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Recognition of higher education acquired at foreign higher educational institutions


1. What is the period for issuing a certificate for the recognition of higher education acquired abroad? I need the certificate until a certain period of time? Can I apply / pay for a fast service?

The normative period for completing the academic recognition procedure is 2 months from the submission of all necessary documents and information. If additional information is required by the applicant or the higher education institution that have conducted the education, the time limit shall be extended until all necessary documents/information have been submitted.

The procedure is not paid and can not be accomplished in shorter terms than the ones determined by law, i.e. there is no possible option forpayment.

2. Can I receive an official notice certifying that my documents are under academic recognition procedure, which I could present to an employer or other institution?

Yes, official notice could be issued immediately after the documents are submitted or at any of the next stages of the procedure.

3. Is there a fee charge for issuing a Certificate of recognition of higher education acquired abroad?

The procedure, maintained by NACID, is free of charge for all Bulgarian citizens, foreigners and persons with refugee status.

4. What is an Apostille? In which cases do I need an Apostille? How can I get an Apostille?

According to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents of 1961, the only formality that may be required for verification of details of an official document issued by a foreign country is a certificate from the competent authority of the same country, certifying the origin of the document. This certificate is the so-called “APOSTILLE”, which is placed on the document itself and is in the form specified in the Convention.

Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, the Hague, 5 October 1961 (Convention No. 12) Convention No. 12 (in Bulgarian)

List of States Parties to the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, the Hague on 5 October 1961 (Convention No. 12) (in Bulgarian)

For the purposes of the academic recognition procedure your documents have to be certified with an appostille if they are issued in a country, present in 3. What legalizations and certifications are necessary, sub-section 3.3.

5. What is the diploma supplement? What is a European Diploma Supplement?

Higher education institutions issue the following educational and qualification documents:

  1. Diploma for completed educational and qualification degree of higher education and its supplement. The most widespread requisites that the diploma supplement contains are:
    • data identifying the holder of the diploma;
    • data on learning outcomes: duration of the program by curriculum (number of academic years / semesters); form of education; the degree qualification and specialty; detailed list of subjects (lectures, practical and seminar exercises); internship participation with corresponding workload and number of credits in the academic plan; assessments of each passed exams, average success of the semestrial course; name of the subjects under which the state exam (s) was conducted; grades and average success of the state exam (s), (in words and figures); number of credits; subject and evaluation of the diploma thesis (in words and figures), number of credits; second specialty; name of the courses.
  2. The European Diploma Supplement is a unified pan European document with a single structure that is issued in addition to the original diploma and does not replace the official diploma supplement.

Detailed information and a template for a European Diploma Supplement can be found on the EUROPASS website:

6. Which documents, issued by the higher education institution need translation, legalization and certification?

Documents that need compulsory translation are the higher education diploma and the diploma supplement.

The way of certification and legalization of the diploma and the diploma supplement depends on the country in which it is issued. (you can check the category under which your documents fall on the Section 3. What legalizations and certifications are necessary

The European Diploma Supplement does not require certification and translation.

8. What is meant by a notarial certification and can a Bulgarian notary validate foreign documents?

The different types of documents are subject to different requirements. When making the translation it is irrelevant if the document is an original, a copy, or a duplicate. Legalization, however, in most cases requires an original. Exceptions include, for example, a legalized copy of the document (the diploma), which had been beforehand certified by a notary and the Ministry of Education in the country of origin.

Authorities, competent to perform a notarial signature:
– a notary, irrespective of its area of activity or the judge registry of the district where there is no notary;
– assistant notary and substitute notary;
– for settlements where there is no notary or judge registry of the district, the mayor of the settlement (which is not a municipal center), and if it is a municipal center - the mayor, the deputy mayor, the secretary of the municipality and the mayor's deputy, can certify the signatures of private documents, which are unilateral acts and are not subject to registration;
– Bulgarian diplomatic and consular representatives abroad can certify the signatures of private documents that are not subject to registration, presented by Bulgarian citizens as well as the signatures of foreign citizens, but only if the document is intended to produce its activity on the territory of Republic of Bulgaria.

The notary certification of foreign documents should be made by a foreign notary, not by a Bulgarian one.

