Instituto Cervantes Sistema de Acreditación de Centros Instituto Cervantes (Instituto Cervantes Accreditation System for Centres) Español
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Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications must an institution meet to apply for Cervantes Institute accreditation?

Public or private institutions may apply for SACIC accreditation if they:

In its analysis of the application, the Cervantes Institute takes the following into consideration:

  • The information received about the candidate institution: in particular, its experience, measured in years (with a minimum of 2), teaching Spanish as a foreign language.
  • The information furnished by the Cervantes Institute’s divisions and its centres outside Spain.
  • The Cervantes Institute’s annual strategic plan.

Is being an Instituto Cervantes Accredited Centre the same as being an Examination Centre for the Instituto Cervantes Diplomas in Spanish as a Foreign Language (DELE)? And is it the same as being a SIELE or CCSE Examination Centre?

They are different categories. The name Instituto Cervantes Accredited Centre constitutes specific recognition of a centre’s compliance with the prerequisites, criteria and descriptors set forth in SACIC’s accreditation and assessment process and entails the signing of an accreditation agreement.

An examination centre is an entity that collaborates with Instituto Cervantes for the administration of tests leading to official certification, including the following:

  • DELE: The DELE Diplomas in Spanish are official diplomas, accrediting the level of competence and mastery of the Spanish language, granted by Instituto Cervantes on behalf of Spain’s Ministry of Education.
  • SIELE: The International Assessment Service of the Spanish Language (SIELE, its Spanish acronym) is an online assessment and certification service of the level of competence of the Spanish language, aimed at students and professionals the world over. It is promoted by Instituto Cervantes, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the University of Salamanca (USAL), and the University of Buenos Aires (UBA).
  • CCSE: This test on constitutional and socio-cultural knowledge of Spain (CCSE, its Spanish acronym), designed by Instituto Cervantes, assesses, through different tasks, knowledge of Spain’s Constitution, society and culture. It is one of the prerequisites set forth by law for Sephardim originating from Spain to be granted Spanish nationality, and for residents in Spain to acquire Spanish nationality, as the case may be.

Information on the process for centres to be recognized as an Instituto Cervantes Examination Centre is available on the following websites.

What are the benefits of Cervantes Institute accreditation?

Recognition of a centre as an Instituto Cervantes Accredited Centre entails the right to use the logo and the name proving such recognition. It also means being promoted as an accredited centre on the Instituto Cervantes website designed for this purpose. Accredited centres commit to the agreed good practices and ongoing improvement.

Are the institutions listed on the ‘Spanish in Spain’ website Cervantes Institute accredited?

Not necessarily. 'Spanish in Spain' ( is a directory of all the institutions teaching Spanish as a foreign language in Spain. The details were uploaded by the institutions themselves.

The Cervantes Institute does not appraise the institutions listed on this website, although it does specify which are accredited.

Who verifies accreditation candidate conformity with requirements, conditions and criteria?

Candidate institutions are assessed by a Cervantes Institute evaluation agency or an evaluation agency certified by the Institute as qualified to conduct SACIC assessments.

Does the issuance of a favourable Technical-academic report by an evaluation agency necessarily lead to Cervantes Institute-accredited status?

A favourable Technical-academic report does not automatically lead to accreditation. The Cervantes Institute must approve the dossier, subject to a favourable report on the legal formalities, before the institution’s owner is invited to conclude an accreditation agreement.

Can an institution that has initiated proceedings or been the object of a favourable Technical-academic report use the ‘Cervantes Institute-accredited’ logotype?

Neither the logotype nor the designation may be used until an accreditation agreement has been concluded with the Cervantes Institute. The Institute sends the logotype to accredited institutions upon conclusion of the accreditation agreement to ensure its correct use and compliance with graphic standards.

How long is accreditation in effect? Can it be renewed?

Initial accreditation is valid for 3 years. It may be renewed, subject to notifying the Cervantes Institute accordingly 8 months prior to expiration.

The rules governing renewals are as follows.

  • First and third renewals: the previous Technical-academic report must be ratified. Ratification entails assessment on the grounds of documents furnished by the institution and reviewed by the evaluation agency hired by the institution. It does not require an on-site survey.
  • Second renewal: midway into the maximum term of the agreement, a favourable report must be issued by the evaluation agency chosen by the institution, subject to an on-site survey conducted by the agency’s technical team.

What is the difference between a Model 1 assessment and a Model 2 assessment?

SACIC uses two different models for assessing centres:

  1. Comprehensive external assessment. This assessment is marked in blue in Figure 1, and is referred to by SACIC as Model 1.
  2. Partial internal assessment, focused on the improvement plan. This assessment is marked in green in Figure 1, and is referred to by SACIC as Model 2.


  1. Model 1 assessment. Centres must pass this assessment to obtain recognition as an accredited centre, and, subsequently, they must pass it every six years. It is an external or third-party assessment, undergone by centres on the basis of their self-assessment of their activity. In this assessment, they must prove that they comply with the accreditation prerequisites and criteria, and with the prerequisites for improvement in the case of assessments taking place after Model 2 assessments. In the latter, centres must prove that they have implemented the improvement plan presented during the previous assessment.

