Certificate of Equivalent Competency

The Certificate of Equivalent Competency may be issued, on application to the MCA, to officers who are not UK nationals but who hold STCW or fishing vessel certificates issued by certain other maritime administrations. The MCA will need to be satisfied that there are no significant differences from the standards which are applied to candidates for the UK’s existing Certificates of Competency.

All applicants for Certificates of Equivalent Competency should contact MCA Headquarters or Marine Offices for an application form. On receipt of completed application forms and appropriate supporting documentation the MCA will send a Notice of Assessment, stating whether or not they fall short of any of the requirements for a Certificate of Equivalent Competency.

UK Legal and Administrative Process (UKLAP)

All applicants will be required to take a written examination to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of UK law and administrative processes through the medium of written English, unless they hold appropriate qualifications. This examination will be administered by SQA and held overseas, under the supervision of the British Council. Alternatively, the test can be taken as an oral exam, carried out by the MCA at a Marine Office in the UK. SQA can supply a contact number for a UK Marine Office on request

Note: Applicants should note that only the MCA can state the requirements necessary for the issue of a Certificate of Equivalent Competency.

The marking process for the UKLAP examination is administered by SQA and results issued approximately SIX weeks from the examination date.

Application Information

The Notice of Assessment (NOA) issued by the MCA will state which examinations applicants require to take. The MCA will send applicants explanatory notes which state the procedures to be followed, the appropriate fees and a list of examination centres.

  1. Applicants for UKLAP examinations should complete the NOA form and send the exam fee of £260 (from 1 August 2023) in sterling to SQA at the address below, providing a contact number and email address to assist communication should further information be required.
  2. SQA will arrange the exam at the candidate's preferred location as stated on the back of the NOA.
  3. SQA need at least THREE weeks notice to arrange the candidate's exam.
  4. SQA will make the necessary arrangements with the examination centre and will notify applicants in writing of the date, time and venue for the examination(s).
  5. All arrangements will be confirmed in writing with the examination centre.
  6. Examination centres may charge a fee for the provision of facilities. This must be paid to the centre, not SQA, before the examinations take place. Centres may also charge an administrative fee if an examination date has to be re-arranged.
  7. SQA will normally issue results to candidates within 6 weeks of the candidate’s examination date. A copy of these candidate results is also sent to the MCA in Southampton at the same time.
  8. Please note that SQA will charge an administrative fee if an examination date has to be rescheduled.

UKLAP Grade 1 examination as an ORAL examination within the UK

This can be done at an MCA Marine Office. Please contact a local MCA Marine Office to arrange this.