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Working abroad

Updated : 15/09/2014

work

Professional qualifications

This section is about getting your professional qualifications recognised so you can work abroad. It doesn't apply if you want to study abroad. For information on getting your diplomas recognised for academic purposes, contact the NARIC centres.

If you want to work in another country you might need to get your professional qualifications (training and professional experience) officially recognised, if your profession is regulated in that country.

If you want to work in another country providing your services on a temporary basis you might need to send in a declaration in advance. If your profession is regulated and has public health or safety implications, you might be subject to a prior check of your qualifications.

Finding out whether or not a profession is regulated

To find out whether your profession is regulated in another EU country, you can use the regulated professions database. This database can tell you which professions are regulated in which countries and by which authorities. If you want to work as a baker in Germany, click on "Bäcker (DE)". You do need to know the name of the job in the local language.

If you don't find your profession in the database, you can contact the national contact points for professional qualifications in the country where you want to work. They can also help you to identify the competent authority and which documents you need to submit.

Situations you could face

Your profession is not regulated at home but it is in the other country

If your profession and the training for it is regulated in the country where you want to work, but not in your home country, you may have to prove that you have exercised your profession in your home country for at least 2 of the last 10 years before you can practise your profession or even provide your services temporarily in the new country.

Ask the national contact point for professional qualifications in the country where you want to work to advise you on how to prepare your file and which supporting documents you will need to submit.

Your profession is regulated at home but it isn't in the other country

If the profession you want to exercise is not regulated in your new country, you can practice it there under the same conditions as the nationals of that country.

Be careful. Although your profession may not be regulated as such in your new country, it might be considered part of another regulated profession. Always check with the authorities of the country you are going to whether or not your profession is regulated there. The national contact point for professional qualifications will help you identify the authority that can give you this information.

Sample story

Avoid problems by checking conditions before you start working

Moritz is a ski instructor in Austria wanting to teach in Ventron, a French ski resort. Before leaving for France, he checked in the regulated professions database whether ski instructor was a regulated profession in France. Not finding this profession there, he assumed that it was not regulated and started giving ski lessons in France.

During an inspection, he was told that he was not authorised to teach in France without first obtaining recognition of his professional qualifications. In France, ski instructor is part of the more generic profession of 'sport teacher'.

Administrative formalities and documents needed

For physiotherapists

If you are a physiotherapist, you can find out which documents and formalities are required by the national authorities of the country where you wish to work.

Other regulated professions

We are working to extend the service currently offered to physiotherapists to other professions. Meanwhile, the regulated professions database can help you find out which professions are regulated in which countries and by which authorities. If you want to work as a baker in Germany, click on "Bäcker (DE)". You do need to know the name of the job in the local language.

Deadlines / procedures

When you apply to have your qualifications recognised, the authorities have 1 month to acknowledge receipt of your application and request any documents they need.

They must take a decision within 4 months of the date on which they received your complete application. If they reject your application, they have to explain why.

If they do not take a decision within the time limit, you can take the case to the national courts. You can also call on our assistance services or the national contact points for professional qualifications.

Certified / sworn translations

The authorities may ask for certified copies (to prove documents are genuine) and/or certified translations of certain key documents for your application, such as certificates proving your qualifications. (Certified translations come with a guarantee of accuracy from a registered translator.)

However, they must accept certified translations from other EU countries, and they shouldn't ask for certified translations of:

  • qualifications for doctors, general nurses, midwives, vets, dental surgeons, pharmacists or architects - although some countries may still ask for uncertified translations of these documents
  • identity cards, passports or other documents not relating to your qualifications.

Sample story

Knowing your rights can help you avoid red tape

Katarina is a pharmacist from Slovakia who would like to work in Austria. The Austrian authorities ask her to have a sworn Austrian translator translate all the supporting documents for her application.

But Katarina cannot be required to provide sworn translations of her diplomas. For several categories of diplomas - doctor, general nurse, midwife, veterinary surgeon, dental surgeon, pharmacist, architect - certified translations are not required.

Language test

Your new country might require you to show that you already have some knowledge of their language.

Any language requirements should be for one purpose only — to ensure that you know enough to work in your chosen profession in your new country.

Titles / professional associations

Once your qualifications are recognised, the authorities must allow you to use the academic title you had in your home country, and possibly an abbreviated form, as well as the professional title used in your new country.

If your profession is regulated by an association or organisation in the country where you want to work, you will have to become a member before you can use the professional title.

Before you apply to have your qualifications recognised, read the User guide to recognition of professional qualifications [186 KB] Deutsch español français italiano polski from the EU Commission.

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