Medical Diploma Equivalence in Portugal: How to apply

2 de May, 2022

Medical Diploma Equivalence in Portugal: How to apply

Find out how to obtain a foreign medical diploma equivalence in Portugal and become qualified to work as a doctor in the country.
Reading: 7 min

Every day grows the number of foreign 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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What is a medical degree equivalence?

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).

How to request the equivalence of a medical degree in Portugal?

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).

End of the agreement between UFRJ and University of Lisbon

Until February 2024, doctors who graduated from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) were exempt from taking exams to validate their medical degrees from the University of Lisbon. For these professionals, the process was automated due to a bilateral agreement between the institutions. However, this agreement was terminated in 2024.

And the degree of Doctor?

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.

What profile of Brazilian doctors have sought out Portugal to work with?

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.

Where to apply for medical degree equivalence?

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.

Online submission

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 documentation is analyzed by the rectory

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 annual

The process is now officially annual. Now the candidate will only have 2 opportunities to go through the equivalency process.

How much is it?

The amount currently charged for medical degree validation will depend on the University chosen.

What is the process like?

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 defense of a scientific paper.

Medical Universities are responsible for the process

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.

What are the steps of the medical degree equivalence process?

a. Documentary stage

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:

  1. Diploma;
  2. Complete school transcripts;
  3. Syllabus of all subjects studied;
  4. Identification document of the applicant (passport);
  5. TCC or a statement from the college that you did not have to take it or that you no longer have access to TCC because it is too old;
  6. Dissertation, Monograph or Curriculum Report must be submitted later in the process.

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.

b. Theoretical Test

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.

c. 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.

d. Public Tasting

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.

Concluding remarks

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!

Do you want to validate your medical diploma in Portugal? Click Here To Contact Us >



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