When considering working in Brazil, foreigners may need to validate their diplomas obtained abroad. In this article, we will discuss the importance of getting a degree's equivalence and detail the steps of this process in the country.
We have already seen here that Brazil lacks skilled labor in several areas and has been making use of foreign professionals to supply its demands in this regard.
There are basically three topics a foreigner should pay attention when considering working in Brazil:
- Work visa
- Validation of diploma obtained abroad
- Registration at a Brazilian certification council, specific for each profession
In this article, we will go further on how to validate a foreign diploma in Brazil.
Not everyone needs to re-validate the diploma in Brazil. The re-validation of foreign degrees are only recommended for foreigners who intend to work in the country for a long time and for that are applying for a permanent visa. Actually, one of the requirements for people who are validating their foreign diplomas is to live in Brazil.
Those who are performing temporary jobs do not need to go through this process (aside from health professionals. That is the reason why most of the validated diplomas in Brazil belong to Brazilians that graduated abroad and then came back to Brazil to work.
In the overwhelming majority of the degrees, the diploma will be considered valid in Brazil after going through a process of re-validation in the country. Business administration, economics, foreign affairs, psychology, engineering, nutrition, physical education, communications, trade, finance, accounting, biology, among many others, are courses that can be validated in Brazil.
Moreover, if the foreigner came to work in Brazil already with a job proposal, it is rather unlikely that the company will ask him to re-validate his diploma in the country, as this is not one of the requirements to get the work visa.
However, some professions in Brazil are strictly protected by specific professional boards, which commonly impose strict work regulations for the area and commonly adopt protectionist measures towards foreign workers. In order to obtain the register in those boards, foreign professionals graduated abroad must re-validate their diplomas in Brazil beforehand.
The Brazilian government validates thousands of foreign diplomas every year. So, despite sounding like an extremely difficult and bureaucratic process, the re-validation of diplomas is quite common in public universities. The waiting time for re-validation is about six months, with exception of health professions, that usually requires more time.
How to validate your foreign graduation diploma
The process for the validation of foreign diplomas can be divided in three steps.
Step 1: Authenticating documents in a Brazilian consulate abroad
The process starts in the country where the diploma was issued, where the person will enter with a request to authenticate the required paperwork in a Brazilian consulate. Documents required to be authenticated by the consulates:
- Copy of the diploma
- Identity document or passport
- Complete academic record
- Program content of the academic courses attended, including the hour load and bibliography
All documents issued in any country abroad must be legalized by a Brazilian embassy or consulate located in the country in which they were issued. France is an exception, as this country has a bilateral agreement with Brazil that exempts the authentication of public documents.
Step 2: Sworn translation
The second step is to check which of those documents will requested to be translated to Portuguese. It is the Brazilian public institution in charge of the process that will determine which documents will have to be translated.
Step 3: Initiating the validation in a Brazilian university
In Brazil, only the public universities (state or federal) are responsible for the re-validation of foreign degrees. So the first step is to find an institution that has a similar course as the one attended abroad. Normally, the Brazilian universities require a 70% equivalence in the subjects attended and hour load. Check the list of all the Brazilian public universities per region here.
In most of the universities' websites it is possible to check the courses available, their hour load and program content. The higher the similarities between the program contents, the higher the chances the diploma will be successfully validated in Brazil. Therefore, it is important to analyze and carefully compare both academic curricula.
After picking the institution, the applicant must enter with a requirement for validation of foreign diploma (revalidação de diploma estrangeiro) in the selected institution. Each university will have a different process of application and evaluation. The more equipped ones provide requirements to be filled and sent online. In others, it is necessary to request the validation in person.
The Ministry of Education did not establish specific rules for evaluating the equivalence of the degrees, which means that the universities have the autonomy to impose their own conditions. Also, the applicant will be submitted to the payment of some administrative fees that vary from university to university to initiate the process. This initial fee goes around BRL 50.00 to BRL 100.00.
After the inscription, a special council related to the career chosen will be formed to analyze the case. The possible results are:
Equivalence in full: the validation was completely approved and the applicant do not have to go through further steps.
Equivalence in partial: the universe will require the applicant to attend some exams to prove his knowledge (in Portuguese) or request him to course additional school credits to get the diploma validated. The exams and the credits will be charged with fees, whose values vary from institution to institution.
Non-equivalence: the validation was denied. In this case, the person can try another university or course to get his diploma validated. There is no way to contest the non equivalence.
After the equivalence was obtained successfully, the person will obtain a diploma from the Brazilian university where the process of validation was conducted.
Foreign post-graduation validation: follows the same procedures above, but the degree is more likely to be validated than the graduation diplomas, as its curriculum is more specific.
The importance of validating your diploma
Although the validation of a diploma obtained abroad is not a requirement for getting a work visa in Brazil or being employed by a Brazilian company, this is one mandatory step to get membership in the professions' councils. Without having the diploma validated in the country it is not possible to be registered at CREA (Federal Council of Engineering and Agronomy), CRM (Federal Council of Medicine) or other profession's memberships.
The professional who is not registered at CREA cannot sign or be responsible for any engineering projects in Brazil. Doctors without CRM cannot practice the medicine. As for other professions, company's commonly require the worker to be a member of his profession's councils in order to occupy management positions.