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To work as a pharmacist in another EU country, you must apply to the authority that oversees the profession in that country, providing proof of your qualifications. The authority must:

  • acknowledge your application within 1 month of receiving it, and ask missing but necessary documents to process the application
  • assess your qualifications and decide whether to grant your application within 3 months (or 4 months for certain complicated cases in the area of non automatic recognition)

If you do not accept their decision, you can appeal to the relevant court in that country. As to the type of documents an authority may ask, please see also the Code of conductpdf Choose translations of the previous link 

Which qualifications are recognised?

Automatic recognition

The authorities in any EU country must recognise any of the pharmacists’ qualifications listed in:

  • Annexes V, point 6.2  of the Directive on recognition of professional qualifications

All these qualifications meet the basic criteria for automatic recognition, which are:

  • training of at least 5 years, including 4 years full-time theoretical and practical study and a 6-month traineeship in a pharmacy
  • coverage of the knowledge and skills listed in Article 44 and Annex V, point 6.1 of the Directive on recognition of professional qualifications

If your qualification is not listed in Annex V, point 6.2 because it does not meet the basic criteria, it may still be recognised under an acquired rights regime. To this end you must demonstrate at least 3 years of professional experience within the last 5 years (Art. 23).

The authorities in some EU countries require pharmacists to have a certain amount of professional experience before allowing them to carry out certain functions. They may apply the same requirement to you. If so, you would have to demonstrate you had the required experience in your home country.

Non-automatic recognition

Even if your pharmacists’ qualification does not meet the criteria for automatic recognition and is not listed in Directive 2005/36/EC, it may still be recognised in other EU countries under the general system for recognition of qualifications.

However, if the relevant authorities think your training is significantly different from the training required in that country, you may have to sit an aptitude test, or to complete an adaptation period.

For details of what qualifications may be recognised on this basis and what conditions may be attached, see Articles 10 to 15 of Directive (2005/36/EC).


  • Directive on recognition of professional qualifications (2005/36/EC)
  • Automatically recognised qualifications – recent additions

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