9. Can I present certified copies of the diploma and the diploma supplement instead of originals?

Yes. The notary certification of foreign documents have to be made by a foreign notary, not by a Bulgarian one.

10. How can I submit an application for recognition?

You can submit an application personally at the front office of NACID, through a proxy or electronically through the electronic portal of the center.

11. In what language should the application be filled in, for example: name of the higher education institution, specialty, form of education?

ЗThe application for academic recognition is bilingual - in Bulgarian and English, respectively the Bulgarian citizens fill it in Bulgarian. In the fields indicating diploma details, it is advisable to write them in the language in which the original documents were issued.

Foreign citizens can fill the application only in English.

12. How can I get the final legally binding decision from the academic recognition procedure?

The originals of the submitted documents, as well as the final decision for recognition, refusal of recognition or termination, can be obtained personally at the front office of NACID, through a proxy or through a licensed courier company (upon submitting the documents, the applicant signs a declaration that the consignment will be at the expense of the recipient).

13. Does your procedure include the converting of the foreign grades and classifications towards the Bulgarian sixth –grade assessment system?

No. NACID does not have the functions and competencies to convert a common average success/ grades/final classifications from completed higher education at foreign higher education institutions towards the Bulgarian six-grade assessment system. Such procedure is within the competencies of the institution that has imposed such a requirement.

The order for determining the average success of higher education varies between different countries. The way of calculating it in Bulgaria is pursuant to §4e (4) of the Additional provisions of the Higher Education Act of the Republic of Bulgaria, “Mark from diploma for graduated degree of the higher education" is the mark, which is formed as average arithmetic mark of the average grade of the semestrial subjects, included in the study plan and from the average mark of the state examinations or the defence of the diploma thesis.

14. Can I track the status of my application in NACID’s online system?

Yes, NACID’s electronic services portal allows you to monitor the status of your application by filling your reference number with date of submission (example 06-00-100 / 01.01.2016), your personal ID number as access code, and the security code which is generated by the system.

15. In which cases will I benefit from the Certificate of recognition?

Recognition of acquired higher education at foreign higher education institutions aims to facilitate your access to the labor market as well as other purposes where you have a legal interest.

Most often, individuals need recognition when applying for public service, participating in European projects, or when the employer explicitly requires this.

16. I need a driving license. Is NACID the competent authority for recognition?

Driving license is issued by the structures of the Ministry of Interior of Bulgaria to persons who have completed at least basic education.

The competent authorities for the recognition of basic and secondary education in Bulgaria are the Regional Education Offices of the person's domicile. They have a special simplified recognition procedure for Traffic police purposes.

17. Is the certificate issued by NACID valid in Bulgarian universities or the procedure should be repeated?

The certificate issued by NACID is intended for potential employers. The recognition procedure at each higher school is obligatory and the formal decision is to be taken by its Rector and is valid only for the purposes of continuing your education at this higher school only.

If your diploma had been recognized before December 22, 2011, when only NACID had these powers, there is no reason for the higher school not to comply with the certificate already issued by NACID.

18. What are the benefits of the Lisbon Recognition Convention and which are the signatories?

The Lisbon Recognition Convention (LRC) is the main international legal act for the recognition of higher education degrees in the European region. The States, parties to the Convention have introduced the LRC principles, criteria and procedures into their internal legislations and have substantially unified the content of the documents for completed higher education.

They maintain an effective network of National Information Centers for Academic Recognition and Mobility (ENIC-NARIC) as well as official public databases or registers for national higher education systems and institutions:

The Lisbon Convention has been ratified by over 50 countries in the European region, the United States, Canada, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and others. The full list of countries can be found at the following link:

19. Frequent mistakes by applicants:

  1. Notary certification of the translation instead of the document itself.
  2. Apostille, certification and translation only of the diploma or the diploma supplement.
  3. The accuracy of the translation is not checked, which might further lead to misunderstandings in the issuance of the certificate.
  4. Apostille, certification and translation of a document that is not mandatory for the academic recognition procedure or the European Diploma Supplement.
  5. Filling the application only with the data of the proxy person, in cases the application is not submitted personally, instead with the data of the holder of the diploma.
  6. Read carefully our certificate on receiving it, it may contain an obvious factual error.