There are two absolutely crucial elements for a successful admission in Italy: passing the IMAT with a score high enough and preparing all the documents within the deadlines. And one of the most important documents, that both Eu and Non-Eu candidates need to apply to a University in Italy, is the DOV. Let’s find out what is it, how to get it, and when is the best time to begin the process of obtaining it!



What is a DOV?

The DOV is a validation of your high school diploma. Degrees obtained outside of Italy do not have any legal meaning in Italy. Thus, in order for your high school diploma to gain legal meaning, it needs to be “recognized” by the Italian authorities. So, in the case of applying to a med school as a foreigner, your high school diploma must be legalized at the Italian Embassy in order to guarantee its authenticity. This is done through a DOV (Declaration Of Value) or DV (Dicchiarazione di Valore) – a document issued by the embassy of the country where you gained your high school diploma. 



When will I need a DOV?

All candidates will need it during enrollment after they’ve been accepted. To finalize your enrollment and secure your spot in the University, the DOV is essential. Without presenting it within the deadline, you will lose your spot. Eu Nationals have 4 days to present all documents needed (including the DOV) after getting accepted. For Non-Eu candidates, the deadline is stretched, as each University will give a different deadline. The reason is that Non-Eu applicants need physical time to obtain a visa between the moment of acceptance and the moment of enrollment, which also gives them more time before they need to arrive at the university and present the DOV along with the rest of the documents needed.

This being said, Non-Eu candidates are often asked to present the DOV much earlier – during their pre-enrollment. Currently, not all Universities deem the DOV mandatory at the point of pre-enrollment, but as you can see, it’s essential you obtain this piece of document as early as possible.



How can I obtain a DOV?

By contacting the embassy of the country where you got your high school diploma. Ask the embassy what documents you’ll need to prepare besides your original high school diploma. It needs to be legally translated, legalized, and apostilled (apostille is an internationally recognized means of legalization) before you hand it to the embassy.

The process varies greatly from country to country. It may take anywhere between 2 weeks and a couple of months. So make sure you apply for DOV as early as possible. 



What if my embassy doesn’t let me obtain a DOV?

Oftentimes, communication with the embassy seems like running in circles – they need you to be accepted in an Italian university to release a document, but are not aware that of the current procedures in Italy and that DOV is, in fact, needed to enroll in a University (the same vicious circle might sometimes be an issue when obtaining a visa). So, you might try explaining the situation, or even, put them in direct contact with the University. Or you could go for an alternative.



CIMEA Statement of Comparability: an alternative to DOV

CIMEA Statement of Comparability certification is an online service of certification and comparison of Italian and foreign qualifications. The procedure is done exclusively online at cimea.it. You’re asked to attach your translated high school diploma and personal ID documents.

CIMEA provides two kinds of procedures – an urgent and a standard one. The urgent procedure costs 244€ and issues the document within 15 working days. The standard one costs 122€ and is issued within 30 working days. The CIMEA certificate is normally delivered to you online.

Some Universities could require both the online certificate and a printed version of it. Bear in mind getting a paper version delivered to you has an additional fee (as stated during the registration on cimea.it)



Who needs to obtain a DOV?
Every candidate who did not receive their high school diploma in Italy needs it, regardless of their nationality.
Do I need both DOV and CIMEA?
No, they are mutually exclusive. Getting one of them is enough.
Do I apply for DOV before or after the IMAT?
Ideally, you apply for DOV as soon as you have your high-school diploma in hand (if you just finished high school). You certainly should NOT wait till after the IMAT to start the process of obtaining it.
Do I need DOV for pre-enrolment?
Not always. The best-case scenario is if you’re not asked for it during pre-enrolment and you apply for it right after you’ve pre-enrolled. In case you’re required to submit DOV during pre-enrolment, explain the case to the embassy or get a CIMEA certificate instead.
Example case: home country embassy
Say you’re a Brazilian national and obtained your high school diploma in Brazil but in the past couple of years you’ve lived in Ireland and currently can’t travel to your home country. Can you obtain your DOV from the Italian embassy in Ireland? No. You could only get it in the country where you completed your high school education, in this case, Brazil. If you can not return to issue it there, you should get a CIMEA certificate instead. You would however obtain your visa through the embassy of the country you’re currently a resident of, ie. Ireland.
Example case: pre-enrolment
You’re a Non-Eu candidate trying to pre-enroll. During the procedure, you’re asked to attach a DOV. You contact the embassy and you ask for the document to be issued but they answer they need you to have a letter of acceptance from a University before they issue the DOV. In this case, the embassy clearly isn’t up to date with the application procedure in Italy. What do you do? You contact the University asking for an email explaining they need the embassy to issue the document in order to pre-enroll, then show it to the embassy. If this doesn’t work, go for CIMEA.
Example case: Italian nationality
An Italian citizen born in Italy who did high school abroad. Do they need a DOV? Yes.
On the contrary, a foreign national who did high school in Italy doesn’t need a DOV.


While issuing the CIMEA certificate might cost more than getting a DOV, issuing the DOV might come around the same price after legalizing and translating your diploma. If you see your embassy is taking their time, and you fear they might not be ready soon enough, I’d advise you to not risk missing the deadline and resort to CIMEA as an alternative.

The DOV is one of the documents needed for the application you could and should prepare in advance. Don’t wait till the last minute or until you find out you’re accepted. After the ranking is released everything happens incredibly fast, so the more bureaucracy you check out earlier, the better.

Good luck!



(c) Image source: pexels.com


Elena Mitsulova (Pavia)

I am a 5th-year student in the Harvey course of Pavia. During my Italian journey and all these years spent in Pavia, I've gathered a valuable experience that I am happy to share with you.