Lisbon Convention

Lisbon Convention

Foreign student in library
© Kzenon / Fotolia

The Lisbon Convention entered into effect in 1997. It determines the principles for recognizing academic achievements and qualifications and emphasizes the need for transparent recognition criteria.


The Lisbon Convention – or with its official title, the "Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region" – was passed by several European states on 11 April 1997. The Convention, which was initiated by the Council of Europe and UNESCO, is considered to be the first general agreement under international law on the mutual recognition of academic achievements and qualifications. The Convention came into effect in Germany on 1 October 2007. It aims to facilitate the recognition of foreign academic achievements and qualifications. On the one hand, it sets out to provide recognition for the purposes of access to higher education and on the other hand, to evaluate higher education qualifications for the purposes of access to the German labour market.

Recognition in the Field of Higher Education

The institutions of higher education are responsible for recognition for the purpose of access to higher education, access to advanced courses of study and for crediting study and examination results. Länder higher education laws regulate the use of foreign academic degrees and titles. Further information is available from the education ministries of the respective Länder.

Further information on recognition in the field of higher education

Evaluation of Qualifications by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB)

The Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) of the Conference of Länder Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs issues individual evaluations of academic courses in all countries throughout the world on the basis of the Lisbon Convention. An evaluation issued by the ZAB can facilitate access to the German labour market for people with foreign higher education qualifications.

Further information on the evaluation of qualifications.