Applying for recognition of diplomas (baccalauréat/maturité)

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Under certain conditions, recognition of equivalency may be granted for secondary school leaving certificates/diplomas (general, technical and vocational) obtained abroad.

Applications for recognition of equivalency are subject to the payment of a compulsory fee, the amount of which varies depending on the country in which the certificate/diploma was obtained.

Who is concerned?

So-called "academic" recognition of diplomas applies to the following categories of persons:

  • holders of a Baccalauréat- or Matura-type diploma who wish to pursue higher-education or university studies in Luxembourg;
  • holders of a Baccalauréat- or Matura-type diploma who wish to enter the employment market;
  • holders of other general, technical and vocational secondary school leaving diplomas.

Prerequisites

Conditions for countries that are signatories to the Paris and/or Lisbon Conventions

Recognition may be granted for school-leaving certificates/diplomas after examination of the file by the competent departments, and if the following criteria are met:

  • the diploma must have been awarded in recognition of the successful completion of at least 12 consecutive years of schooling;
  • the certificate/diploma must enable access to higher-education or university studies in the country of origin.

Supporting documentation is required for certificates/diplomas that do not specify such access.

The certificates/diplomas of countries that are signatories to the Council of Europe Lisbon/Paris conventions on the mutual recognition of diplomas are taken into consideration.

Mutual recognition of diplomas applies in the following countries (current list):

  • Member States of the European Council: Albania, Germany, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, the Republic of North Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, the Slovak Republic, the Czech Republic, Romania, United Kingdom, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine;
  • Non-Member States of the European Council: Australia, Belarus, Canada, Israel, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Kyrghyz Republic, Holy See (Vatican), Tajikistan.

The recognition of a foreign certificate/diploma is not automatic, but is decided on a case-by-case basis. During the recognition procedure, a distinction is made between:

  • certificates/diplomas from countries that signed the Paris and/or Lisbon Convention on the mutual recognition of diplomas;
  • and the diplomas issued by third countries (countries that did not sign the Paris and/or Lisbon Conventions.

This distinction entails specific conditions and procedures for establishing equivalencies.

Special conditions for holders of diplomas from third countries (i.e., countries that are not signatories to the Paris and/or Lisbon Conventions on the mutual recognition of diplomas)

In addition to the conditions required for the countries that have signed the Paris and/or Lisbon Conventions, equivalency to a Luxembourg secondary school leaving diploma - be it for general, technical and/or technician studies - awarded in a country that has not signed the conventions will only be recognised in the following cases:

  1. if the candidate holds a diploma issued by a higher education establishment recognised by and located in a Member State of the European Union (EU), in recognition of the successful completion of a higher education study cycle of at least 3 years (bac+3); or
  2. if the candidate can produce proof of enrolment (formal) for higher-education studies in an EU Member State, and if the diploma meets the following criteria: the examination tests for the diploma must have covered at least 2 languages (including French or German), as well as subjects in at least 3 of the following areas:
    • social sciences;
    • natural sciences;
    • mathematics;
    • technology;
    • fine arts and music; or
  3. if the candidate holds a diploma awarded by a higher education establishment recognised by a third country, in recognition of the successful completion of a higher education study cycle of at least 3 years (bac+3), and if they can produce:
    • a level B2 language certificate for Luxembourgish, French or German under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages; or
    • proof of 3 years of studies of one of the 3 aforementioned languages during the school years; or
    • a certificate attesting that either the Luxembourgish, the French or the German language were one of the subjects passed at the secondary school graduation exam.

Specific conditions for holders of the International Baccalaureate (IBO)

The International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma is recognised as an equivalent of the Luxembourg secondary school leaving diploma if, in addition to the criteria set by the International Baccalaureate Organisation in Geneva, the following conditions are met:

  1. the International Baccalaureate exams must cover:
    1. two languages (group 1: language A1, group 2: language A2);
    2. one subject of each of the following disciplines:
      • group 3: "individuals and society": including history, geography, economics, philosophy, psychology, business and management;
      • group 4 "sciences": including biology, chemistry, physics;
    3. group 5 "mathematics and computer science": mathematical studies standard level, mathematics SL, mathematics higher level, computer science;
    4. and choose between:
      • group 6 "arts": including visual arts, music, theatre and film; or
      • a second subject from groups 1 to 5.

The nomenclature of the "groups" is that used by the International Baccalaureate Organisation in Geneva.

  1. of the 2 languages mentioned under point 1.a, at least 1 must be French, or English, or German;
  2. at least 3 subjects must be studied at the higher level (HL), and the others at the standard level (SL);
  3. in order to obtain the IB diploma, the candidate must meet all the conditions set by the internal rules of the International Baccalaureate;
  4. the student's education must span at least 12 years of primary and secondary studies;
  5. during their studies, the student must have completed a study cycle of 4 years in a foreign language other than the 2 languages mentioned in point 1.a.

Moreover, the International Baccalaureate diploma may be recognised as equivalent to the Luxembourg secondary school leaving diploma in the conditions provided for in Article 4.1 of the Grand-Duchy Regulation of 27 October 2006 in execution of Article 4 of the amended Law of 18 June 1969 on higher education and the accreditation of foreign higher education titles and diplomas.

Deadlines

The processing time for files relating to diplomas from signatory countries is 2 to 10 weeks.

Costs

Applications for recognition of secondary school graduation diplomas are subject to the payment of a tax of:

  • EUR 75 for diplomas issued in a country signatory of the Paris and Lisbon conventions;
  • EUR 75 for diplomas awarded by an European school (European baccalaureate);
  • EUR 125 for diplomas issued in a country not signatory of the Paris and Lisbon conventions;
  • EUR 125 for diplomas issued by the IBO (international baccalaureate).

