The legal basis for the recognition of foreign qualifications falling under the authority of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) can be found in the following legal instruments: Annex III of the Agreement of 21 June 1999 between Switzerland and the EU on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP); the revised EFTA Convention of 21 June 2001; the Swiss Ordinance of 19 November 2003 on Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPETO); the Ordinance of 12 November 2014 to the Higher Education Act (HEdO); and in bilateral agreements with several other countries. Mutual recognition of higher education qualifications for the purpose of pursuing more advanced education and training falls within the scope of the Lisbon Agreement of 11 April 1997 and other international agreements signed with Germany, Italy, Austria and France.
The AFMP and the EFTA Convention regulate recognition of upper-secondary level vocational qualifications and tertiary-level professional qualifications for Swiss and EU/EFTA nationals wishing to carry out a regulated professional activity.
In the case of unregulated professional activities, SERI will recognise a foreign qualification issued by a third country or EU/EFTA member state by virtue of Art. 69 ff. of VPETO and Art. 55 f. of HEdO if certain requirements are cumulatively met (e.g. same level and duration of education and training, comparable training content, emphasis on practical training or relevant work experience).
Switzerland also concludes bilateral agreements with selected countries that provide for additional facilitated mutual recognition of certain qualifications. Such agreements currently exist with Germany and the Principality of Liechtenstein. Further agreements are being planned.