, the EEA and Switzerland); the first step is for applicants to contact the Slovak Chamber of Architects directly; professional qualifications from Member States are recognised automatically;
- veterinarians; the first step is for applicants to get in direct contact with the State Veterinary and Food Administration of the Slovak Republic if the profession is to be pursued within the state sector, or the Chamber of Veterinarians for those practising privately; professional qualifications from Member States are recognised automatically;
- healthcare professionals (from EU Member States, the EEA and Switzerland), teachers, university teachers, sports professionals; applicants contact the Ministry of Education, which recognises evidence of formal qualifications and professional qualifications under a single decision.
The Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic provides this service electronically on the slovensko.sk website: Recognition of evidence of foreign formal qualifications and the professional qualification for the pursuit of a regulated profession in Slovakia (for healthcare professionals, teachers, university teachers and sports professionals).
Professional qualifications in the medical professions of doctor of medicine, dental practitioner, pharmacist, nurse, and midwife and in the professions of architect and veterinary surgeon that have been acquired in another Member State are automatically recognised. If professional qualifications from another Member State are automatically recognised, this means that the training has already been coordinated across Member States and no comparison is required. The professional qualifications of those who were trained in these professions in Member States before they joined the EU will be recognised on the basis of their acquired rights.
Healthcare professionals with professional qualifications from third countries are a case in their own right. In the first step, the Ministry of Education only recognises evidence of their formal qualifications. They then need to pass a supplementary exam in Slovak at a secondary school or university in order to verify their theoretical and practical knowledge and skills. Exam dates and other information are published by the Ministry of Education (only in Slovak). Applications for the supplementary exam are submitted to the school designated as responsible for organising the supplementary exam. The following documents must be attached to an application for a supplementary exam:
- a certified copy of evidence of formal qualifications, translated into Slovak;
- a certified copy of the decision on the recognition of evidence of formal qualifications;
- proof of payment of the supplementary exam fee.
Applicants who pass the supplementary exam send their certificate showing they have passed it, together with an application for the recognition of their professional qualifications, to the Ministry of Education. They will then be issued with a decision recognising their professional qualifications.
The recognition of medical specialisations in Slovakia is in the competence of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic (only in Slovak). If both general medical education and the specialisation have been obtained abroad, the evidence of general medical qualifications must be recognised first. In other words, if applicants have acquired both their general medical training and medical specialisation abroad, the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic will first recognise the professional qualification for the regulated profession of physician, and then it is possible to have the specialisation recognised by the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic.
Instead of following the procedure for the recognition of professional qualifications in Slovakia, anyone from another Member State qualified for the professions of pharmacist, nurse, physiotherapist, estate agent or mountain guide may use the European Professional Card (an electronic certificate replacing procedure on the recognition of professional qualifications).
Holders of a European Professional Card can pursue a regulated profession in another EU Member State. However, if registration requirements or other control procedures are in place in the host country, these must be complied with before the profession can be commenced. Applicants for a European Professional Card in Slovakia pay no administration fee.
Information on regulated professions in other Member States and the procedures for their recognition can also be found in the European Regulated Professions Database.
4. What are the most frequently asked questions in this situation?
I graduated abroad. Do I need to have my education recognised by the Ministry of Education? / Which body recognises my foreign degree and how?
You only need to have your education recognised if you want to pursue a regulated profession or continue your studies in Slovakia. These are two different processes with different requirements as regards the relevant documents, fees and competent authorities. There is no procedure for the recognition of an academic degree itself, but anyone whose evidence of formal qualifications has been recognised for the pursuit of a regulated profession or for the continuation of their studies may use the academic degree (and its abbreviation) awarded to them in another Member State or in a third country.
Where can I find the name of a regulated profession, the number of the act of law that defines its conditions, and the body responsible for the recognition I should turn to?
In the database of regulated professions maintained by the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic. However, before applying you should know at least the approximate name of the regulated profession you are applying for, because at this stage you are seeking access to a profession, not just the recognition of your education.
I haven’t found my profession in the list of regulated professions. How do I get my foreign education recognised? / My employer requires recognition of my foreign formal qualifications, even though the profession is not regulated.
If the profession is not regulated (it is not listed), there is no legal obligation to have your formal qualifications recognised for it. However, you may apply for recognition in a more general process that recognises qualifications so that applicants are able to continue their education or for other purposes.
Must I have all the documents officially translated?
Certified translation of the evidence of formal qualifications, transcripts, and other documents may be requested by the recognition body only in specific cases stipulated by law (for example, in case the evidence of formal qualifications was issued outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland). Before making certified translations, it is therefore recommended to contact the competent recognition body that can be found in the database of regulated professions
Documents from third countries also require legalisation. Who will provide me with an apostille or legalisation for my foreign diploma?
An apostille or legalisation serves as verification that the body issuing the document is authorised to issue it. The seals and signatures of the officials on the document are authenticated. A body in the country in which the document was issued is responsible for this. These bodies can be found, for example, on the Hague Convention website.
I have heard that Slovakia has signed agreements with certain countries on the mutual recognition of education. Do I still have to have my education recognised in order to pursue a regulated profession?
These agreements relate to the recognition of evidence of formal qualifications so that the holders of such certificates can continue their education. Slovakia has not signed an agreement on regulated professions with any countries.
5. Non-compliance penalties
A professional qualification acquired in another country but not recognised in Slovakia does not entitle the holder to pursue the relevant regulated profession here. Regulated professions may only be pursued by qualified persons. This is due to the protection of public health, safety, consumer rights and the environment. Penalties are imposed in accordance with the relevant Slovak legislation.
If you submit an incomplete application for the recognition of evidence of formal qualifications or professional qualifications, and statutory documents or information necessary to process the application are missing, the competent authority will ask you to provide them and will suspend the proceedings until you do so. If you do not subsequently deliver them within the time limit you have been set, the proceedings will be discontinued and you will have no right to the refund of the administration fee.
6. Who can citizens consult if they do not know what to do?
In Slovakia, the national assistance centre for professional qualifications is the Centre for the Recognition of Diplomas at the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic.
You can email the centre at email@example.com. During office hours, you can phone or visit in person. More information, contact details, application forms and FAQs can be found on the website of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic.