The European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (EQF) is a reference framework to compare national qualifications systems. It is structured into eight levels to which the levels of national qualifications frameworks (NQF) can be referred. Thus qualifications from different countries can be compared and become more understandable. It covers formal, non-formal and informal learning as well as general, vocational and further education.

It is one of the European transparency instruments aiming to promote lifelong and life-wide learning, and the mobility of European citizens whether for studying or working abroad.

By including also non-formal and informal acquired learning outcomes EQF and NQFs (National Qualifications Frameworks) offer a way of official recognition for such qualifications. Certificates from qualifications referenced to a countries’ NQF may indicate the NQF level which gives official information about the level of the learner’s competences. This official certificate can support people with hindered access to formal qualifications to show their capabilities and thus hopefully eases their access to labour market.