Check an overseas qualification

Follow these steps if you are a New Zealand organisation that needs to check an overseas qualification.

Before you start

Checking overseas qualifications and understanding how they fit into a New Zealand context can be very complex. The steps outlined below are the basics of what you should do.

UNESCO has provided a more detailed step-by step approach to recognition of foreign qualifications here:

A practical guide to recognition – UNESCO

NZQA can support education providers and regulatory bodies in New Zealand with checking qualifications. To find out more, email

We also offer a service for individuals needing their overseas qualifications assessed to a level or qualification on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF).

Apply for an International Qualification Assessment

1. Confirm the status of the qualification

Check who the relevant qualifications authority is in the country where the qualification was awarded.

Check that the education provider exists and is an officially recognised entity.

Look up the qualification on the website of the education provider. If you cannot find the qualification, you may need to check with the provider or the country's qualifications authority to ensure that the qualification was delivered during the period the qualification was awarded.

Things to consider:

  • Does the qualification name equate with what a similar qualification would be called in New Zealand? For example, a "bachelors degree" could mean something different in another country.
  • What quality assurance processes are in place? Can you be sure that what is described in the course outline is what is actually taught?

Useful resources

There are resources available online to help you understand overseas education systems, including:

2. Authenticate the applicant and their documents

Review the information provided by the applicant. Check that:

  • their education timeline stacks up and that their education provider did award their qualification
  • there are no obvious inconsistencies, such as differing dates or overlapping study periods
  • there are no signs of forgery, such as strange lettering, variations in the colour of the ink, alterations to any printed elements.

3. Understand how the qualification compares

New Zealand has formal arrangements with other countries and education providers that can help you understand how overseas qualifications compare to ours.

Recognition arrangements with other countries

If the qualification is from a country we do not have a formal arrangement with, you will need a good understanding of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework to determine how the international qualification compares.

Understanding the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF)

You will also need to understand the structure of the education system in the issuing country, including the types and levels of qualifications they issue.

4. Contact us

NZQA has a Qualifications Recognition Services team that can provide technical advice on overseas qualifications and their recognition status. If you need guidance, email

For any other information or to give us feedback, email

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