1. Procedures and criteria for the assessment of foreign qualifications should be transparent, coherent and reliable, and they should periodically be reviewed with a view to increasing transparency, taking account of developments in the education field and eliminating requirements leading to undue complications in the procedure.
  2. The procedural recommendations contained in the present document aim at making assessment procedures more consistent and transparent and at assuring all applicants a fair consideration of their application. The recommendations on procedures and criteria to be followed are equally valid regardless of whether the outcome of the assessment procedure is:
    1. a recognition decision;
    2. advice to the competent recognition authority making the decision;
    3. a statement addressed to individual(s), institution(s), potential employer(s) or others.
    It is recommended that applicants have access to an assessment relevant to the case.
  3. The competent recognition authorities should publish standardised information on the procedures and criteria for the assessment of foreign qualifications concerning higher education. This information should automatically be given to all applicants as well as to persons making preliminary enquiries about the assessment of their foreign qualifications.
  4. The time normally required to process recognition applications, counted from such time as all relevant information has been provided by applicants and/or higher education institutions, should be specified to applicants. In the event that the recognition process is delayed, the applicant should be informed of the delay, the reason for it and notified of a date when a decision can be expected. Applications should be processed as promptly as possible, and the time of processing should not exceed four months.
  5. Competent recognition authorities should provide advice to individuals enquiring about the possibilities and procedures for submitting formal applications for the recognition or assessment of their foreign qualifications. As appropriate, in the best interests of the individual, advice should also be provided in the course of, as well as after, the formal assessment of the applicants' qualifications, if required.
  6. Competent recognition authorities should draw up an inventory of typical recognition cases and/or a comparative overview of other education systems or qualifications in relation to that of their own country as an aid in making recognition decisions consistent. They should consider whether this information could be made available to applicants with the proviso that this information serve only as an indicative guide, and that each application will be assessed on an individual basis.
  7. The responsibility for providing information on the qualification for which recognition is sought is shared by applicants, higher education institutions at which the qualifications in question were awarded and the competent recognition authority undertaking the assessment as specified in the Lisbon Recognition Convention, in particular in its Articles III.3 and III.4. Higher education institutions are strongly encouraged to issue a Diploma Supplement in order to facilitate the assessment of the qualifications concerned.