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Procedures and types of recognition

Qualifications from outside Denmark can be assessed and recognised in different contexts. This page gives an overview of how and where recognition takes place depending on the purpose for which it is sought.

1. Professional/occupational recognition

1.1. Recognition of qualifications in regulated professions

In the regulated professions, authorisation or other formal approval is required for a person to be able to practise the profession in question based on foreign professional qualifications.

Professions that are regulated by law (licensed professions) are characterised by the fact that, by law, specific professional qualifications must be held in order to pursue those professions, engage in certain reserved professional activities, and/or use a protected title. Professions are also regulated where specific formal requirements are imposed by laws or administrative provisions, such as requirements concerning specific language skills, requirements concerning continuous professional development, conditions for equity or share holdings, territorial restrictions, or requirements concerning specific insurance cover, etc.

The competent public authorities (i.e. the authorities responsible for the professions) decide whether the terms and conditions for practising the profession have been met.

Regarding citizens from EU and EEA Member States, the right to practise most of the regulated professions is covered by the European Directive 2005/36/EC. See:

The co-ordinating function for the implementation of the European Directive is handled by the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science (Ministry of Higher Education and Science).

Applications are sent to the competent public authorities.

For access to certain professions (medical practitioner, dentist, registered nurse, midwife, veterinarian, pharmacist), the Directive stipulates a principle of automatic recognition on the basis of coordination of minimum training conditions.

As the co-ordinating authority, the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science is responsible for co-ordinating the competent public authorities' activities and for ensuring that the Directives are implemented in a uniform manner in the vocational areas and professions in question.

As mentioned, the competence to make the actual decision on recognition of the right to practise a regulated profession lies with the competent public authorities. However, under the Assessment of Foreign Qualifications Act, the public authorities are to obtain an assessment from the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science as a basis for their decisions. This has the effect that the competent public authorities are to follow the Agency's assessment of applicants' qualifications obtained through education and then make a decision on the recognition of their overall qualifications (obtained through education, professional experience etc.).

The Act lays down certain exemptions from the duty to consult the agency. Public authorities may also be granted a full or partial exemption from the general duty to obtain the Agency's assessment of the educational qualifications of an applicant who is applying for the right to practise a regulated profession. This applies where it has been substantiated that the competent authority's procedures, criteria and practice sufficiently ensure that holders of foreign qualifications will receive recognition of these qualifications.

The competent public authorities submit an account of their decisions to the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science at the end of each year.

1.2. Recognition of foreign qualifications for general employment purposes

In accordance with the existing legislation, holders of foreign qualifications are entitled to have the qualifications assessed by the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science. This applies to qualifications at all levels.

The Agency's assessments may, for example, be used as advisory information in connection with job hunting.

In addition, the agency's assessments are binding in certain labour market contexts, forming the basis for

  • decisions on the admission to unemployment funds
  • public authorities' decisions on employment.

Unemployment funds and public authorities must follow the Agency's assessments in these situations. This means that they are to consider applications for membership of an unemployment fund and job applications on an equal footing with applications from persons with Danish qualifications at the same level of education as that stated by the Agency in its assessment.

2. Recognition of foreign qualifications for education and training purposes

2.1. Formal recognition in the educational system

2.1.1. Admission

The individual educational institution makes the decision on admission of applicants with foreign qualifications. The educational institution must, however, use any assessment of foreign qualifications by the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science as a basis when deciding whether the foreign qualification satisfies the general entry requirements. This means that the application for admission must be treated on an equal footing with applications from applicants with Danish qualifications at the same level of education as that stated by the agency in its assessment.

Guidelines for the assessment of foreign qualifications for entry to higher education, including with regard to conversion of subject levels and grades, are published in an on-line manual, the so-called Eksamenshåndbog (in Danish). Basic information on entry qualifications is available in English on this page:

2.1.2. Credit transfer

The individual educational institution makes the decision on credit transfer of foreign qualifications to replace parts of an education programme. The educational institution may use an assessment from the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science as a guide in its decision on credit transfer.

Holders of foreign qualifications may complain about educational institutions' credit transfer decisions to a special complaints board: the Qualifications Board. A decision made by the Qualifications Board will be the final and conclusive administrative decision.

Special rules apply to vocational education and training programmes. The school makes the decision about shortening the duration of the student's programme based on a competence assessment. The relevant trade committee may decide to grant additional shortening of the traineeship part of the programme based on the student's work experience.

2.1.3. Competence assessment

A number of education programmes offer a procedure for recognition of prior learning. Here, applicants can have their competences assessed and credited whether they have been acquired through training and educational programmes, work experience or in some other way.

2.1.4. Conferring of Danish qualifications

The individual educational institution decides whether foreign qualifications can be recognised as fully equivalent to a specific Danish qualification. In practice, however, this is not likely to be done without the applicant taking a Danish examination.

Danish universities normally do not confer degrees unless a significant part of the educational programme has been taken at a Danish educational institution.

2.2. Other recognition of foreign qualifications for further education and training purposes

In accordance with the existing legislation, all holders of foreign qualifications are entitled to have their qualifications assessed by the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science with a view to further education and training in Denmark. However, holders of foreign qualifications who have applied for credit transfer cannot receive an assessment from the agency for a decision on such an application.

The assessments can be used directionally as a guide, but the assessments are binding in certain cases as described above in 2.1.1.

See also:


last modified Oct 02, 2020