Can I translate my foreign qualification myself?
No, the translation must be handled by an authorised translator. For more informations please contact the Swiss Association of Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters (ASTTI) to find a suitable translator. If your foreign qualification is written in a language that ASTTI does not offer, then we suggest that you contact the consulate of the country where the qualification was issued.
What is a level certificate and what can I use it for?
Level certificates are used to facilitate comparison of qualifications and education systems in different countries. Swiss level certificates indicate what level your foreign qualification holds within the Swiss education system. These level certificates provide useful information for future employers, unemployment offices, disability insurance offices etc. Level certificates can also help you gain admission to a degree programme or continuing education and training programme, although each education institution determines its own admission requirements.
What is a recognition certificate and when do I need one?
Recognition certificates confirm that the foreign qualification is equivalent to a corresponding Swiss qualification. If you hold a qualification for an occupation or profession that can only legally be carried out by holders of a specific Swiss qualification or title (i.e. a regulated occupation or profession), then you will need to obtain a recognition certificate.
Can I have my upper-secondary level academic qualification recognised in Switzerland?
SERI is not responsible for determining the equivalency of foreign upper-secondary level academic qualifications (e.g. Matura, Baccalauréat, Abitur, Secondary School Leaving Certificate etc.). Such qualifications do not fall within the scope of SR 412.10 (which relates to Switzerland’s VET/PET sector) or SR 414.71 (which relates to Swiss universities of applied sciences). The decision as to whether they are equivalent to Switzerland’s Academic Baccalaureate (gymnasiales Maturitätszeugnis) cannot be taken at the federal level. More information can be found at the Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities.
Once my foreign qualification has been recognised in Switzerland, can I start using the Swiss title?
No. You are not entitled to use Swiss titles since these are protected. Art. 36 of SR 412.10 (which relates to Switzerland’s VET/PET sector) stipulates that only holders of a Swiss upper-secondary level vocational education and training (VET) or tertiary-level B professional education and training (PET) qualification are entitled to use legally established titles for specific occupations and professions. The same applies to degrees awarded by universities of applied sciences (Article 7, Federal Act of 6 October 1995 on the Universities of Applied Sciences).
Individuals who obtain a recognition certificate for their foreign qualifications from the corresponding Swiss agency are not authorised to use protected Swiss titles such as “dipl. Sozialpädagoge HF”. You may nevertheless use the standard designation for the occupation or profession as it is used in Switzerland (e.g. social education worker). You may also use the title granted to you in the country where the foreign qualification was issued (as long as you indicate that country in the title).
What is a certified copy and where do I go to get one?
In some cases, it is important to verify that a photocopy is a true and exact duplicate of the original document. In such cases, you will need to have an authorised person certify this fact by placing their stamp and signature on both the photocopy and the original document. You can obtain certified copies from your local town hall in Switzerland or from a notary’s office in Switzerland.
What is the difference between a “regulated” or “unregulated” occupation or profession?
Only holders of specific qualifications or titles are legally authorised to carry out regulated occupations and professions in Switzerland. Holders of foreign qualifications relating to regulated occupations or professions must therefore obtain a recognition certificate from the corresponding agency before they can work in Switzerland.
Holders of foreign qualifications for unregulated occupations or professions (e.g. farmers, mechanics, salespersons, hairdressers, etc.) are not required to obtain a recognition certificate in order to work in Switzerland. It is up to employers to decide whether or not to hire the person.
What is the difference between a regulated occupation/profession and a regulated education and training programme?
The term “regulated occupation/profession” should not be confused with the term “regulated education and training programme”. The former means that a person needs to have a specific qualification or title in order to be legally authorised to work in a given occupation or profession. The latter means that a given education and training programme or examination is subject to legal provisions (education ordinance) that cover the content of education and training and/or examination procedures.
Will I receive a Swiss qualification with the recognition certificate?
No. SERI does not issue Federal VET Diplomas (eidgenössische Fähigkeitszeugnisse), Federal PET Diplomas (eidgenössische Fachausweise), Advanced Federal PET Diplomas (eidgenössische Diplome) to individuals who obtain a recognition certificate for their foreign qualifications. Such qualifications are only issued by the education institutions responsible for providing the corresponding education and training and/or hosting the examination. Since the foreign qualifications were not obtained in Switzerland, they cannot be converted to corresponding Swiss qualifications.