FAQS 5 | Preparing to Apply via Foreign Secondary Education

5. I am a Foreign Secondary Education Student and would like to apply via the General Regime

Please see FAQ 4.9.

If you live in Portugal, you should request the certificate of equivalence to Portuguese secondary education at the secondary school (public, private, and cooperative, or private, with pedagogical autonomy for the secondary school level) in your area of residence.

If you do not live in Portugal (even if you are a Portuguese citizen), you must send your request to the Direção-Geral da Educação (DGE) by registered post with acknowledgement of receipt, to the following address: Av. 24 de Julho, n.º 140 – 4º andar | 1399-025 LISBOA. Please check for necessary documentation on the DGE website at DGE - FAQs - Equivalence of Foreign Qualifications.

If you start the process at the DGE with your final diploma, a certificate of equivalence to Portuguese secondary education will be issued, should you meet the requirements. If you have submitted a provisional document to the DGE, only a provisional certificate of equivalence to Portuguese secondary education will be issued. You can use a provisional certificate of equivalence to apply; however, after the beginning of the school year you will need to present the final certificate of equivalence to Portuguese secondary education.

Paid applications, even if incomplete, will always appear in results. If you are not admitted due to the absence of scores, you will automatically be transferred to the next phase, should there be one. If you have diploma grades with results after the application deadline, for example, A-Levels, please send the documents by admissions.lisboa@ucp.pt, within the  deadline in the calendar.

In these situations, you will be admitted if you have an application score equal to or higher than the last student placed in the phase you applied for.

Please see FAQ 3.4.

You can find a list of the main foreign exams that can be used as admission exams here.

If you intend to use an exam from a country for which there is no provision in the Portuguese legislation please contact your Academic Unit.

Yes, in certain situations this may be possible, although it is always necessary to submit the certificate of equivalence to Portuguese secondary education in order to finish the admission process.

Contact your Academic Unit to see if your case qualifies.

In principle no. By default you will have to apply through the International Student Statute, admission process, but please clarify the corresponding requirements and exceptions.

The score on the certificate of equivalence to the Portuguese secondary education will be the one used as the average  score for the secondary education.

Students who have completed a foreign secondary education may take and use the Portuguese national admission exams results. They are allowed to combine foreign exam scores with Portuguese exam scores, when the applicant demonstrates that he/she is using the Portuguese exam because he/she doesn’t have the corresponding foreign homologous exam to replace the admission exam, or because he/she did not take it, or because he/she did not get the minimum required score in that subject.

If the applicant chooses to take Portuguese national admission exams in subjects where he/she also has scores in his/her foreign diploma, he/she cannot mix exams from the two diplomas but can only use the set of exams from one of the diplomas and should choose the one that maximizes his/her application score.

You should check with the DGE to see if you qualify for and obtain a certificate of equivalence to Portuguese secondary education. 
If there are no higher education national admissions exams in the country you lived, you'll have to take national exams in Portugal in order to use them as entrance exams.

The applicant has two options:
a) take the national exams in Portugal required for the course you wish to apply for;
b) take the final exams, according to your diploma, in the subjects you are missing, even if you didn't take them during secondary school.

Please see FAQ 4.10.

Yes, when the required documents have been issued in another country (outside Portugal), they should be legalised/authenticated, depending on the country, in:

a) portuguese embassies or consular services in the foreign country to which the qualification relates;

b) embassies or consular services of the foreign countries (where the qualifications were obtained) in Portugal (ask them in advance if this option is available);

c) in the country of origin, for countries that adhered to the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961, ratified by Decree-Law no. 48450, published in the Government Gazette, 1st Series, no. 148, of June 24, 1968;

d) in countries where there is no Portuguese diplomatic representation, or that do not adhere to the Hague Convention Apostille, the legalization/authentication will be done, depending on the case, by the official entity of the country of origin competent for that purpose (e.g., Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice).


When the documents to be submitted are written in a foreign language, the respective translation into Portuguese must be submitted, done under the terms foreseen in the notarial law.

No. The Apostille has no expiry date.