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I received a letter of completion for my degree (PhD) from my University in the United States.

"He should be granted all privileges of this degree"

Can I use the degree by now in Europe for applications / official use? Or do I need to wait for the official date when I receive my diploma / transcript?

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    In case "Europe" means Germany, be very cautious. "Doktor" is a protected title. You have not been awarded the degree yet. So, don't claim to be a PhD or you could get into legal trouble.
    – Roland
    Dec 25 '20 at 10:10
  • Interesting fact thank you!
    – stephanmg
    Dec 25 '20 at 13:45
  • @Roland Even with the degree awarded, the OP can't call themselves "Dr." in Germany with a PhD from the US.
    – user151413
    Dec 26 '20 at 4:07
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    @user151413 Let's not go into too much details. I encourage everyone who this concerns to inform themselves about the legal situation.
    – Roland
    Dec 26 '20 at 7:28
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    @Roland Sure, and exactly because of that it is important to know for anyone who this concerns that with a PhD from abroad, the issue is not resolved with the award yet.
    – user151413
    Dec 26 '20 at 11:34
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Perhaps you can apply for jobs already (explaining that you already finished your PhD). You could even receive a job offer, and start working on the immigration procedure.

However, many official applications (to the goverment, etc.) require you to submit a copy of your Diploma registered with Apostille. This is also true for many attractive immigration programs.

Don't forget to get this Apostille before departing from the US.

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  • I think my university uses Parchment, is this the Apostille you are talking about?
    – stephanmg
    Dec 23 '20 at 16:29
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    Hi @stephanmg, thank you for your question. What I meant to say is that your diploma must be certified by a traditional Apostille according to the Hague Convention. I am not sure how the Parchment system works, perhaps it is also accepted. You should consult with government officials, or obtain both certifications for the future.
    – C-3PO
    Dec 23 '20 at 16:53
  • I see. So I could ask my University administrators?
    – stephanmg
    Dec 23 '20 at 18:38
  • Yeah, you could ask the University staff. They might have heard about the immigration procedures for Europe. Since the US is a large country, perhaps the Apostille requirements are less strict. However, you should double-check that the information provided is valid for the particular immigration programs or procedures that you will follow. Contacting somebody who went through the same process in the past might be great.
    – C-3PO
    Dec 23 '20 at 19:10
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    Then I guess you should be fine with the degree in any official form :)
    – C-3PO
    Dec 23 '20 at 19:13
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It is best to assume that you don't have it until it is officially awarded, just in case anyone checks.

But you can be honest in any application and say that all requirements were successfully completed and that you have a letter from (whoever) that it will be awarded (on date). Or similar.

Since the starting date of any position is still in the future, I assume it will be after the official award date. It should be fine in all but the most extreme cases.

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  • So, the letter will be enough to show for the application? I have a job which I could accept but it requires the PhD degree. So best to talk to the employer to clarify?
    – stephanmg
    Dec 23 '20 at 15:28
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    That would be wise. The dates might matter. Or maybe not.
    – Buffy
    Dec 23 '20 at 15:34
  • Okay, I hope the Professor does not mind be bothered by these formalities, just want to be sure. Otherwise I probably should ask for a later start date after the degree has been officially conferred.
    – stephanmg
    Dec 23 '20 at 15:36
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    Ask what is possible before you suggest a later start.
    – Buffy
    Dec 23 '20 at 15:49
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    @stephanmg Most employers would have no issue with hiring you if you explain your situation and show the letter. There is no need to postpone the starting date. Your situation is not uncommon.
    – Roland
    Dec 25 '20 at 10:15

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