2 de May, 2022
Every day grows the number of Brazilian doctors interested in the possibility of coming to practice medicine in Portugal. And this dream can become reality for Brazilian doctors, since in Portugal there are specific processes for the equivalence of medical degrees. In this article we will focus specifically on the requirements of the medical diploma equivalence process in Portugal for doctors trained outside the European Union, the first step to be taken to practice medicine in Portugal.
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Informally known as “validation of medical diploma” or “revalidation of the medical diploma in Portugal”, the equivalence is a procedure in which the applicant requests that his/her Degree/Masters in Medicine, obtained in a Brazilian University, be certified as equivalent to the “Integrated Masters” in Medicine provided by Portuguese Universities (due to the Bologna Treaty, the Degree and Masters cycles in the country’s medical schools were integrated).
Since January 2019, updates in the process of recognition of foreign degrees and diplomas in Portugal have been set in motion with the publication of Decree-Law No. 66/2018, of 16 August. The application of this Decree-Law is regulated by Portaria n.º 33/2019, of 25 January.
Now all foreign diplomas have the same submission modality of the process and initial evaluation existing 3 types of equivalence: automatic, level and specific.
These modalities have different objectives and can be applied depending on the country where the degree was completed and which degree we are talking about. To find out more about which modality applies in each case, just visit the website of the DGES (General Directorate of Higher Education).
Doctors who graduated through the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) are exempt from taking tests for recognition and validation of their medical degrees through the University of Lisbon. For these doctors, the procedure is simpler thanks to a bilateral agreement signed between these universities. In these cases, it is only necessary to submit the validation request and pay the corresponding fees. The recognition or revalidation may only be subject to refusal if the applicant does not prove to be the holder of the academic degree whose recognition or revalidation is required; or if the academic degree that the applicant holds does not correspond to one of those provided for in n. 0 3 of article 1. 0 or in a generic deliberation under the terms of n. 0 3 of article 2 of Decree-Law n. 0 66/2018, of 16 August.
In the specific case of medicine the type of recognition is specific. Which determines that it is the responsibility of the chosen Portuguese higher institution (the medical school) to guide the process and determine the steps to obtain recognition of the foreign degree.
Most of them are well-trained and experienced doctors, who wish to seek a better quality of personal and professional life in Portugal, even though they are aware that the average salaries offered here are usually significantly lower than the average salaries for this segment in Brazil.
The submission is now done through the DGES platform, a form must be filled out and at that moment you choose the Portuguese Medical School that will follow your process. This being the case, we can spontaneously submit applications at any time of the year.
As a rule the submission of documents is now online, e.g. diplomas, transcripts, syllabus, identification document and TCC/monograph or declaration that no TCC was required for the completion of your course.
If you cannot submit all the documentation you must go personally to the rectory of the chosen University to deliver the missing documents and pay the registration fee in the process. Remember that all Brazilian documents must have the signatures notarized and Hague apostille.
The rectory is the first place to review the documentation and after payment of the fee and confirmation of the documentation is sent to the medical school.
The submission of the equivalence documentation from the deanery to the medical school must be done before the 01/09 of each year in order for the candidate to participate in the following year’s equivalence.
The process is now officially annual. Now the candidate will only have 2 opportunities to go through the equivalency process.
The amount currently charged for medical degree validation will depend on the University chosen.
Although universities have some freedom as to the establishment of the rules of their own equivalence process, in recent years the standard has been the establishment of the following successive and eliminatory stages: (1) documentary stage; (2) written test; (3) practical test; (4) public test of defence of a scientific paper.
The responsibility of recognition remains with the medical colleges and the evaluation criteria as well as the marking of the assessment examinations are also the responsibility of the colleges.
It is planned that the theoretical examination will take place in January each year and continues to consist of 120 multiple-choice questions with diverse areas of medical knowledge with clinical medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, etc. The candidate has up to 6 months after passing a practical test.
Once the respective notice is open, the applicant must provide and submit to the Academic Services of the selected University all the list of documents specified in that document, together with the proof of payment of the application fee.
Normally, for Brazilians, it is necessary to submit the following documents:
The documents must be duly apostilled and delivered in PDF format. The documents will be analyzed for workload and scientific content by a committee of professors constituted by the University itself and, if they meet the requirements, the candidate may proceed to the next step.
Having passed the documental stage, the applicant will pass to the Theoretical Test phase. As a rule, it is an objective exam, composed of 120 multiple choice questions from the main areas of medicine (Gynecology and Obstetrics, Surgery, Internal Medicine, Paediatrics, General Practice, Public Health and Mental Health), in which the candidate must get at least 50% of the questions right. The test is only 3 hours long, it is not possible to take the booklet with the questions home and the result usually comes out after a few days, with the candidates receiving the result by email.
The content of this test is similar to that of the test held for access to medical residency in Brazil, which is why many doctors choose to use their study materials from this time. Some Portuguese universities also make old exams available for consultation, which are used to guide the study of new candidates. Those who pass the theoretical test go on to the next phase, the practical test.
Passed the theoretical test, the applicant will then move on to the practical test stage: usually the handling of real clinical cases and subsequent discussion with a group of teachers selected for this purpose.
As a rule, the candidate will be given one or two patients for interview, clinical analysis and writing of the respective full report, including: anamnesis, physical examination, proposal for provisional diagnosis, request for complementary exams, discussion of differential diagnosis, establishment of the definitive diagnosis, therapeutic proposal and prognosis.
In addition, before a group of designated teachers, the candidate must present and discuss the reports prepared. At this stage the candidate must also obtain at least 50% of the mark for success.
Finally, since the process of equivalence of the medical diploma in Portugal confers the candidate the degree of Master in Medicine, the last stage of the evaluation consists in the presentation of the candidate’s Master’s dissertation before a jury of Professors appointed for this purpose.
However, since many foreign applicants have only a bachelor’s degree, many colleges have been accepting other types of documents in lieu of the dissertation, such as the submission of a monograph, relevant scientific work, internship report or detailed curriculum report.
Therefore, the candidate will have to present his work before a jury of teachers, who will be able to intervene and interrogate him during his exhibition. If the jury considers the performance to be positive, it awards the candidate a score of 10 to 20.
The final classification of the medical equivalence process will result from the arithmetic mean, on a scale from 0 to 20, obtained in the referred tests.
What is the time and cost of the Medical Diploma Equivalence process?
The time required varies according to each public notice, because the tests can be more or less spaced, but on average it takes around 12 months to complete this procedure.
The registration and examination fees may also vary according to the Faculty, but are around EUR 500 in total.
The practice of medicine in Portugal by doctors trained abroad is possible and is already becoming a reality for an increasing number of Brazilians. However, you need to plan and prepare properly in order to complete all the necessary steps successfully.
If you are interested, it’s best to start planning now to apply for your equivalency for the next school year. The process is long and laborious, but it’s worth it!