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Advise me about...... Non UK qualifications

It is becoming more common for people living in the UK to hold qualifications from other countries. If you are thinking about taking a course for which there are entry requirements you may need to know how yours compare UK qualifications.

Explaining your existing qualification to education providers

Education providers may vary in their knowledge of your qualification(s) and how they compare to the UK based system. Universities and large colleges may well have lots of experience in dealing with these queries and may have useful information online, this is often found in the international student section of their website. Other providers may not have a process in place for assessingyour application. In this instance the emphasis will be on you to present your qualifications in a way that best helps the staff at the institution you wish to attend to consider their currency within the UK.

A NARIC ‘statement of comparability’

It may be helpful for you to get a ‘statement of comparability’ to show education providers (and employers) how your qualification relates to those in the UK. A statement of comparability can be provided by a national agency called NARIC. You can apply for a statement online but you will need original certificates and transcripts and these may also need these translating. NARIC charges a fee for this service although some organisations (including some national careers service providers) have membership to NARIC and can translate qualifications on behalf of learners.

Residency status

If your qualifications are from overseas you may also be a non UK/EU resident. Your status in the country is important as it can affect your eligibility for courses and for financial support. In some instances you may be treated as an international student and this could increase course costs plus you may need to apply for a study visa. If you are unsure of your status then it is important to check this early on.

English as a second language

If your qualifications are from overseas you may need to provide evidence that your English is at the standard needed for a particular course. This is particularly the case if you are applying for a student visa and/or are applying for higher level programmes at college or university. Some providers will assess your English skills themselves, for other courses you need to go to an exam centre to take a test. It is best to find out about any language requirements early on, there is information online or talk directly to your learning provider for advice.

Useful links

The NARIC site will take you through the steps needed to apply for a statement of comparability:
NARIC services

A detailed site for advice on immigration and visas:
Work visas on