Frequently asked questions regarding the Statement of Comparability
What documents do you need to provide?
Please consult our list of documents specified for each country.
If you find our instructions unclear, please send your question by e-mail, naming the credential in its original language.
Do not send us scanned documents to obtain a preliminary assessment, since this work is an essential part of our fee-bearing service. We cannot judge documents but as a coherent body and in the material form of the required copies. Please send us only the documents named specifically for each country. If something is missing, you will be informed by e-mail accordingly.
Questions concerning the legal certification of documents
What is a legal certification?
A legal certification is a stamp displaying the official note that the above/foregoing/succeeding document is a true (photo)copy of the original. It serves to ascertain the authenticity of educational credentials.
What makes up a legal certification?
- the note certifying a document as a true copy
- the official stamp/seal of the certifying authority
- the official signature of the certifying person
Never send a copy of the certified copy!
Who is authorised to issue a certified copy?
Copies may be certified by any public authority entitled to use an official seal, e.g. municipality, town or county administration, notary public, parish office.
Devoid of the power to issue certified true copies are: corporations, translators, lawyers, public accountants, etc.
Is it possible to have copies legally certified abroad?
Yes, by a notary public or a public administration empowered accordingly. In case of doubt, an additional certification in Germany is needed.
Translators are not empowered to certify true copies.
Questions concerning translations
May I have my documents translated abroad?
Yes, by a publicly sworn translator. Please mind: We need certified copies of the translations since the translator himself or herself is not empowered to issue certified copies.
Where can I find a sworn translator in Germany?
Click on: www.justiz-dolmetscher.de or ask the nearest court of justice.
Questions concerning fees charged
Do I have to pay a fee if a Statement of Comparability cannot be issued?
Yes, for each application a fee will be charged. Even if your application is rejected, we are obliged to charge a fee for the work completed. Under section 3 of the Scale of Professional Qualifications Examination Fees (§3 Berufsqualifikationsprüfungsgebührenverordnung) of the Land Berlin the fees payable range from 10 to 50% of the total amount. Since a negative decision requires a thorough examination of the documents presented, you will have to expect a fee of 30 to 50% of the total amount.
Exception: If the responsibility of a different authority for recognising your qualification was not apparent, we refer you to the competent body free of charge.
Do I have to pay a fee if I decide to withdraw my application?
Yes, the fee will be calculated in proportion to the work completed, i.e. the processing status.
As soon as the examination of your documents has started, a portion of 30% of the total fee will be charged. If not, only 10% will be charged.
Completion of a Statement of Comparability will be charged with 50% of the total fee.
Are there exceptional cases?
If the examination produces an unexpectedly negative result, we will inform you accordingly and cancel the process for you free of charge.
This does not apply to degrees which are listed in some of the country files under "Abschlüsse ohne Entsprechung im deutschen Hochschulsystem".
Are there authorities that might cover the costs?
In individual cases, job centres or employment agencies assume the charges incurred. Please ask for information on this question BEFORE you start your application.
Questions concerning the time needed to process the documents
How long does it take to issue a Statement of Comparability?
You will receive the Statement of Comparability three months after we received all the documents needed and after you have paid the fee.
Why might the time needed to process the documents differ from country to country?
Every year 80 specialists of the ZAB (Central Office for Foreign Education) answer 18.000 official requests concerning international qualifications, they issue 10.000 Statements of Comparability and answer thousands of questions. They also maintain and update the database "anabin".
Applicants come from over 100 countries. Changes in world politics might cause a sudden increase in questions concerning certain countries. Since our specialists need specific language skills and knowledge about the educational system of the relevant countries, it is not possible to simply distribute the reqests to other specialists.
Necessary steps that need to be taken in order to receive a Statement of Comparability:
- Please inform yourself about the documents which you need to hand in.
- Register on our website using the provided web form.
- You will then receive the application form via e-mail.
- Please fill in the application form using a pdf reader.
- Then, you need to print out the completed application form, sign it and send it to us by mail along with all required documents.
- Upon receipt of your written documents you will receive the payment notice.
- You will then have to pay the fee.
- Once we have received the fee, your application will be forwarded to the specialist.
- The specialist checks if your documents are complete and might request further documents from you.
- You will have to submit missing documents within two weeks.
- The Statement of Comparability is issued.
- The Statement of Comparability will be sent to you together with the documents you handed in.
What should I do, if I cannot hand in the requested missing documents within two weeks?
Our applicants come from all over the world and some come from crisis areas and countries with armed conflicts. We therefore understand if a document cannot be submitted within two weeks. If that is the case, please do the following:
- Please send us an e-mail.
- Give the reasons why you are unable to present the required documents.
- Let us know when you are planning to submit the documents.
- Inform us in time if you have to exceed this time limit.
- Make sure you contact us if you cannot hand in the documents at all.
In case we should not get an answer concerning missing documents, we will discard the application after two months. You will then receive a 70% refund of the fee.
Will I get back the documents which I handed in?
We will send back your documents along with the Statement of Comparability. If you withdraw the application, we will not send the documents back. If the time for submitting the documents or paying the fee has expired and you have not contacted us, your application will be discarded along with the documents you handed in.