    In these assessments, all of the criteria in the SACIC Assessment Framework are assessed. Centres carry out the comprehensive self-assessment of their activity, following SACIC’s criteria, and the assessors, during the assessment visit, analyse a selection of the criteria determined by statistical sampling (80% of the criteria in initial assessments for accreditation; 50% in subsequent assessments). Moreover, except in the first assessment, i.e. the initial assessment for accreditation, compliance with the improvement plan presented in the previous assessment (Model 2) is also assessed.

    The results of this assessment model are reflected in the Technical-academic report, which is necessary to formalize the accreditation agreement or the second renewal. It is also accompanied by:
    • Assignment, when appropriate, of a training module for the centre’s teaching staff if an area for improvement is detected in the teaching staff’s specialized training, or in the implementation of their key procedures. This mandatory training module, the expense of which shall be borne by the accredited centre, must be carried out so that, three years later, the centre may comply with the prerequisites to apply for a renewal of its accreditation and prepare for a new assessment.
    • An assessment report, comprising the following documents:
      • Charts showing the assessment score.
      • The assessment forms with comments by the assessor.
      • General training recommendations and guidance for implementing an improvement plan at the centre.
  2. Model 2 assessment. This assessment must be passed by accredited centres between two Model 1 assessments, in order to formalize the first and third renewals of the accreditation agreement. It is an internal, reflective, participatory and collaborative assessment model. Centres, applying SACIC’s criteria, carry out a self-assessment in which they reflect on the strengths of their activity and on other aspects that could be improved, and this serves as the basis for an improvement plan for the centre, compliance with which is reviewed in the following assessment.

    The Model 2 assessment proposes that accredited centres conduct a partial self-assessment of their activity. This means that, unlike Model 1 assessments, in which the assessment requires a comprehensive analysis of the activity and of the centre as a whole, in Model 2 assessments centres focus their analysis on 50% of the sections envisaged in the SACIC Assessment Framework and design improvement plans relating only to the aspects assessed.

    The results of this assessment model are reflected in the Ratification report on the previous report, a report that is necessary for the first and third renewals. It is also accompanied by an assessment report, comprising the following documents:
    • Charts showing the assessment score.
    • The assessment forms with comments by the assessor.
    • The improvement plan designed by the centre, approved by and with comments from the assessor.

What fees must be paid by a centre before and after being accredited by Instituto Cervantes?

A centre must pay the following fees during the assessment and accreditation process:

  • Initiation of the accreditation process. An amount that must be paid by candidates for initial accreditation—both in Spain and abroad—to Instituto Cervantes as part of the process, together with the application form and other additional documentation. This is paid only once, upon the opening of the centre’s dossier.
  • Technical-academic report. An amount that the candidate centre for accreditation pays to their chosen assessment entity for the centre’s comprehensive assessment, and for the Technical-academic report and the corresponding assessment report.
  • Annual accreditation fee. Annual amount that accredited centres pay to Instituto Cervantes and which entitles them to enjoy the benefits of accreditation. This is the only annual fee to be paid by the accredited centre during the term of the accreditation agreement.

Every three years, a centre has to pass an assessment; therefore, it must pay for assessment services, whether it is a Model 1 assessment (which leads to a Technical-academic report) or a Model 2 assessment (which leads to a Ratification report on the previous report).

If the centre fails the assessment, and is eligible for a review of the unfavourable assessment, it may apply for a review of the negative report, which also entails a fee.

If, during the term of the accreditation agreement, the centre moves to new premises, it must inform Instituto Cervantes and request the assessment of new facilities service, which also entails a fee.

Centres may also request a pre-assessment of their activities before formally initiating the assessment process. This pre-assessment service is not mandatory.

Each assessment entity sets the amount charged for the issuance of the Technical-academic report and the Ratification report; therefore, the amount may vary, but it is subject to the following principles:

  • In each country, the same fee must be applied nationwide.
  • The fee must not be higher than the fee annually set by Instituto Cervantes for the Technical-academic report and for the Ratification report.
  • The assessment entities may apply to these fees a maximum discount of 20% to the fees set by Instituto Cervantes.

Moreover, issuance of a Technical-academic report requires an assessment visit to the centre. In that case, the centre must bear the travel, accommodation and per diem expenses of the staff carrying out the assessment visit.

Current information on fees may be found on the SACIC website (accreditation fees).

Should the Technical-academic report issued propose a training module, the centre must bear all the expenses involved in carrying it out, including the instructors’ fees and travel, accommodation and per diem expenses, as the case may be.

If the accreditation agreement is concluded in June, for instance, would the institution have to pay the full year’s fee?

No. In that case, the fee would be prorated for a 6 month period.

How long does accreditation take, from submission of the application to conclusion of the agreement?

Once the candidacy for initial accreditation is approved, the time lapsing from receipt of the application approval notice to conclusion of the accreditation agreement depends largely on the institution’s preparedness and activity and the time it devotes during the assessment and legal report stages. The estimated time to complete a dossier is 10 months (6 months from the initial application through issuance of the Technical-academic report and 4 months to issue the favourable legal report and process the accreditation agreement), unless the institution fails to meet one of the established deadlines.

Does SACIC have tools to document the progress of the teams in my center?

Yes, SACIC has curriculum models that are used during the evaluation processes to collect information from teams whose centers have used the service to be recognized as "Instituto Cervantes Accredited Centers".

  1. Curriculum model for the management and administration team (form in Spanish)
  2. Curriculum model for the teaching team (form in Spanish)
  3. Curriculum model for the academic coordinator (form in Spanish)
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