Recognition of professional qualifications
UK decision to invoke Article 50 of the TEU: More information
For the time being, the United Kingdom remains a full member of the EU and rights and obligations continue to fully apply in and to the UK:
Administrative procedures and documents needed
The procedures to access a regulated profession in another EU country depend on whether:
- You want to settle in the host country and practise your profession there (establishment): in this case, recognition of your qualifications is needed
- You only want to temporarily provide services there: in this case, you will only need to make a written preliminary declaration. If your profession has serious health or safety implications however, your host country could do a prior check of your qualifications.
To learn more about the rules that apply in your case, contact the national authority responsible for access to your profession in your host country.
Check out the regulated professions database, which can tell you which professions are regulated in which EU countries and by which authorities.
You need to know the name of the job in the local language: if you want to work as a baker in Germany, search for "Bäcker" in the database.
If your profession is regulated in your home country, you can also first search for it in your own language to find the English translation provided in the description; then search on the English name, to get the other countries where it is regulated. If the country you want to move to does not appear, it may mean that the profession is not regulated there.
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 help you identify the competent authority and which documents you need to submit.
What's your situation?
I want to settle abroad and practise my profession there
If you want to settle in another EU country where the profession you want to practise is regulated, you will need full recognition of your qualifications before you start working there.
Once your qualifications have been recognised, you will be able to access the profession and practise it on the same terms as nationals of, and those who qualified in that country.
Prepare your application
The authority responsible for access to your profession in the host country will explain what documents are required from you.
If your profession isn't regulated at home, you may not have relevant diplomas, certificates, or proof of your membership in a professional association. You may then need to prove by other means that you have practised your profession for at least 2 of the last 10 years.
Procedures and deadlines
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.
Once they have received your complete application, they must take a decision within:
- 3 months if you are a doctor, a general care nurse, a midwife, a veterinary surgeon, a dentist, a pharmacist or an architect benefitting from automatic recognition
- 4 months for all other professions
If the authorities find that your education and professional experience do not correspond to the standards required in your host country, they could ask you to take additional measures to prove you're qualified. In principle, you should be able to choose between aptitude tests or an adaptation traineeship (which could take as long as 3 years).
If they reject your application, they have to explain why.
If the authorities do not take a decision within the time limit, you can call on our assistance services or the national contact points for professional qualifications. If these can't help, you can take the case to the national courts.
I want to temporarily provide my services abroad
If you want to provide your services on a temporary basis in another EU country you must first be established in your home country - although you do not need to be practising the profession at the time you want to work abroad.
You don't need to apply to have your qualifications recognised. However, you may need to make a prior written declaration (paper or electronic) in the country you're going to.
Your host country may also require that you renew your declaration once a year, if you intend to continue providing temporary services there.
The best way to find out if this is required is to check with the contact point for professional qualifications in the host country.
If a declaration is required, you must submit it directly to the host-country authority responsible for your profession (to find out which authority this is, ask the national contact point there).
It should contain the following:
- name, surname and contact details
- profession in the country where you usually work and profession you wish to practise in the host country
- information on your professional liability insurance: insurer, contract number (ask your employer)
- reference to any declarations submitted previously in the same country
The first time you submit a declaration, or if there is any change in your situation, you should include the following supporting documents:
- proof of your nationality
- proof you are legally established in an EU country and not prohibited from practising, even temporarily
- evidence of professional qualifications
- if your profession and training for it aren't regulated in the country where you usually practise: proof you have practised the profession in question for at least 2 of the last 10 years
- if you have a security-related job (for example security guard): proof you have never been convicted of any serious criminal offence.
The means of proof may vary from country to country. Contact the host country authority responsible for your profession to check which type of documents will be accepted as proof.
In most cases, you can submit your declaration any time before you start working in the host country (even if you're not certain you'll actually be working).
However, if the profession you want to practise involves a potential threat to public health or safety, your host country may want to check your qualifications in advance.
This means you can't start working until this has happened and you have received formal authorisation.
Does your profession require this advance check? Ask the host-country contact point for professional qualifications.
If it does, it can take 2 months for the host country authority to check your qualification and decide if you need to take any further steps, such as completing an adaptation period, or sitting an aptitude test.
As a rule, you're expected to comply with these additional conditions 1 month after being informed of them. If this is not possible (for example you have to sit a test, but none will be organised in that period), you can call on our assistance services.
To speed up the authorisation, make sure your declaration contains all the right information and documents. Missing documents or mistakes can cause unnecessary delays.
Certified copies/sworn translations
The authorities may ask for certified copies (to prove documents are genuine) and/or sworn translations of certain key documents for your application, such as certificates proving your qualifications. Sworn translations come with a guarantee of accuracy from a registered translator.
However, EU rules state that:
- this requirement applies only to key documents, such as the qualifications themselves
- the authorities are obliged to accept sworn translations from other EU countries
Authorities cannot ask for sworn translations of:
- qualifications for doctors, general care nurses, midwives, veterinary surgeons, dentists, pharmacists or architects
- identity cards, passports or other documents not relating to your qualifications
The information above is a summary of complex rules with numerous exceptions.
To make sure those exceptions do not apply to you, read the EU guide to recognition of professional qualifications.
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 for sworn translations, provided by an Austrian translator, of 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 care nurse, midwife, veterinary surgeon, dentist, pharmacist, architect - sworn translations are not required.
Before you start working:
Once your professional qualifications have been recognised, you may still have to register with a professional body before you can use your professional title and begin to practise. In some cases national authorities can also ask you to have your language skills checked.
Find out more.