The tax must be paid by bank transfer to the bank account at the Banque et Caisse d’Épargne de l’État:
IBAN LU36 0019 5955 4436 2000
BIC/SWIFT BCEELULL
Name of the beneficiary: Administration de l’Enregistrement et des Domaines
Communication: Taxe reconnaissance des diplômes, MENEJ, and the name of the applicant, date of the application

The corresponding proof of payment must be included with the application. The payment of the tax is mandatory in order for the application to be processed, but does not mean that the application will be successful. For each application, the conditions of recognition of equivalence must be met.

In case of a rejection of recognition of equivalence the tax is not reimbursed.

A copy of the certificate of equivalence may be issued subject to the payment of a EUR 10 tax.

How to proceed

Application procedure

Applications for recognition of equivalence can be submitted either:

Composition of the application for certificates/diplomas from countries that signed the Paris and/or Lisbon Convention on the mutual recognition of diplomas

The application must include the following documents:

  • a written request mentioning the reason for submitting the application;
  • a curriculum vitae including, among other information, the applicant’s educational background and date and place of birth;
  • a photocopy of a valid identity document (identity card, passport or residence permit);
  • a copy of their diplomas/certificates;
  • proof of payment of the fee.

All copies of certificates/diplomas and identity documents issued by third countries to the EU must be certified by an approved authority (communal administration, embassy or consulate).

Composition of the application for certificates/diplomas from third countries

In this case, the certificates/diplomas are awarded by countries that have not signed the Paris and/or Lisbon Conventions on the mutual recognition of diplomas, that is all the countries not mentioned in the list under 'Prerequisites'.

The following documents must be attached to the application:

  • a written request mentioning the reason for submitting the application;
  • a curriculum vitae including, among other information, the applicant’s educational background and date and place of birth;
  • a photocopy of a valid identity document (identity card, passport or residence permit);
  • a copy of their diplomas/certificates;
  • only for beneficiaries of international protection status: a document certifying that the applicant was granted this status in Luxembourg;
  • proof of payment of the fee.

Applicants must also attach:

  • a certificate/diploma attesting to the successful completion of at least 3 years of higher education or university studies in an EU Member State; or
  • proof of enrolment in a higher education establishment or university in an EU Member State, as well as the list of the subjects taken for the secondary school leaving diploma (e.g. transcript of grades); or
  • a diploma issued by a higher education establishment recognised by a third country, providing proof of successful completion of a higher education study cycle of at least 3 years (bac+3) together with:
    • a level B2 language certificate for Luxembourgish, French or German under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages; or
    • proof of 3 years of studies of one of the 3 aforementioned languages during the the course of their studies; or
    • a certificate attesting that either the Luxembourgish, the French or the German language were one of the subjects passed at the secondary school graduation exam.

All copies of certificates/diplomas and identity documents issued by third countries to the EU must be certified by an approved authority (communal administration, embassy or consulate).

Translations of documents

The documents must be written either in one of the 3 official languages of Luxembourg (French, Luxembourgish or German), or in English, or translated into one of these languages by a sworn translator established in Luxembourg.

The translator's stamp must be affixed partly on the translation and partly on the document provided for translation. Each document must be signed by the translator. In the absence of this stamp, a document attesting to the translator’s sworn status must be included with the application (for example, a copy of the translator's registration certificate on the list of experts, translators and interpreters).

If necessary, the applicant may be asked for additional information.

Processing the application

The applicant will receive a response between the second and sixth week following the receipt of their complete application by the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth (Ministère de l'Education nationale, de l'Enfance et de la Jeunesse). This period begins on the date on which the Department for the Recognition of Diplomas receives the complete application file.

If the application is incomplete, a letter will be sent to the applicant indicating the missing items that need to be provided for the application to be processed.

For urgent cases, and pending the processing of the file, it is recommended that applicants also apply for recognition of level of education, since that procedure will allow their application to be processed more rapidly.

If the applicant does not submit the requested items to the ministry within a period of 3 years following receipt of that letter, the application for recognition is cancelled and a new request will need to be filed.

The applicant can, with the help of a lawyer, file a judicial appeal before the administrative tribunal in Luxembourg, against the decision taken by the MENEJ.

More information can be provided by the Department for the Recognition of Diplomas (email: reconnaissance@men.lu).

Requesting duplicates

A fee of EUR 10 must be paid for each request for a duplicate of a recognition of equivalence.

The tax must be paid by bank transfer to the bank account at the Banque et Caisse d’Épargne de l’État:
IBAN LU36 0019 5955 4436 2000
BIC/SWIFT BCEELULL
Name of the beneficiary: Administration de l’Enregistrement et des Domaines
Communication: Taxe reconnaissance des diplômes, MENEJ, and the name of the applicant, date of the application

Online services and forms

Who to contact

Department for the Recognition of Diplomas

  • Ministry of Education, Children and Youth Department for the recognition of diplomas

    Address:
    29, rue Aldringen L-1118 Luxembourg Luxembourg
    L-2926 Luxembourg
    Open Closes at 12.00
    Wednesday:
    8.00 to 12.00, 13.00 to 17.00
    Thursday:
    8.00 to 12.00, 13.00 to 17.00
    Friday:
    8.00 to 12.00, 13.00 to 17.00
    Saturday:
    Closed
    Sunday:
    Closed
    Monday:
    8.00 to 12.00, 13.00 to 17.00
    Tuesday:
    8.00 to 12.00, 13.00 to 17.00
    Mon.-Fri. from 8.00 to 12.00 and from 13.00 to 17.00

Related procedures and links

Procedures

Application for recognition of equivalence of professional qualifications Applying for recognition of the level of education (primary and secondary education) without achieving a final diploma Applying for accreditation of prior experiential learning (VAE)

Links

Further information

Legal references

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