1. Overview

The education certificates issued in another country have legal validity in Latvia. Holders of certificates, e.g.: of a diploma, in regulated professional qualifications needs to be recognized in Latvia. Law on “Regulated professions and recognition of professional qualifications” regulates the procedure. The information about regulated professions in Latvia is available on Academic Information Centre’s web page http://www.aic.lv/rec.

For the recognition of regulated professional qualification acquired abroad the person has to submit an application, copy of passport, documents approving education and professional rights in profession, certificate from competent home institutions on rights to exercise profession, certificate on work experience in home state, a certificate of good conduct (for EU doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives, pharmacists, architects, veterinary surgeons). Documents which are not in Latvian, English or Russian should be translated into Latvian.

Information institution (in most cases it is Academic Information Centre (AIC), (see also data base) checks the documents and sends them to the competent body. Competent body takes a decision on recognition, partly recognition or deny of recognition and sends its decision to 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 professional recognition procedure is LVL 47.20.

In order to continue education or be employed in non-regulated professions Latvian recognition of the former education certificate issued abroad is not strictly regulated by the Law. Recognition has to be obtained by the request of 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;
  • The higher education institution – in order to continue studies at higher education level;
  • An employer – in order to work in the non-regulated professions.

2. University education certificates

According to the Law on Education (as amended on May 11, 2000), the body that evaluates the foreign credentials is 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 Academic Information Centre of Latvia. 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. Academic information centre’s evaluation is free of charge.

A person who has a education document obtained abroad and wants to study or to work in non-regulated profession in Latvia should submit to Academic Information Centre originals or certified copies of educational document and diploma supplement (transcript of records). If necessary translations can be asked.

AIC evaluates a level of qualification compared to Latvian educational system and issues its statement. This statement together with educational document should be submitted to the educational institution or employer.

ECTS (European Course Credit Transfer System) developed as a European system, within the framework of the SOCRATES / ERASMUS EU-Programmes 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 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.

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. Thus anyone wishing to work abroad as a teacher, lawyer, engineer or psychologist (in Latvia these qualifications correspond to university type of 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 takes an aptitude test.

Where to get information on academic and professional recognition of foreign qualifications in Latvia?

Academic information centre
Vaļņu iela 2, rooms 209, 210,
Rīga, LV–1050, Latvia
Tel.: +371 7225155
Fax: +371 7221006
diplomi@aic.lv (academic recognition)
izglitiba@aic.lv (professional recognition)
http://www.aic.lv/