Until 31 December 2006 the Hungarian Equivalence and Information Centre (HEIC) was one of the departments of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Since 1 January 2007 it operates as part of the Educational Authority. HEIC's primary task is the recognition of certificates and degrees obtained abroad, but it also provides information about the Hungarian and the foreign education systems, and issues certificates about Hungarian qualifications to be used abroad.
From the beginning of the 1990s, with the opening of borders, it became easier to move between countries and, as a result of this, the number of applicants wishing to have their degrees or qualifications recognised in Hungary increased. This rising number of applicants made it necessary in 1993 to establish a central office whose primary task was the recognition of higher education qualifications obtained abroad, and it was also to facilitate teacher and student mobility by providing information.
At the time the legal basis for HEIC's activity was the 1993 Higher Education Act and Government Decree No. 47/1995. on the recognition and nostrification of foreign qualifications, degrees and diplomas obtained at higher education institution abroad.
Due to the overlapping jurisdiction of the various laws regulating the recognition of foreign degrees and professional qualifications and the overlapping competence of different institutions and governing bodies, furthermore, due to legal harmonisation tasks arising from negotiations to join the European Union, by 2000-2001 it became necessary to draft a new and consolidated act on recognition.
In December 2001 the Parliament adopted Act No.100 of 2001 on the recognition of foreign certificates and degrees which took effect on 1 January 2002. Section III of the Act which regulates the recognition according to EU legislation took effect only after Hungary became member of the European Union on 1 May 2004.
Having been amended several times since its formation, this Recognition Act regulates all aspects of the Hungarian recognition of foreign certificates and degrees in compliance with international recognition principles.