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Updated : 26/05/2016

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European Professional Card - EPC

The European Professional Card (EPC) is an electronic procedure you can use to have your professional qualifications recognised in another EU country. It is easier and quicker to manage than traditional qualification recognition procedures, and more transparent: you can keep track of your application on-line and re-use already uploaded documents to start new applications for different countries.

For the moment, you can use the EPC procedure only if you are:

  • a nurse responsible for general care
  • a pharmacist
  • a physiotherapist
  • a mountain guide
  • a real estate agent

Other professionals will have to rely on standard procedures to have their professional qualifications recognised. In the future, the EPC procedure may be extended to other professions.

You can use the EPC procedure if:

  • you want to practise your profession in another EU country on a temporary and occasional basis (temporary mobility) OR
  • you want to settle in another EU country and practise your profession there permanently (establishment)

The EPC is not a physical card. It is the electronic proof that you have passed administrative checks and your professional qualifications have been recognised by the country you want to work in (host country), or that you have met the conditions to provide services temporarily in that country.

When an application is approved, you will be able to generate an EPC certificate in pdf format. This will also include a reference number your prospective employer can use to check your EPC's validity online.

If you plan to settle in the country long-term (establishment) you may also need to register with a professional body or undergo additional checks before starting to practise your profession. Check with the national authorities whether this is required in your case.

Qualifications obtained outside the EU

If you got your qualification outside the EU, you can apply for an EPC if:

  • your qualification has already been recognised in one EU country
  • and you have exercised your profession there for at least 3 years following its recognition

Advantages of the European Professional Card

  • Your home country authorities will assist you with your application and check that it is correct and complete. They will also certify the authenticity and validity of your documents.
  • If in the future, whether you want to make a request to settle long-term or provide services temporarily in another country, your file will already exist in the system and you will not need to upload all the documents again. This will save you time on subsequent applications.
  • If the host country authorities in charge of your application do not take a final decision within the appropriate deadline, recognition will be granted automatically and you will be able to generate an EPC certificate.

Procedure and deadlines

What's your situation?

Temporary mobility: you want to practise abroad on a temporary and occasional basis

This is what happens once you have submitted your application:

Within 1 week: your home country authority acknowledges receipt of your application, informs you if any documents are missing, and about any fees they apply

In addition, authorities in the host country will also check your file if your profession could have an impact on public health and safety and you can't benefit from automatic recognition

If host country checks are not needed, your home country authority reviews your application and takes a final decision within maximum 3 weeks

If host country checks are needed, your home country authority has up to 1 month to review your application and forward it to the host country

The host country takes a final decision within maximum 3 months (2 months + two 2-week extensions)

If the host country authorities find that your education, training and professional experience don't meet the standards required in that country, they could ask you to undergo an aptitude test or an adaptation traineeship.

Establishment: you want to settle abroad and practise your profession there permanently

This is what happens once you have submitted your application:

Within 1 week: your home country authority acknowledges receipt of your application, informs you if any documents are missing and any about fees they apply

Your home country authority has up to 1 month to check your application and forward it to the host country

If you are a pharmacist or nurse and benefit from automatic recognition, the host country takes a final decision within maximum 2 months (1 month + two 2-week extensions)

If you don't benefit from automatic recognition, the host country takes a final decision within maximum 3 months (2 months + two 2-week extensions)

If the host country authorities find that your education, training and professional experience don't meet the standards required in that country, they could ask you to undergo an aptitude test or an adaptation traineeship.

If the host country authorities don't make a decision within the legal deadlines, your qualifications are tacitly recognised and you can generate an EPC certificate from your online account.

If the authorities reject your application, they have to explain why and how you can appeal.

For how long can you use your EPC?

The EPC will be valid:

  • indefinitely if you are settling long-term (establishment)
  • 18 months in most cases where you're providing services temporarily, or 12 months for professions which have an impact on public health or safety

How to apply for an EPC

To apply for an EPC, you will first need to log into ECAS , the European Commission Authentication Service. You will need to create a username and password, if you don't have one already.

It will then take a few minutes to complete your EPC profile with your personal information and contact details.

Once your profile information is complete, you can create an application, upload electronically scanned copies of the relevant documents and submit them to your home country authority.

Each supporting document should be scanned and then uploaded as a separate file.

In your profile you can update your contact details (e-mail address, telephone number) anytime. Once the first application is submitted, you can no longer update your personal data (ID or passport number, your last name or nationality - which will appear on the certificate) yourself, but will have to request an update to the authority handling your file.

For each application, both home country and host country authorities could charge you fees to examine your file. If they do, you will receive a separate invoice from each authority.

Authorities may also ask you to provide certified copies of your documents, if they can't verify the validity of your documents.

Check what documents you need, fees

Simulator

If the simulator doesn't offer you certain options, it means that the countries concerned have not yet provided the relevant information. You can still access the EPC procedure and submit an application; the authorities will inform you of the document requirements and fees

Your profession is not regulated in the host country
Information provided by national authorities is being processed

ACCESS THE EPC PROCEDURE

Let your employers check the validity of your EPC

Your employers, professional organisations, or other interested parties can verify online the validity of your EPC by using the reference number on your certificate.

To check your EPC, they will also need the personal identification data (ID or passport number) you provided when you submitted your application.

CHECK EPC VALIDITY

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    In this case, the 28 EU member states

    Retour au texte en cours.

    In justified cases authorities can extend the 2-month deadline twice, by 2 weeks each time. A decision must be taken within 3 months at the very latest.

    Retour au texte en cours.

    In justified cases authorities can extend the 1-month deadline twice, by 2 weeks each time. A decision must be taken within 2 months at the very latest.

    Retour au texte en cours.

    In justified cases authorities can extend the 2-month deadline twice, by 2 weeks each time. A decision must be taken within 3 months at the very latest.

    Retour au texte en cours.