Education for children aged 6-18 is obligatory in Portugal.

Asylum-seeking and refugee children have access to public education under the same conditions as nationals and third-country nationals whose mother tongue is not Portuguese.

Enrolment in schools (primary, lower and upper secondary education levels) requires a procedure for the recognition of foreign academic qualifications or a placement based on available information related to academic record, but children must be granted immediate access to schools and classes while that procedure is pending.

In order to enroll children in school at primary, lower, and upper secondary levels, the following conditions apply:

1. Placement through recognition of academic qualifications – if documents on previous academic records are available.

    • In order to obtain recognition/equivalence, you need to present the documents certifying academic qualifications of your children to the school in your area of residence. Asylum seekers and refugees are exempted from the requirement of translating them as well as authenticating them through the Portuguese embassy in the country that issued the document, or through the embassy of that country in Portugal.
    • Upon presenting relevant documentation, the General Directorate for Education (DGE) is responsible for granting the equivalence of academic qualifications.
    • While the analysis is pending, children must be conditionally enrolled in school enabling them to attend school activities.

2. Placement without recognition of academic qualifications – in the absence of documents on previous academic records:

    • In order to request placement of a child in school you need to present:
      • A sworn statement issued by the parents/legal guardian specifying the number of school years completed;
      • A statement by a competent entity (such as the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF), the Portuguese Refugee Council (CPR), the High Commission for Migration (ACM) or your hosting institution) confirming the exceptional individual circumstances of the applicant;
      • Any available document concerning previous qualifications of the applicant, so that it can be added to the process.
    • While the analysis is pending, children must be conditionally enrolled in school enabling them to attend school activities.

For more information on the measures related to education at the primary, lower and upper secondary level, visit a dedicated website of the General Directorate for Education (DGE)

If you are an asylum seeker, refugee or a beneficiary of subsidiary protection, you are entitled to apply for a status of student in an emergency situation for humanitarian reasons. The application should be made directly at the university where you are enrolled.

Students with such status pay the same university fees as national students and have access to social support available for national students.

Universities can also establish specific procedures of evaluation and access of students in this situation, when documents on previous academic records are not available. The assessment is made on a case-by-case basis and different criteria may apply by each university.

Related information

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